Addis 2o5o : A rethink of Ethiopiaâ€™s energy future. Jorge Orozco et al. Chair for Computer Aided Architectural Design [ CAAD ] Prof. Dr. Ludger Hovestadt
Addis 2o5o : A rethink of Ethiopiaâ€™s energy future. Jorge Orozco et al. Chair for Computer Aided Architectural Design [CAAD] Prof. Dr. Ludger Hovestadt Institute of Technology in Architecture / Faculty of Architecture / ETH Zurich
This publication was edited for the conference: Addis 2050 - An Alternative Pathway into Ethiopia’s urban future. It describes a rational optimist scenario for future Ethiopia. This edition contains ideas to be implemented in short-to-medium terms. This ideas regard Ethiopia’s energy and technology future, as well as rural and urban life. This alternative pathway is inspired by the soon to be published book: Genius Planet from scarcity to abundance: a radical rethink of our energy future by Ludger Hovestadt and Vera Bühlmann.
scarcities, catastrophes & technologies Shortage of natural resources, global warming and melting poles, fossil fuel and nuclear disasters. New technologies, Smart Grids and Micro-grids, centralized systems. Are we using new technologies in a new fashion, or are we just applying new technologies to old paradigms ?
villages, megacities & promised lands How can we live well in our planet ? What are cities and what should they be ? What are the drivers to migrate to the city ? Is it a promised land, or can we find happiness in villages too ? The cities are open, you are always welcome, if you follow the rules.
rice fields in china. Thierry Bornier
ciudad de m茅xico. Pablo L贸pez Luz
a new pathway
Information Technology speaks a different language. It is 30% less expensive each year and doubles its installations every 18 months. Information technology is fast and abundant. Let the power of information technology be described as a logistic problem, and not as a resource problem. We formulate a technically valid and optimistic scenario for our energy future. We will find progress, good business and a faster solutions in the paradigm of energy logistics. Energy is cleaner, faster and more efficient than we could ever imagine within the old paradigms.
Cities are intriguing and challenging. More than half of the world population is living in cities. The tendency doesnâ€™t seem to stop and it is expected to increase to 70% by 2050. A city may be defined by means of population, infrastructure or complexity. Let the city be described as a place of logistics and motivation. A place where you can do what you do best. We formulate a technically valid and optimistic scenario for cities to be. We will find progress, good business and faster solutions in the paradigm of pre-specificity. Faster and more efficient than we could ever imagine within the old paradigms.
2. the project
electrify rural ethiopia provide stored-clean energy enhance road network one :
one : electrify rural ethiopia
90% of ethiopians do not have access to the electricity grid Back in 2009 over 72,000,000 of the entire population lived without electricity.
Rhiannon Batten at Flickr
We electrify Ethiopia with personal investments starting from $115 and 6Â˘ kWh. We bring clean-CO2 free energy to the game. This bottom up approach is fast, flexible and cheap. We mean to complement the big investments and make them cheaper. We will meet in the middle, win-win situation.
two : provide stored-clean energy
almost 1,5oo km2 are
deforested every year That is three times the area of Addis Ababa, every year.
* price calculated based on one million units production per annum.
Gary Edenfield at Flickr
We provide Ethiopia with synthesized methane by means of personal investments starting from $2,400 * at 12Â˘ per litre. We bring stored-mobile-multy purpose-clean energy to rural communities. We free people from wood as energy resource. Fast and easy, winwin situation.
three : enhance road network
less than 14% of the total road network is paved That is more than 38,000 km of gravel roads. Closed and slow.
We propose to prioritize the governmentâ€™s efforts towards rural areas. Maintaining and constructing roads which will open the opportunities to small communities.
Christian Plodeck at Flickr
If we have roads, no matter where they go, something will happen there : roads of potentials.
When we talk about electrification in Ethiopia, the Gibe cascade is in the center of discussion. The Gilgel Gibe III dam is the latest part in operation of the project. It has a capacity of 1,870 MW and a construction cost of 1.55 billion Euros, the largest hydroelectric plant in Africa. There are difficulties for rural areas to be benefited with this approach. Mostly because they are geographically dispersed customers with small needs, small capital and little or none experience in installation. Therefore, cities in Ethiopia are electrified and rural areas are not. This leads to rural exodus and unexpected settlements that exceed the capacity of the infrastructure of the cities.
Paul Snook at Flickr
Therefore, it should be of great interest to politicians to provide rural ares with electricity, information, education and technology as source of income in addition to agriculture.
there is nothing cheaper than solar, today $ / kWh 0.09 0.07 0.05 0.02 0
* PV vs conventional
The price comparison of electricity produced by PV and electricity produced by conventional sources shows that there is no economic alternative when we think in terms of applications instead of resources.
The thin film PV is not a technical product anymore. The installation, maintenance and engineering do not need special training. PV is an everyday product, like any electrical device.
very few products are needed for a bottom-up energy logistics
â€Ś and mobile
banking, with which you get paid for the electricity you sell, at the same time you pay for products in the next village. safe and instant ! With mobile banking you can buy and sell products and services instantly.
cordelia_persen at Flickr
If a PV is producing more electricity than needed, it is immediately sold to the neighbour, and the payment goes straight to your phone. In this way, each W is commercialized within the network. With mobile banking is possible to pay for grains or vegetables in the next village.
this is Leku : and 3,ooo
m2 is the area of PV needed to power the city.
In 2009, the population in Leku was 15,1oo habitants. The electric power consumption in Ethiopia per capita was 45.76 kWh.
<-- this ! 55m by 55 m
In 2o13, when the gdp per capita is $377, the cost of the Starting Kit is $123. The year payment of a five years credit is $39.
A Starting Kit in a household provides 94W, with which a
fridge, radio and water pump can be powered. The Starting Kit consist in 1 m2 of PV, dSID, dSW and dSM.
We propose a path that doesnâ€™t require major investment. Fast, easy and inexpensive. What are the priorities within a community without electricity ? With 94W per year, a Starting Kit in the household can power various appliances during the daytime. Why to wait for 1,87o,ooo,ooo W from the Gibe cascade if you can have 94 W now ?
In 2o14, when the gdp per capita is $404, the cost of the Starting Kit is $101. The year payment of a five years credit is $32.
1o households can provide 94oW to the community, fast and easy. The gross in-
vestment is $1,o1o and the gross income is $113* * at 5Â˘ kWh
At this point we consider that more than one household has a Starting Kit, the electricity in the community network can be share, bought and sold. Why to wait for 1,87o,ooo,ooo W from the Gibe cascade if you can have 94o W now ?
In 2o14, when the gdp per capita is $4o4, the cost of a small farm is $560. The year payment of a ten years credit is $113.
A small farm provide 94oW for the community, producing a gross income of
$113*. The production cost is 3Â˘ kWh. * at 5Â˘ kWh
One farmer in the community decides to use his land to harvest electricity, he starts with a small area, 1o m2. Why to wait for 1,87o,ooo,ooo W from the Gibe cascade if you can have 94o W now ?
In 2o15, when the gdp per capita is $432, the cost of the Starting Kit is $84. The year payment of a five years credit is $27.
At this point, the kits have been clustered in communities of 3o, so the max load goes up to 2,7ooW.
Share, buy and sell. Fast, flexible, easy, inexpensive ! We are still adding 94W units to the neighbourhood, instead of waiting for 1,87o,ooo,ooo W from the Gibe cascade .
In 2o16, when the gdp per capita is $462, the cost of the Start Kit is $69. The year payment of a five years credit is $22.
The kit will no longer need PV, just the electrical components. The micro-grid can manage the existing load for the community. The components of the Kit are the DigitalStrom Distributor for the Community and the dS Distributor for the Village. You can still add your 94W to the community, instead of waiting for 1,87o,ooo,ooo W from the Gibe cascade .
So, whatâ€™s next ? The villages and farmers increasingly produce a lot of cheap electricity. They are linked to a constant network and the surplus is offered to the city.
Of course it is difficult to have a look at the future, however, if we follow the logic of this path, we will realize that the electrification problem for Ethiopia can be no longer a problem of production but a problem of logistics and that very soon we will be no longer in the business of clean-energy production but in the business of energy distribution via information technology.
When we talk about stored energy, oil reserve is in the center of discussion. An oil refinery is typically large and complex. An investment of $14B can produce over 600,000 barrels per day. The cost of crude oil, distribution and marketing is 80% the cost of the final product. From an oil reserve is also natural gas extracted. Natural-gas processing is a complex industrial process as well. An investment of $350M can produce over 11M cubic meter per day.
natural gas pipeline in russia. heatingoil at Flickr.
There are difficulties for Ethiopia to be part of this game because of the lack of oil reserves and the cost of the industrial facilities. We find in synthesized methane a technically valid alternative. We see two direct applications which can benefit Ethiopia in great scale : transport and cooking. Synthetic methane is fast, easy, cheap and clean.
SolarFuel technology uses electric
power to directly convert CO2 and water into synthetic methane (CH4). Oxygen
Electricity Photons from sunlight
PV Solar Fuel
In the first stage of electrolysis, water is separated into hydrogen and oxygen. In the second stage, hydrogen is directly converted into methane ( CH4 ) with CO2. Here, the energy density increases by factor 3, and a marketable and manageable energy source is created which is of standard quality and which can be fed directly into the natural gas grid. The attainable level of efficiency is over 60 percent. www.solar-fuel.net
Audi is developing an industrial
facility in Werlte, Germany to produce synthetic methane (CH4) or e-gas, as they call it, to power a new series of automobiles.
the investment is over 50M
Euros and can produce 4M litres of per day. Wind turbines are the first significant component of the Audi e-gas project. During the projectâ€™s first phase, four large power plants at an offshore wind park in the North Sea are being financed by Audi and a regional power-supply company. Rated at 3.6 MW each, these four turbines are to supply some 53 GWh of electricity annually. The projectâ€™s second large component is the e-gas plant. The e-gas plant is connected to a waste-biogas plant, which supplies the concentrated CO2 necessary for methanation and which would otherwise pollute the atmosphere. The plant will annually produce some 1,000 metric tons of e-gas while consuming 2,800 metric tons of CO2.
the production cost of synthesized natural gas via PV decreases, while the price of natural gas increases. 0.40
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027
ncg59 at Flickr
11 kWh are needed to produce 1 litre of synthesized natural gas. In 2018, the production cost of electricity generated via PV will be less than the price of 1 litre of natural gas.
in 2007, there were 3
vehicles per 1,ooo ethiopians. That is more than 330 people sharing one unit.
The means of transport in rural areas depends on pack and draft animals. A pack animal is slow and inflexible. With synthetic methane, the population will have the alternative to to use two-wheels vehicles. A scooter is fast and flexible, fuel consumption is very low and lifespan is long. A motor vehicle opens the trade between villages and gives a bigger access to services and education.
90% of ethiopian households use firewood for cooking That is more than 14M women exposed to indoor smoke.
The most important issue in the energy sector is the supply of household fuels. Burning biomass fuels for cooking results in exposure to high levels of indoor air pollution. Women in rural areas reports three times more respiratory diseases compared with women in urban areas.
ILRI at Flickr
With synthetic methane, each household will have the alternative to safely cook anytime and anywhere. Cooking with methane will reduce both their work load, in terms of collecting scarce firewood, and their exposure to indoor smoke. Free of wood !
this is a small
village in the Somali region :
m2 is the area of PV needed to provide one litre per day of natural gas to each
With one litre per day of natural gas, each family can cook for two hours, travel 30km to the next village, or illuminate the room during the night for 5 hours. What kind of village will this be, when the habitants gain eight hours at night to do whatever they do best ?
this ! --> 37m by 37 m
In 2o18, when the gdp per capita is $472, the cost of the natural gas synthesizer is $1,39o. The year payment of a ten years credit is $310.
in the same small village, the
gross income of the natural gas synthesizer is $3,8oo*
The synthesizer produces 29,2oo litres of natural gas per year : one litre per household per day. In this year, the price per litre of natural gas is 13c. The cost of electricity for its production is 12c per litre.
Rhiannon Batten at Flickr
* at 13Â˘ per litre
Free of wood, full of scooters ! What means to store energy in small cylinders ? Natural gas can reach places without physical infrastructure for its distribution. This small containers are practical and easy to handle. The natural gas can be synthesized in the village, using the electricity produced by PV and without any specialized skills. Instead of going every day to the woods to find biomass for cooking, you can go once per month next door to get a cylinder of natural gas.
t13hman at Flickr
Synthetic methane is used to power scooters. With a scooter distances get shorter. Instead of spending half a day walking to the next village to trade products, you can spend two hours with a very low fuel consumption. Fast and cheap !
The roads in Ethiopia carry about 95% of the countryâ€™s passenger and freight traffic, and provide the only way of access to most rural communities. In despite of the importance of road transport, the condition of the infrastructure has been generally poor. The access to ports, airports and markets is limited. In 2003, it was estimated that about 75% of the total area of the country is more than half a dayâ€™s walk from all-weather roads. The efforts to develop this infrastructure are through the Road Sector Development Program supported by the World Bank, and in the last years, over a 50,000km have been constructed or rehabilitated. The road density increased to almost 50km per 1000km2, just the average for Africa. We believe in connectivity as important driver of social and economic growth. Every road is a road of potentials.
the gesture :
The governmentâ€™s efforts should be around two main ideas : connect
rural areas and enhance global networks.
The capital Addis Ababa is located in the center of Ethiopia. We propose to enhance to expressways the existing roads towards neighbour countries, port and airports. Making them fast and secure. At the same time that we connect this roads with generic all-weather roads. Always available and ubiquitous. In this way, each region is connected to the rest of the country and the international network connects Ethiopia to the world.
Connect the rural areas means : access to greater opportunities and resources, better markets for agriculture and industry, tourist development and faster access to education and health services.
Connect to global networks means : more investments by means of industry, wider market for national products, international tourism, greater GDP.
connect rural areas :
tourism expenditures represent only 0.45% of the GDP
ravenandlily at Flickr
The Ethiopian landscape is diverse and unexplored. One of the many potentials that we see in connecting rural areas is the development of tourism. The income via tourism in countries with similar resources, like Laos, represents 2.6% of the GDP.
enhance global networks :
Ethiopia is the worldâ€™s 7th largest
coffee producer. More than half stays in the country.
DFID at Flickr
Ethiopian coffee beans are considered of very high quality. Its a 12 centuries tradition. One of the many potentials that we see in enhancing the global networks is the export of this product. With a fast and secure global network, the cost of production and distribution benefit its international merchandising.
investment, factor 0.25 conventional vs alternative ( M$ ) 900
The government strategy to electrify Ethiopia is by building a series of dams around the country. There are two completed dams (The Gilgel Gibe I and II), one in construction (The Gilgel Gibe III) and three other serious projects to be developed (Millennium Dam and Gilgel Gibe IV and V). Since 2008 till the completion of the last project in 2017, the annual investment is about 880 million dollars. There is no minimum investment in our bottom-up approach, nor maximum. Our path is fast and flexible. Year by year the components get cheaper and allows to get more for the same money.
appliances, factor 2 conventional vs alternative ( M ) 800
Every year new households in Ethiopia have access to the electricity grid. The number of new appliances in the country increases linearly. Even if the investment in our alternative path where to be constant as well, the number of new appliances per year would increase exponentially. The reason is two folded, one, the cost of the components constantly decreases, and two, the amount of appliances that can be powered by each kit or farm is multiple.
education and health
Demand driven pathway. We propose a scenario of abundance of energy and information. Where living in a mega-city is not the only way to have access to health services and education. Education is everywhere. There is no need to be in a specific place anymore to learn about math, science or a new language. What is needed is electricity, a computer and internet. Anyone can have access to free world-class education, anywhere.
phat_controller at Flickr
Health service is close. With stored-clean energy in every community and a local network the distances get short. Anyone can travel to the next health center, anytime.
bottom-up and top-down
Ethiopia must operate in a sustainable fashion in order to build basis for its growth. How long until the electricity grid gets to the last village ? And how much will it cost ? There is an immeasurable flow of energy every day in our planet, ready for us to take it. This is what we need : PhotoVoltaics, 230V AC, conventional low-cost electrical appliances, and ready to use energy logistics in the power grid. This approach means no new equipment or new solar technology. In medium term we propose to use upcoming technologies as the methane synthesizer, so we store energy to open the spectrum of potentials. This new path is meant to be complementary and compatible solution for the governmental strategies for economic stability and growth. Ethiopia moving forward. Smile !
solar radiation in ethiopia ( year ) solar rad ( hr )
solar rad (kWh/ m2)
solar rad (W/m2)
pv efficiency ( % )
total ( kWh/m2 )
total ( W/m2 )
gdp ( citibank projection ) 2011
gdp ( B$ )
gdp per capita ( $ )
population until 2050
electrifying components kits ( $ ) 5
m2 pv ( -20% ) dSW ( -15% )
dSM ( -15% )
dSID ( -15% )
dSS ( -15% )
starter kit ( $ )
cost kWh ( $ ) cost kWh ( $ ) cost kWh ( $ ) only pv all kit conventional
income ( $ )
electrifying components farming ( $ ) 10
size ( m2 )
farm ( $ )
cost kWh ( $ )
income ( $ )
methane price synthetic ($/l)
conventional ( $/l )
solar fuel input ch4 ( l )
ch4 ( m3 )
ch4 ( MJ )
methane ch4 ( kWh )
efficiency ( % )
load ( kWh )
Dams in Ethiopia 5
Cost ( M$ )
Output ( MW )
Gilgel Gibe III
Gilgel Gibe IV
Gilgel Gibe V
MAA Arch. Jorge Orozco / Scientific Assistance firstname.lastname@example.org Phone +41 44 633 29 99 / Fax +41 44 633 10 47 Chair for Computer Aided Architectural Design [CAAD] Prof. Ludger Hovestadt ETH Zurich / Building HPZ / Floor F Schafmattstrasse 32 / CH-8093 Zurich www.caad.arch.ethz.ch / ITA Institute of Technology in Architecture Faculty of Architecture / ETH Zurich www.ita.arch.ethz.ch
This publication was edited for the conference: Addis 2050 - An Alternative Pathway into Ethiopia’s urban future. It describes a rational op...
Published on Dec 3, 2012
This publication was edited for the conference: Addis 2050 - An Alternative Pathway into Ethiopia’s urban future. It describes a rational op...