Cocoa pod husk (CPH) has been investigated as a biofuel for use in a gasifier-electricity generator for cocoa farming communities in rural Ghana. CPH has embodied energy of approximately 17MJ/kg and so is a valuable energy source for bioenergy systems. A small-scale 5kWe CPH fueled gasifier-generator has been installed and its performance evaluated. At 4kWe, the system consumed approximately 11kg/h, supplying 27m3/h of gas for the engine. Over 50% of the energy in the fuel was converted into combustible gas and 7.5% was converted into electricity. The gas engine efficiency was 25%, comparable to similar systems reported elsewhere. High moisture content reduced conversion efficiencies, but this can be easily overcome by employing enhanced drying techniques. Waste heat could be utilised to improve overall performance, so that 40-50% of the energy in the CPH can be put to useful purpose.
Keywords Gasification, off-grid electricity, cocoa pod husk, bioenergy, sustainable energy