Fueling a Transition: Evaluating the Feasibility for a Hybrid Renewable Microgrid In Benin, Democratic Republic of Congo

CSS Publication Number: 
CSS18-29
Abstract: 

This project (1) explores the economic feasibility of a 600-kW renewable energy microgrid in the city of Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo, (2) creates a survey instrument to assess local farmers’ willingness-to-accept payment for providing agricultural residues for use in a biomass gasifier, (3) performs optimization analysis for the design of a solar and biomass powered microgrid. The overarching goal of the study is to determine whether a renewable microgrid could provide reliable power at a lower cost than diesel generators. A framework has been established so that once available, survey results can be smoothly integrated into the techno-economic model. The more accurate picture of biomass costs and availability will better inform system design decisions. Model results indicate that the optimal portfolio for this renewable grid is a combination of 238 kW of solar generation, 380 kW of biomass generation, and 689 kWh of battery storage. Our model indicates a levelized cost of electricity range for this
portfolio between $0.32 and $0.43 per kWh, which suggests that our proposed system will be able to achieve cost-parity with the diesel generation commonly available in the city.

Research Areas: 
Keyword: 
microgrid
rural energy access
Congo
renewable energy
Publication Type: 
Master's Thesis
Date Published: 
April 17, 2018
Persistent URL: 
http://hdl.handle.net/2027.42/143172
Full Citation: 
VanderWilde, Calli, Tyler Fitch, and Elissa Mueller (2018) “Fueling a Transition: Evaluating the Feasibility for a Hybrid Renewable Microgrid In Benin, Democratic Republic of Congo.” Master’s Project, University of Michigan: Ann Arbor: 1-42.
Admin Content
Publication Status: 
Published