Innovation Prize for Africa: How Few People Ideas Change the World


AgriProtein Team – 2013 Winner


The team of researchers and entrepreneurs received USD 100 000 for their innovative approach to nutrient recycling – a method that uses waste and fly larvae to produce natural animal feed. Selected from more than 900 applications from 45 countries, the AgriProtein team was recognized at the 2013 Innovation Prize for Africa Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner in Cape Town, South Africa.

The AgriProtein solution collects biodegradable waste, feeds it to flies that in turn produce larvae that are ground into protein to provide a more ecologically friendly, naturally occurring type of animal feed. This approach improves the nutritional value of meat and lowers the cost of animal feed for African processors and farmers.

 

Sanoussi Diakite – The Fonio Husker Machine


For the 200 million people in West Africa who are facing food insecurity and malnutrition, fonio cereal – grown in 16 African countries from Cape Verde to Chad – is one of the best solutions to improving health and nutrition.

In the social impact category, Sanoussi Diakite received USD 25 000 for developing and diffusing a thermal powered machine that husks 5 kilograms of fonio – a West African cereal – in just 8 minutes. The Fonio Husker Machine allows producers and consumers to scale production of fonio, an important African grain.

The Fonio Husker Machine effectively husks and cleans the fornio grains as they pass through the shifting and flexible paddle which is set on a vertical axis and on top of a fixed plate. The separation of grain and husk is done simultaneously by an incorporated system of ventilation. This process requires just 1.5 kilowatts for power increasing yields by more than 65 percent. This innovation provides the opportunity to promote fonio as a nutritious and healthier food across West Africa.

 

Hassin Labaied and Anis Aouini – Zero Blade Wind Converter


Hassine Labaied and Anis Aouini from Saphon Energy received USD 25 000 for creating a bladeless wind convertor. The Zero-Blade Wind Convertor is largely inspired by a modern sailboat – it has no blades and does not rotate.  Instead, the wind is harnessed by a sail-shaped body which follows a back-and-forth 3D knot motion. The wind energy is first converted to mechanical energy via pistons then transfers to hydraulic energy and then to electricity.

The converter’s use of a hydraulic system allows the conversion of the mechanical energy into hydraulic pressure which can either be directly converted to electricity or stored to provide power later when there is not wind. Ultimately, the Zero-Blade Wind Converter provides a unique and cost-effective new African energy solution.

 

(1) How did you come with this idea?

· AgriProtein (South Africa): We developed AgriProtein to kick start the nutrient recycling industry – a method that uses organic waste and fly eggs to produce a natural animal feed- larvae. Our approach uses what nature already provides in abundance to create protein for animal feed without harming the environment, while at the same time ensuring nutritious natural food for animals and ultimately human beings.

· Sanoussi Diakite (Fonio Husking Machine- Senegal): For the 200 million people in West Africa who are facing food insecurity and malnutrition, fonio cereal – grown in 16 African countries from Cape Verde to Chad – is one of the best solutions to improving health and nutrition. The process of husking fonio, however is a laborious and time-consuming one. My solution was to develop and diffuse a thermal powered machine that husks 5 kilograms of fonio in just 8 minutes. This allows a time-tested, nutritious staple crop to be reintegrated into local diets.

· Hassine Labaied and Annis Aouini (Zero-Blade Wind Turbine- Tunisia): Sustainable and cost-efficient energy is one of Africa’s biggest challenges – in fact, it is a global challenge. The Zero-Blade Wind Convertor is largely inspired by a modern sailboat – it has no blades and does not rotate. Ultimately, the Zero-Blade Wind Converter provides a unique and cost-effective new African energy solution.

(2) Given the unexploited materials and resources we have in our forests and land, how do you think Africa can emerge as the most innovative continent?

“There is no shortage of great ideas on the continent enough infact to make Africa an innovation centre. Innovators and entrepreneurs are constantly thinking of new ways to propel the continent’s development forward. What is needed is investors, governments and other stakeholders to fund Africa’s innovation potential. We call for a multi-sector approach to build an innovation ecosystem that can speed up African economic growth. With the land, natural wealth of the continent, the ingenuity of its people and the right financing structures, we are well positioned to play a larger role in the global economy.”

AgriProtein, Winner of IPA 2013. Learn more at www.innovationprizeforafrica.org.

(3) The problem of research has mainly been hindered by lack of data and technology. Do you think the continent has the capacity to harness energy through sun light?

”My innovation provides a new way to collect renewable solar energy by using the mimosa pudica weed, an organic African medicinal plant. With this breakthrough, it is possible to construct a functional mimosa solar panel with the Mimosa plant extract. This solar panel is designed in such a way that the electrical potential of the cells can be restored on exposure to direct sun rays, after they have been discharged. This innovation shows that Africans are continuously creating, and that the sun can provide new solutions to Africa’s energy challenges.”

IPA 2013 Finalist Justus Nwaoga (Nigeria). Learn more at www.innovationprizeforafrica.org.

(4) How do you think dependence on too much technology will affect climate change in Africa?

“Technology has created climate challenges, but used responsibly it can also be a powerful part of the solution. For example the Zero-Blade Wind Turbine demonstrates that we can use new approaches to lower the cost of clean energy.”

“Additional resources, from both the private and the public sector, should be dedicated to research on the continent in order to support innovations geared towards addressing the climate change. The IPA would love to hear from applicants for the IPA 2014 who have innovative solutions to the climate change challenge. Please visit www.innovationprizeforafrica.org.”

IPA Programme Director, Pauline Mujawamariya.

(5) Can you elaborate more on your research and what inspired you to take these bold steps?

AgriProtein: The AgriProtein solution collects biodegradable waste, feeds it to the eggs of flies that in turn produce larvae that are dried and ground into protein to provide a more ecologically friendly, naturally occurring protein for animal feed. This approach reduces landfill and lowers the cost of animal feed for African processors and farmers.

Sanoussi Diakite: The Fonio Husker Machine effectively husks and cleans the fornio grains as they pass through the shifting and flexible paddle which is set on a vertical axis and on top of a fixed plate. The separation of grain and husk is done simultaneously by an incorporated system of ventilation. This process requires just 1.5 kilowatts for power increasing yields by more than 65 percent. This innovation provides the opportunity to promote fonio as a nutritious and healthier food across West Africa.

Hassine Labaied and Annis Aouini: Because the Zero-Blade Wind Converter has no blades and does not rotate, the wind is harnessed by a sail-shaped body which follows a back-and-forth 3D knot motion. The wind energy is first converted to mechanical energy via pistons then transfers to hydraulic energy and then to electricity. The converter’s use of a hydraulic system allows the conversion of the mechanical energy into hydraulic pressure which can either be directly converted to electricity or stored to provide power later when there is not wind. The converter provides a sustainable and cost-effective solution to Africa’s energy challenges.


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