Innovate and catalyse adoption of appropriate technologies & solutions at scale
One of the main obstacles hampering the growth of the SME sector in Sub-Saharan Africa is access to power – or at least a stable supply of power. It is also not uncommon for SMEs in the agri-processing sector to have inadequate, inefficient and / or insufficient equipment, which significantly affects their financial viability. Additionally, many of these SMEs have a disproportionately negative impact upon the local and wider environment due to the type of fuel they use, poor equipment and scant or complete lack of treatment of waste streams.
Fullwell Transform’s West African-based engineering team works hard to innovate a range of what we term ‘appropriate’ technologies and solutions for SMEs in the energy generation, drying, waste management and by-product output areas that have the potential to have impact at industry scales, and which have already demonstrated the potential to cross national boundaries and even into other continents. This is not just a term and is defined by a series of parameters that the team works to and balances between.
Technologies and solutions must:
- Contribute to a number of advances over existing processes and equipment.
- Be able to be manufactured and repaired locally using available materials and skills, as far as is possible.
- Be appropriate to the local context in terms of energy supply and usage, as well as available waste streams.
- Have as low an upfront cost and short a payback period as possible.
- Be as easy to operate as possible, and robust.
Addressing the negative effects that many SMEs in developing contexts have on the local and wider environment was a key reason why Fullwell Transform started and later grew its activity in this area. However, coming from a business background ourselves as Fullwell Mill, we fully understand and believe in the need for solutions to have a business case too. This is crucial if solutions are going to be both sustainable and adopted at some kind of scale.
Payback can occur as a result of cost savings, additional income or a combination of the two, including but not limited to:
- A reduction in or even elimination of fuel and energy costs. Note also that the higher the level of energy self-sufficiency achieved, the more SMEs will be future-proofed against fuel and energy cost increases.
- The ability to operate continuously without the actual and hidden costs of power outages and non-availability of fuels.
- A reduction in or even elimination of waste disposal costs.
- The ability to increase output.
- An increase in the quality and value of product.
- New or increased value from by-products or waste streams.
Fullwell Transform has made a conscious choice to make the Intellectual Property (IP) developed from the technologies and solutions it innovates, available on an open source basis. It has chosen to do this predominantly because it believes that by seeking to keep the IP developed in-house, and becoming a supplier of the associated equipment, it will restrict its adoption and hence scale and impact. Having invested so much resource in the innovation of new technologies and solutions, Fullwell Transform continues to invest to build awareness, interest and capacity at demand and supply levels to help catalyse the replication and then scaling of the adoption of technologies and solutions that is entirely managed and led at the local level. This involves working with entire SME sectors and the representing bodies, relevant local and national government departments and institutions, local technical institutions, NGOs, bi-laterals and multi-laterals, the financial sector and more. The impact of this approach is not only more viable SMEs that have a positive environmental impact, but new job and income generation, as well as the building of capacity, at the local level.
Technologies and solutions that Fullwell Transform has successfully developed either alone or with others can be found below.
Appropriate technologies & solutions
Can treat biodegradable waste streams to the benefit of the environment, and generates gas as well as a liquid effluent that can be used to either produce a high-quality compost or irrigate crops directly.
Produces more energy than it takes to make and can be manufactured from agricultural waste streams. Furthermore, when using cashew nut shell waste these kilns will also allow the extraction of Cashew Nut Shell Liquid (CNSL) which can be used as a bio-fuel, briquette binder or ingredient in the manufacture of other products such as paints, vulcanisers and brake linings.
Effluent treatment systems
Prevent hazards and damage to the environment, people, animals and land caused by effluents from manufacturing processes and workers.
Gasifiers / Pyrolysers
Use organic matter to generate thermal or even electrical power much more efficiently than by natural combustion and can use biomass that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to combust. Also produces charcoal as a by-product.
Harness the free power of our sun to dry a range of products in a natural and environmentally sustainable way.
Offer some micro & small enterprises as well as many households in developing contexts a practical way of producing the thermal energy needed for cooking and other processes.
Dry significant volumes of product and to a high quality and can be linked with gasifiers, or potentially even biodigesters, so that some or even all of the energy required to fuel the dryers is generated using its own or nearby agri-waste streams.