The UK based university and University of Dar es Salaam’s College of Engineering and Technology (CoET) brought together stakeholders from local power generation entities in Dar es Salaam this week to discuss guidelines for wind turbines foundations especially on expansive soils as reliance to wind energy grows globally.
Christened as WindAfrica research project consortium and led by Dr Ashraf Osman from Durham University, the project also features Cambridge University (UK), University of Pretoria (South Africa), University of Khartoum (Sudan), WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff (UK), Arup (UK), Jones & Wanger (South Africa), Aurecon (South Africa), and the African Development Agency of the African Union.
WindAfrica is a $2million research project funded by the UK Engineering Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) under the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) scheme.
Dr Osman said collaboration between the stakeholders of the wind energy industry in Tanzania and the WindAfrica project consortium will accelerate development of the renewable energy industry in the country.
“Many wind turbines are planned in the next ten years in Tanzania and so small improvements in efficiency will result in significant overall savings. The proposed design guidelines will aid geotechnical engineers to select the most appropriate foundation solution to suit unsaturated expansive soil conditions subject to extreme weather conditions,” Dr Osman noted.
He further said currently, more than half of energy use in Africa involves traditional biomass consumption, which entails health risks due to smoke inhalation and social disparities in wood collection.
“Deployment of wind energy is not only beneficial to the economy but it will also improve human health, create social benefits and reduce environmental damage,” he added.
Delegates from both sides agreed to organise training courses for young engineers in Tanzania on design methods for wind turbines foundations to meet domestic needs in evaluating optimal foundation designs in unsaturated soils.
UDSM’s College of Engineering and Technology’s expert, Dr Siya Rimoy said that many areas that have been identified by Tanesco as suitable for wind turbines are underlain with expansive soil that create difficulties during construction of foundations for wind turbines and thus young engineers need special guidelines.
“The aim of the project is to perform field tests and centrifuge tests on the cyclic response of pile foundations in unsaturated expansive soils where wind turbines are to be constructed,” Dr Rimoy noted. The project which started in May 2017 will end in April 2020.
Other local stakeholders involved in the project are: Tanesco, Tanzania Renewable Energy Association (TAREA), Geological Survey of Tanzania (GST), and foreign private renewable energy developer, Energio Verda.
According to Tanesco areas with good wind potential are Coast, Iringa, Singida, Dodoma and Mbeya which have expansive soil that pose difficulties in construction of wind turbines.