The Energy Centre (TEC), a technical centre in the College of Engineering (CoE), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has been awarded an 8.5 million Krone, which is approximately $1.1 million dollars as funding for projects. The Centre received the funds from the Norwegian government under its collaboration for education and research in Energy and Petroleum (EnPe).
This was revealed at the launch of the EnPe Project in the E-Classroom of the Energy Centre on the 23rd of July, 2015. The EnPe Project seeks to strengthen the MSc. programme in Renewable Energy Technologies (MSc. RETs) of the Energy Centre. The project would train PhDs and post-doctoral students. All these would be achieved in partnership with the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) and Aalesund University College (HIA), Norway.
Launching the project, Professor William Otoo Ellis, the Vice-Chancellor, stated that KNUST had the opportunity to expand its efforts in Renewable Energy (RE) which was critical to the current energy situation in Ghana. He continued: “If we are able to explore renewable energy, it becomes beneficial and gives a platform to improve on what we are doing as an institution.”
Prof. Ellis thanked the Norwegian Government for helping to build the human resource capacity in renewable energy. He noted that it was in this direction that KNUST established TEC to help in Ghana’s development in renewable energy.
Dr. Lena D. Mensah and Prof. Muyiwa Adaramola, Project Coordinators for EnPe, giving the project brief said the EnPe project which commences in 2015 will end in 2019. The need for the project arose as a result of key challenges in training in MSc. RETs.
The academic programme started in 2011. The total enrolment of students for the programme from 2011 to 2014 is 113. The coordinators cited insufficient capacity of academic staff in terms of staff with PhDs and supervision of theses, among other challenges. There was also the need for a critical review of the programmes towards the preparation of a proposal for the year 2015.
The fund, according to the Coordinators, would also help establish a research laboratory in addition to existing laboratories and procure research equipment for RE. The capacity of staff would also be upgraded. Experts would be involved in the development of course content and manuals and an advisory committee would be instituted. As part of the project, a monitoring and evaluation system would be put in place to ensure continuous quality and increase in female participation.
Giving an overview of TEC, Prof. Ahmad Addo, the Director, said the Centre, one of the technical centres of the CoE ran multidisciplinary Master’s degree programmes as well as short courses and training programmes. The Centre also offered training in solar pv, biogas and biofuel, jatropha plantations among others. The Director explained that the Centre attracted funding and collaborations from the UNDP, the African Union, the German State of North-Rhine Westphalia/GIZ, the World Bank, the government of Ghana and other private individuals. The German State of North-Rhine Westphalia/GIZ provides support to Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly through the Energy Centre for tree planting programme in selected basic schools.