Hope you’re doing very well.
Something I’ve been thinking about
Cape Verde is made up of ten islands off the coast of Senegal. As a result of this, it’s difficult to build an electric grid that powers the whole country. But it’s position in the path of the Atlantic Ocean trade winds make it a good site for wind farms, an opportunity the government has keyed into since 2011.
By 2017, the country had a per capita electricity consumption 50% greater than the continent’s average and wind accounts for 25% of the electricity produced in the country. It even helped reduce the cost of electricity for consumers. But energy storage remains a huge problem and without it more islands can not get connected; at the moment only the three biggest islands use power from the wind farms.
Also, operating and maintenance costs for wind farms increase over time (PDF) so it is likely that the cheaper prices may not be there for much longer. What remains to be seen is if the reach grows before the costs become untenable.
Things I’ve enjoyed reading
When I think of foundries, my first thought is of sand molds operated mostly manually. For Norican, building high efficiency foundries to save furnace energy and improve casting quality is their business. Last month they joined a Series A round to invest in DataProphet, a South African AI startup that focuses on improving process parameters on the manufacturing floor to maximize yield.
As part of their rural electrification strategy, Senegal has lifted value-added tax on renewable energy equipment. It is interesting to compare their strategy with that of their West African counterpart Niger, who are inviting tenders for solar mini grids that will double as telecommunication masts.
Sign IO: translating sign language to audio. Kenya
GrainMate: a simple way to measure grain moisture. Ghana
Merging education with augmented reality is Sisanda, in Johannesburg, who make cubes and t-shirts designed with patterns that when paired with their app renders a learning environment in 3D.
Currently optimized for teaching biology to primary school children, the aim is to reinforce classroom learning in a gamified environment to pupils with no access to science laboratories.
I’ve been part of a research team documenting maternal health interventions in Nigeria over the last 30 years. We’ve developed a database of these interventions with funding sources, progress reports, reported stories and more. The site goes live on Thursday and I’d like to invite you the launch.
To the patrons who’ve supported Hardware Things, I’ve decided to shut down the Patreon page until I can reimagine an alternative offering. Thanks for all the support over the years!
Have a good month.