Thursday, 5 July 2018

NEWSLETTER #27 - SOCIETY OF AFRICAN EARTH SCIENTISTS








Volume 7, Issue 1

January-March 2018


CONTENT
Chair's Foreword
Renewable Energy Battery Regulation and Recovery in off-grid PV Systems
Earth Science Events
References and selected reading



Chair's Foreword*
This issue addresses the problem of renewable energy battery life as applied to Africa where batteries are a very expensive  yet very vulnerable component of  off-grid photo-voltaic  (PV) solar electricity energy systems.

Renewable Energy Battery Regulation and Recovery in Off-grid PV Systems

Introduction
The regulation of battery charge when rechargeable batteries are used to store energy drawn from solar panels (or wind or hydro-turbines), is crucial if battery life is to be maximised and this expensive component of the electric system is to be sustained.
   It is worthy of note that there are social as well as environmental issues that impact on the effectiveness and even economic feasibility of this technology. The fear of theft, for instance,  can sometimes restrict options for users in where they feel able to locate solar panels.  Also there may be limitations on roof  space which is not shaded and therefore open to sunlight. The structure of roofing may be such that direct sunlight is only received by the panels  for part of the day. These factors do lead to the battery/battery bank not being fully charged on a regular basis, which is important to sustain battery life.
   Although the price of solar energy is rapidly falling, especially in comparison to fossil fuels, it still remains a prohibitively expensive technology, out of the reach of many of the African population in terms of affordability.   It therefore is of great interest to ascertain if system batteries that become deeply discharged, for one reason or another, can be recovered; saving the relatively unaffordable cost of replacement, as well as the prospective environmental hazard associated with battery disposal.


Basic Considerations in Battery Charging
In a photo-voltaic (PV) electrical energy system with

  • a battery /battery bank which stores energy collected from the solar panels (or wind or hydro-turbines)
  • a power inverter to convert DC current to AC current for household appliances
  • a charge controller to regulate the charging of the battery/battery bank from the solar panels (or other source) so the battery does not become over-charged (which can release toxic gases) or discharged below 80% of its capacity,
the charge controller will cut out the inverter and stop the system working once the battery charge drops to 50%. Contrary to what might be expected, battery charge state is only inversely related to the battery voltage above approximately 21 volts. As the graph below illustrates (figure 1.). At 100% charge the voltage of a 24v battery/battery bank is 25.5 volts. At 90% charge it is 25.24 volts; at 50% it is 24.20 volts; at 10% it is 23.02 volts, and so on.

Figure1. Percentage % Battery Charge Remaining for a 24 volt Battery/Battery Bank

   In a PV system the charge controller would normally prevent the batteries from discharging below  80%  of capacity. However, if the PV system is disconnected for some period, the batteries will slowly discharge in storage and if left without recharging for a considerable period, they will become very deeply discharged. The discharge is more severe if  the battery/battery bank remains  connected to equipment, such as the power inverter, or even the charge controller itself.
   From basic principles, we know that if voltage is applied to the battery system , which is greater than the battery's voltage, a current will flow through the battery (in reverse direction to when it is supplying a current) and will charge. The rate of charge or current that will flow will depend on the difference between the battery voltage and that of the energy source for recharging (e.g., solar panels).
   Common wisdom until recently was that such a battery would be beyond recovery and effectively dead. However, battery techhnology is under the spotlight and there is a view that slow charging with solar panels can recover deeply discharged batteries; which should be welcome news for solar energy system users in the developing world.
  In the following considerations we focus on the lead/acid battery, which would appear to be the most commonly used type of rechargeable battery supporting PV systems in Africa. The lead Acid battery  illustrated in figure 2, consists of positive and negative terminals both made of lead plates. As the battery charges,  the process of electrolysis delivers a layer of lead oxide to the positive terminal; whilst discharging the battery causes the lead dioxide  and lead on  the plates to be  converted to a soft lead sulphate. The reaction dilutes the acid and makes it less dense.

Figure 2. Lead/Acid Battery with positive and negative lead plate  terminals
     
Lead - Acid Battery Regulation and Recovery


Diaz and Egido (2003) in their paper on battery charge regulation [1], make technical recommendations for the charge regulation of lead/acid batteries. They note that batteries are the weakest component in the PV system since they rarely perform at full capacity and often diminish in storage capacity with time. This diminution is mainly due to failure to maintain full charging of the battery, for reasons including

  • randomness of solar radiation
  • personal consumption pattern of each PV user
  • cost and availability
  • battery working in limited range due to various factors, limiting the expected long battery life. 
Diaz and Egido discover from their tests, significant variations in  the discharge profiles of batteries depending on the make of charge controller; indicating that choice of controller is an important factor in ensuring the optimum regulation and operation of the battery.
   The authors recommend maximum depths of battery discharge which they say should not be exceeded.
   In practice, circumstances as already described do mean that these depths are often unavoidably exceeded for one reason or another. However, earlier work of  Spier and Kasinkoski (1995) goes to the trouble of testing if deep discharging really does mean the fatality of the battery [2], and not simply accepting the common wisdom, which has not been sufficiently tested. These earlier authors writing in the Journal of Power Sources, posit the crucial and exact question that needs to be answered :
"Can the battery recover from a very deep discharge at a low discharge rate, followed by a slow recharge under PV-type conditions?"[3]  The authors answer this by concluding that in general most batteries can be recovered whilst losing no more than about 10% of their charge capacity, after storage in a deeply discharged condition.
   This result means that we can avoid massive wastage of solar battery resources  provided we are able to recharge in the correct manner. Apparently, many standard battery chargers are not always able to fully recharge deeply discharged batteries, because a safety mechanism  prevents this. The recharge of deeply discharged batteries in this way is seen as dangerous.  However, a safe and more successful method is to apply a slow "trickle" charge via solar panels, which may take weeks, but will deliver charge back to almost full capacity.



Earth Science Events

April 17-19, 2018

The 7th Digital Earth Summit

VISION: In the decades since the coining of the concept of Digital Earth, we have seen technological advances in earth observation, Geographical Information Systems, communication networks, grid computation and other areas of globally oriented digital technology. The International Society of Digital Earth (ISDE) has worked in collaboration with Chouaib Doukkali University, the African Association of Remote Sensing in the environment  and the Moroccan Association of Remote Sensing in the environment to host a conference on Digital Earth for sustainable development that brings together scientists and other professionals from Africa and the international community to present their achievements in research, share expertise and experience.
VENUE: Faculty of Science, Chouaib Douakkali University,
El Jadida, Morocco.


July 14-15, 2018

IASTEM, 420th International Conference on Environment and Natural Science

Lagos, Nigeria.


July 21-28, 2018
27th Colloquium of African Geology and 17th Conference of the Geological Society of Africa
VISION:This is a major biennial meeting organised this year by Aveiro University and Geological Society of Africa, under the auspices of Geological Society of Africa.  The meeting invites senior and early career scientists from all over the globe to participate and  foster international cooperation.
VENUE: Aveiro University, Portugal.

July 22-23, 2018

IASTEM, 425th International Conference on Environment and Natural Science

VISION: Scholars, scientists, engineers and students present and share their ongoing research activities with a view to enhancing research relations globally.
VENUE: Port Luis, Mauritius.

August 30, 2018

IASTEM, 449th International Conference on Environment and Natural Science

VISION: Scholars, scientists, engineers and students present and share their ongoing research activities with a view to enhancing research relations globally.
VENUE: Lagos, Nigeria.

October 24-25, 2018

ISERD, 475th International Conference on Environment and Natural Science

VISION: Scholars, scientists, engineers and students present and share their ongoing research activities with a view to enhancing research relations globally.
VENUE: Cape Town, South Africa.



October 25-29, 2018

The 12th Conference of the African Association of Remote Sensing of the Environment

VISION: A conference focused on earth observation and geospatial science in service of sustainable development goals. Conference themes include 1) Big data and data mining of geospatial data. 2) Climate change implications for sustainable development. 3) Geospatial science for early warning systems for geohazards.4) Influence of African space policy on the youth generation 5) Remote sensing for natural resources management, etc.
VENUE:Alexandria, Egypt.



References and selected reading

  1. Diaz, P. and Egido, M.A., Experimental Analysis of Battery Charge Regulation in Photovoltaic Systems, Prog. Photovolt: Res. Appl. 2003; 11:481-493 (DOI: 10.1002/pip.509).
  2. Spiers, D.J, and  Rasinkoski, D, Predicting the service lifetime of lead/acid batteries in photovoltaic systems, Journal of Power Sources 53 (1995) 245-253.
  3. Ibid., p. 248.
*Board of the Society of African Earth Scientists: Dr Chukwunyere Kamalu (Chair - Nigeria), Ndivhuwo Cecilia Mukosi (South Africa), Osmin Callis (Secretary - Guyana/Nigeria), Mathada Humphrey (South Africa), Dr Enas Ahmed (Egypt).



Friday, 16 March 2018

NEWSLETTER #26 - SOCIETY OF AFRICAN EARTH SCIENTISTS








Volume 6, Issue 4
October -  December 2017




Chair’s Foreward

In this issue we look at the use made in earth science teaching and research of virtual globe applications, in particular,  Google Earth. In 2013 Society of African Earth Scientists (SAES) set a challenge to use Google Earth to measure the land area and coastline of Africa as part of Day of Earth Sciences in Africa (DESA), held on 20-21st March each year. Five years later it will be interesting to revisit this activity and note if there have been any significant changes in results, particularly if we can note any change occurring in the length of the  African continental coastline in the last half-a-decade.

This year DESA is coinciding with the joint international congress of both the Arab Geosciences Union  and the African Association of Women in the Geosciences, entitled “ Earth Sciences for Society”, and hosted at Chouaib Doukkali University, Morocco, 20-24th March 2018.

In our publication review, a spotlight is put on soil erosion in Africa, where increasing scarcity of land is leading to farm cultivation on steeper and steeper sloped land, unsuited to farming because of the catastrophic soil erosion that can be brought about when steep slopes are used. On steep slopes, runoff acquires greater velocity and erosive power, to greatly increase soil erosion. We look at how vetiver grass technology can be used to arrest this problem. The science of erosion protection on slopes must guide a judicious use of the right  traditional farming methods on steep slopes, such as stone lines (provided slope steepness is not so steep as for stones or rocks to become   prone to rolling) or terracing, rather than, for instance, a tillage system of soil mounds that only leads to more serious erosion involving soil and nutrient loss. Soil mounds, which are well suited for flat land or gentle slopes, but which worsen erosion on steep slopes (as they encourage runoff concentration and gully erosion) are too often used  on steep slopes by farmers without awareness of the dangers. The need for  education of African farmers about soil and water conservation is therefore seen as essential and even  urgent. 


Collect Earth Mapathon Event in Gatsibo, Rwanda (via Fletcher, K., Woldemariam, T.,  and F. Stolle, "Scientists Use Google Earth and Crowdsourcing to Map Uncharted Forests", World Resources Institute, 2017)

Google Earth and other Satellite Applications as Earth Science Research and Education Tools

Google Earth (GE ) gathers data from various satellites orbiting our planet to gain information from space  on objects observed on the planet surface  to an accuracy as good as 0.5m width (20 inches).
   This time lapsed data can be employed to study our changing  environment including  such related problems as soil erosion, land degradation as well as  deforestation and desertification.
   GE represents a powerful tool with potential  for large savings in on-site survey costs, particularly in the rural areas of developing countries  which might otherwise be inaccessible. It is feasible that in the near future African engineers maintaining the Trans-African Highway will not need to travel to  locations were highways maintenance is needed to assess repair requirements. Rather, they will be able to access the information from virtual time lapsed images of the highway accessible from their office desk, using Google Earth (GE).
   GE is also of value in monitoring deforestation and desertification. According to Fletcher, Woldemariam and Stolle in a paper for the World Resources Institute, it takes huge effort to count the trees in a forest. However, using crowdsourcing scientists have recently been able to count the trees in the worlds drylands making up 40% of the earth’s land surface [1].
A great source of help in this exercise was the use of local people’s knowledge. Fletcher,et al report that this improved the accuracy of the count by about 9%. This is because local people were familiar with the types of vegetation and plant life to be found in the locality and from remote satellite images were able to distinguish for instance a shrub from a tree, or several trees from a forest. This local knowledge was contributed by means of local "mapathons", using google satellite technology to count and to map trees and forests. It enabled imagery from satellite observation to be checked against real data on the ground to ascertain the level of human error, and make the appropriate adjustment.
      Areas of earth science such as hydrology have also seen a great advantage in the use of Google Earth. There is a web-based hydrologic educational system called HydroViz that supports students learning in hydrology or related earth science subjects and serves as a virtual hydrologic observatory. [2]
   There are also papers published proving Google earth to be a potent conservation tool [3]. Many projects on the ground have taken off due to information gathered initially through use of Google earth and then later consolidated in the field. An example is the case of Julian Bayliss from Tanzania who conceived of and helped to lead a project of conservation in Tanzania that led to the discovery of new species, including 3 new species of butterfly and a new member of the poisonous Gabon viper family. The use of Google earth resulted in a virtual discovery that then led to an actual one.
   Google earth now offers the possibility of virtual field trips  for earth science students to any place on the planet. Today many countries are using satellite technology to monitor their environment, and Brazil is at the forefront. It uses the technology to track deforestation as it happens.
   Google Earth is also being used for original research: A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science recently was based on the analysis of 8,510 cattle spotted in google earth images[4]. Two-thirds of the cattle were found to align themselves with the earth’s magnetic field lines in a north- south direction. Thus the research employed satellite technology to prove a phenomenon that had been in plain sight for hundreds and thousands of years: that large non-migratory animals were affected by the earth’s magnetic field. Previously data had shown that migratory birds, fishes, butterflies and animals were guided by magnetism.

Online Geo-data Collection Activity hosted by Society of African Earth Scientists on 20th March 2018 as part of Day of Earth Sciences in Africa (DESA)

In 2013 SAES hosted a challenge to measure the coastline and land area of Africa using Google Earth. In 2018 this will be launched again for a second time by  the Society of African Earth Scientists (SAES) on the 20th – 21st March. The event will be an on-line geodata collection activity involving the measurement of the length of Africa’s coastline and the area of Africa’s landmass.  All participants are invited to post their results on the SAES facebook page on the 20th– 21st March or email their results.

Activity Summary
To measure the area and coastline of Africa’s landmass in square km and km respectively, using Google earth software. Google earth software is downloadable free from the Internet. 

Outcome
The SAES hosted activity 
·         - encourages participants to become  familiar with a potential earth science tool that is freely  available
·         - enables appreciation of the true size of the African continent, until recently unknown.
Detailed Description of the Activity
The Society of African Earth Scientists’ Earth Science Day activity invites us to measure two quantities: the area and the coastline of the African continental landmass. The tool  recommended for this exercise is Google earth. Google earth can be freely downloaded from the internet, and measures distances on the surface of the earth. Google earth allows participants to measure Africa’s coastline very easily; whilst we needed to work harder to get an estimate of area.
    Ideally, we could get a very good estimate of Africa’s area by supposing that the shape of Africa is made up of an array of very thin rectangles of equal width, d, (see fig. 1).  The thinner the width, d, the more accurate is the estimate. Theoretically, if the width d is infinitely small, the estimate is exact [5]
   In practice, it is very time consuming to measure area by making the width, d, so fine as to require the use of many rectangles to fill up the shape of Africa approximately.
A quicker method which still gave an acceptable accuracy within 5% was to approximate the shape of the continent as closely as possible using an arrangement of rectangles and triangles to occupy the space inside the outline as closely as we see fit. We then determined the areas of these rectangles and triangles in the usual way (i.e., the area of a triangle is ½ x base xheight; whilst that of a rectangle is width x length), and we summed all the areas to obtain the estimate of the area of Africa’s landmass.

On-line Data Collection - Exemplary Results, 20th March 2013
i)      Measurement of the length of the African coastline.
A measurement using Google earth of 26,226 km was obtained (with an error of 0.87% from the true value of 26,000 km). Let us see if the results of the measurements we obtain in 2018 are substantially different.






ii)     Measurement of area of Africa’s landmass.
The exemplary results of measurements made are shown penned into the map of fig. 2 below. Summing up the areas of all the composite rectangles and triangles shown, gave an area of 29,040,169 km2 (an error of 3.9% from the true value of 30,221,532 km2). Whereas measurements of area have a level of error too high to enable meaningful comparison of land area now  with land area of 2013; coastal measurements are perhaps sufficiently accurate for these to be meaningfully compared. 


This is an area known to encompass the United States of America, Mexico, China, Japan, India, Iberian Peninsula, and Western Europe including the UK.


Earth Science Publication Review




United nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa, UsingVetitver Technology to Control Erosion and Improve Productivity in Slope Farming, Oku, E.E.., Aiyelari, E. A., Asubonteng, K. O.,  Accra, Ghana, 2015.[6]

Of the factors that affect the severity of soil erosion, slope is one of the most prominent. Some researchers have noted that runoff (overland flow of water) becomes a dominant agent of soil erosion on steep slopes [Kamalu 1994, Morgan 1995]. Kamalu has defined a threshold steepness at which runoff becomes the dominant erosive agent over rain-splash, or a combination of runoff and rain-splash. This threshold is thought to be soil specific [7].
   The authors begin by  noting the fact that erosion is responsible for great losses of African soil productivity. This situation is exacerbated by the pressures which force Africans to farm on steeper and steeper slopes [Thurrow& Smith 1998).
   Farming and cultivation on these slopes often leads to severe soil erosion.  This is especially the case where African farmers apply traditional methods suited to flat land on slope farms, leading to more serious erosion.  [Oku, 2011].  It leads us to make the point of the importance of the scientific application of African indigenous farming methods to suit the terrain involved. Instead of using traditional tillage involving earth mounds, which is only appropriate on flat or shallow sloped farms and increases erosion on slopes, we can employ other more suitable systems like stonelines or hedging. Furthermore, we can incorporate these methods with  modern soil and water conservation technologies.
   The need for land to cultivate food means we must find a solution which works with this growing trend for steep slope farming.
   Some governments have tried prescribing maximum slopes on which farming is acceptable: for example 12% in Central Africa and 30% in Ethiopia [Grimshaw and Larisa, 1995]. However,  this cannot be enforced and is ignored by famers in need of land to cultivate.
   We must address the question of what technology we can use to reduce soil erosion on these slope farms, as they become more common.Treatments are most effective when combined with or including  a strategy involving use of vegetation to protect against erosion.
Vetiver grass can be used very effectively to slow the velocity of runoff down the slope and hence significantly lessen erosion. The study in fact establishes that vetiver grass used as a buffer strip is more effective at lessening erosion for closer spacing between grass strips. Vetiver grass strips spaced 5m apart were found to adequately slow down the runoff enough to reduce erosion. The positive outcome therefore, is that food production on steep slopes is entirely possible in a sustainable way where we employ soil protection measures like the application  of vetiver grass strips.

Earth Science Events

20-24 March 2018

Earth Sciences for Society

A joint congress organised by
Arab Geosciences Union, African Association of Women in the Geosciences, African Geoparks Network

Venue: Faculty of Sciences, ChouaibDoukkali University, El Jadida, Morocco

VISION: The "Geodynamics, Geo-education and Geoheritage Research Group" of the Geology Department, Faculty of Sciences, El Jadida (Morocco) in collaboration with the Arabian Geosciences Union (ArabGU), the African Association of Women in Geosciences (AAWG) and the African Geoparks Network (AGN) organize jointly the 2nd Arab GU International Conference (AIC2), the 9th AAWG Conference (CAAWG9) and the 3rd International Conference on Geoparks in Africa and MiddleEast (ICGAME3). This joint congress is hosted by the Faculty of Sciences, Chouaïb Doukkali University, El Jadida (Morocco).

References, Selected Reading, etc

 1.   Fletcher, K., Woldemariam, T., Stolle, F., “Scientists Use Google earth and Crowdsourcing to Map Unchartered Forests”, World Resources Institute, 2017.http://www.wri.org/blog/2017/07/scientists-use-google-and-crowdsourcing-map-uncharted-forests,
2. Habib, E., Yuxin Ma and Douglas Williams,  “Google Earth and Virtual Visualisations in Geoscience Education and Research”.
3. Butler, R., Satellites and Google earth Prove potent Conservation Tool, Yale Environment 360, 26 Mar 2009.
https//e.360.yale.edu/features/satellites_and _google_earth_prove_potent_conservation_tool
4. Begall,S., Cerveny, J., Neef, J., Burda, H.,  Magnetic Alignment in Grazing and Resting Cattle and Deer, Proceedings of the national Academy of Sciencees, 2008 Sep9; 105(36): 13451-5. Doi:10
5. This is  the principle behind  estimation of geometric areas and other quantities in mathematics by means of the operation known as “integration”
6. United nations University institute for Natural Resources in Africa,  Using vetiver technology to to control erosion and improve productivity in slope farming, Oku, E. E., Aiyelari, E. A., Asubonteng, K. O., Accra, Ghana, 2015.
7. Kamalu, C., The effects of slope length and inclination on the separate and combined actions of rainsplash and runoff, in R.J. Rickson (ed.), Conserving Our Soil Resources, selected papers papers from First International Congress of the European Society for Soil Conservation,  Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International,1994.


Thursday, 5 October 2017

NEWSLETTER #25 - SOCIETY OF AFRICAN EARTH SCIENTISTS

Volume 6, Issue 3. July-September 2017


     CONTENT
  1. Chair's Foreword
  2. African Development Summit 2017, Abuja, Nigeria - SAES proposal
  3. Earth Science Book Review
  4. Earth Science Events
  5. References and Selected Reading

CHAIR'S FOREWORD

In the current issue, we share the proposal submitted by SAES to the 2017 African Development Summit in Abuja, Nigeria. 


AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT SUMMIT 2017, ABUJA, NIGERIA  - SAES PROPOSAL

1. Forward and Areas of Consideration
By way of preliminary comment, the Society of African Earth Scientists (SAES) wishes to commend the choice of focus of the Summit on “achieving socio-economic growth through community based and inclusive innovation”. However, the Society also wishes that the summit sets out to achieve what it claims: by being more inward looking to Africa’s own resources and talent, especially among its youth population, when it comes to socio-economic growth through community based and inclusive innovation.
   We have addressed issues that we believe are relevant to the six priority areas of the African Union Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa 2024 (STISA 2024) [2], especially priorities number 1 and 6. The issues addressed in that vein therefore are in line with the requirements of the ADS 2017 concept paper. However, the one small but important critique SAES may deem necessary to express here  is that the tone of the ADS concept paper, appears to repeat that age old mistake whereby   having provided a wonderful platform for ourselves as Africans to progress on a collective basis in the discussion on development, we then subvert our potentially liberating development strategies by an excessive willingness to structure our development efforts (and even governmental legislation)  in accordance  only with the needs of foreign financiers to guarantee an acceptable environment of low risk  investment  in which they can profit  handsomely from our science and technological industries.
    Of course there is a need  to attract  investment into Africa for development to progress. However, this should not be at the expense of  Africa-centred strategies  with  the goal of  facilitating an environment designed with the primary purpose of nurturing indigenous talent and innovation rather than the main focus and often the only focus being on providing a safe environment for low-risk  foreign investment.
    It should be obligatory that Africans  are the deciders of the shape of  programmes that will progress our development rather than these being conceived and imposed from outside because that is where the finances come from.  We must be alert to conflicts of interest s where outsiders who advise us that to develop we must employ the newest technologies also offer to provide/maintain these technologies at a price which they will dictate. Meanwhile, such new technologies increase our dependence on outside assistance, and prevent us from developing our own  truly indigenously  controlled technology industry and infrastructure suited to our own indigenous “societal needs” as STISA 2024 stipulates.
   Having expressed these issues of preliminary critique, we cover the four areas of contribution by SAES for consideration at the 2017 African Development Summit on 9-10th October in Abuja, Nigeria.  Specifically, the SAES  propose that programmes  delivered to citizens, particularly the youth of school and college age, could take the form of workshops that raise awareness of the technical and general issues concerning the following  four areas:-

- Renewable energy
- Geo-awareness
- Youth innovation and employment /self employment
- Indigenous geophysics research and publication

The prominence of youth in these proposals is based on the belief that just  a small amount  of  technical knowledge and insight given to  African young people will be taken and exploited  to the maximum as they  seek  by all means to innovate their  way out of  serious need and lack of gainful  employment.


2. Renewable energy
There is real scope for raising awareness of renewable energy through workshops on both solar and wind energy. SAES proposes that solar and wind energy workshops can be delivered to schools. A programme of solar energy workshops has already been rolled out to schools in Abuja, Nigeria  by the Nigerian Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure  (NASENI) with notable success.
   These workshops teach youth participants to think about how small off grid electrical energy systems can be set up. With this basic knowledge youth attendees have  basic tools to establish small scale solar electric energy systems and thereby the means to create business and work around this basic knowledge. With such initiative there is scope for self employment/ employment opportunities, helping to move Africa towards its sustainable development goals.

3. Geo-awareness
There is scope for geo-awareness  to enhance our understanding of the earth and the manner in which the quality of life of African citizens both socially and economically  can be improved through access to geo-parks and the employment of geo-tourism . Dr Enas Ahmed, an Egyptian Palaeontologist and Geologist, proposes how geo-awareness can be enhanced through the employment of geo-tourism and geo-parks workshops  in Africa’s developmental approach.
“Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most-populous continent. The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, both the Suez Canal and the Red Sea along the Sinai Peninsula to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The continent includes Madagascar and various archipelagos. All of that great area gives us variety of environments, climates and biodiversity.
 With the Sustainable Development Goals - SDGs - we found lack in the geo-Awareness in most African countries especially in the rural areas of the continent facing mostly the same issues and sensitive to changes.
The key role in protecting these areas and supporting  people to keep their environment safe and apply the roadmap  for the SDGs is 
-          To convince the native people of  the role of their environment in their life and how they could benefit from their environment in a sustainable way .
-          Also encouraging them (the native people) to accept the concept of the geo-tourism and geo-parks in their life and how this will bring income to their life whilst at the same time achieving the SDGs. “
NB: In supporting the African environment and African geo-awareness, Dr Ahmed  has established an organisation called, The Africa Environment Protectors Organisation.

4. Youth Innovation
A central plank of the SAES African Development strategy is that it must be spearheaded by the encouragement of youth innovation.  Youth Innovation is seen as the crucial accelerator of African Development. It requires relatively little input and investment but it reaps huge rewards with positive consequences in the shape of improved prospects for youth employment, self-employment, and lasting legacy of African Development.
   The SAES strongly believes that technological and scientific competitions for monetary prizes among young people of school  and college age will engender a healthy motivation to scientific and technical innovation.  SAES would like to pilot this idea with the formation of a competition to create sustainable battery design. Battery technology has the prospect of transforming the renewable energy development race.


6. Indigenous Geophysics Research and Publication
Africa  is in need of home-grown researchers and science writers with a perspective from within the Continent.  In this vein SAES is proud to support the work of one of its members, Henok Tewelde, who has made a sterling effort in developing a text of geophysics exploration techniques entitled “Introduction to Exploration Geophysics”. It will be of significant practical and research value to practitioners from Africa. A poster of the publication is attached below. The publication is available on Amazon.





EARTH SCIENCE REVIEWS

Global Ecology by Vaclav Smil
Routledge, London and New York, 1991

This is a work that shines light on reasons for the rapid rate of  biospheric changes that threaten the perpetuation of life on Earth and the way in which we are able to respond to these changes with effective remedial strategies.  These different ways of globally managing these changes throw up different opportunities and challenges which the author explores. Furthermore, Global Ecology increases our understanding of change  as well as of our weaknesses and strengths in being able to manage the transition to a sustainable social and natural environment.



EARTH SCIENCE EVENTS




7-11 October 2017
International Conference on Water Management in Arid and semi Arid lands
Venue: Movenpick Resort, Dead Sea, Jordan
VISION: International conference


9-10 October 2017

AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT SUMMIT


Venue: Yar'Adua Conference Centre, Abuja, Nigeria

VISION: An international conference focussed on the goal of achieving socio-economic growth through community based and inclusive innovation, as informed by African Union Agenda 2063 and African Union Science and Technology Innovation Strategy for Africa 2024,

20-24 March 2018


Earth Sciences for Society

A joint congress organised by
Arab Geosciences Union, African Association of Women in the Geosciences, African Geoparks Network

Venue: Faculty of Sciences, Chouaib Doukkali University, El Jadida, Morocco

VISION: The "Geodynamics, Geo-education and Geoheritage Research Group" of the Geology Department, Faculty of Sciences, El Jadida (Morocco) in collaboration with the Arabian Geosciences Union (ArabGU), the African Association of Women in Geosciences (AAWG) and the African Geoparks Network (AGN) organize a jointly the 2nd ArabGU International Conference (AIC2), the 9th AAWG Conference (CAAWG9) and the 3rd International Conference on Geoparks in Africa and MiddleEast (ICGAME3). This joint congress is hosted by the Faculty of Sciences, Chouaïb Doukkali University, El Jadida (Morocco).

REFERENCES AND SELECTED READING


  1. African Union Agenda 2063, https://au.int/agenda2063/about
  2. African Union Science Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa 2024  (STISA 2024), https://au.int/en/documents/29957/science-technology-and-innovation-strategy-africa-2024





Thursday, 28 September 2017

NEWSLETTER #24 - SOCIETY OF AFRICAN EARTH SCIENTISTS










Volume 6, Issue 2, April-June 2017





CONTENT

  • Chair's Foreword*
  • Chemistry Applications in the Earth Sciences 
  • Earth Science Events
  • References and Selected Reading


CHAIR'S FOREWORD*

Welcome to the twenty-fourth issue of the newsletter of the Society of African Earth Scientists (SAES). 
   In the current issue we reflect on the role of  chemistry applications in the earth sciences

CHEMISTRY APPLICATIONS IN THE EARTH SCIENCES

More often, we are likely to encounter what we recognise to be the application of the mathematical and physical sciences to the earth sciences. The physical sciences are most apparent when we encounter problems such as the conservation of energy, mass or momentum.  But what bout the applications of chemistry?
   In the earth sciences there are the obvious applications of chemistry which we know popularly as “Geochemistry”. In geochemistry, scientists study the chemical composition, structure and processes of the earth. These include the chemical compositions of rocks and minerals and the movements of these elements into soil and water systems. A wealth of information buried in the liquid, gas and mineral deposits of rocks is studied by scientists to  make decisions about science and industrial applications. The information gathered is useful in enabling companies to safely dispose of toxic wastes as well as how to tackle potential geo-hazards and make use of our natural resources whilst minimising harmful impacts to our natural environment.
   In the area of renewable energy, we find that chemistry is playing an increasing role. We see this in particular with solar energy, whereby organic chemistry promises cheaper potential materials for the manufacture of solar cells.  We take the case of the MIT scientist, Andreas Mershin [1] who has discovered a method of effectively creating solar panels from agricultural waste. Mershin discovered a process that extracts the photosynthesizing molecules, called photosystem 1 from plant matter. Photosystem 1 contains chlorophyll, the protein that actually converts photons into a flow of electrons.  These molecules are then stabilized and spread on a glass substrate that is covered in a “forest” of zinc oxide Nano-wires and titanium dioxide “sponges”.  When sunlight hits the panels, both the titanium dioxide and the new material absorb  light and turn it into electricity. In essence, Mershin has replaced the layer of silicon in conventional photovoltaic cells with a slurry of photosynthesizing molecules.
   Other examples include the discovery in Nigeria by Justus Nwaoga of the department of pharmaceutical and medicinal chemistry of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka  of the photo-electric properties of organic cells  found in common pond weed (mimosa pudica) [2]. This area of research is supported in Ethiopia where there is research into organic solar cells  and the use of polymers [3].
   Probably most promisingly we are seeing the development of the storage capacity of batteries. Chemists at the University of Utah in the United States are predicting a bright future for a type of battery for storing electricity generated by wind and solar energy. “Using a predictive model of molecules and their properties, the team of scientists has developed a charge storing molecules that is around 1000 more stable than currently employed compounds [4].
  Examples like these show that chemistry is very much at the forefront of the advance of renewable energy in the earth sciences.


EARTH SCIENCE BOOK REVIEW

Fluid Mechanics by James A Ligget
McGraw-Hill International Editions, Singapore, 1994



The book  "Fluid Mechanics" gives a  comprehensive account of the subject with both control volume as well as field approaches being used. The basic equations are covered including continuity and Navier Stokes equations and the derivation of the Bernoulli equation from first principles. There treatment makes a light introduction to tensor notation featured in the appendix. There is a strong emphasis in the direction of applications on the analysis of  shallow flow water hydraulics, oceanography, wave mechanics and oscillation of large bodies of water and transport. The book is of great assistance to novices as well as offering veterans the essentials of practicing in the field. It includes an introduction to computational fluid mechanics and an interactive CD ROM that helps practitioners handle complex calculations with speed and precision, as well as interactive simulations and dynamic animations  of actual flow.



EARTH SCIENCE EVENTS

3-5 August 2017


WATREX 2017


Venue: International Convention Centre, Cairo, Egypt.


VISION: The foremost conference event on  water processes, waste water treatment and recycling


7-11 October 2017
International Conference on Water Management in Arid and semi Arid lands
Venue: Movenpick Resort, Dead Sea, Jordan
VISION: International conference


9-10 October 2017


AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT SUMMIT


Venue: Yar'Adua Conference Centre, Abuja, Nigeria

VISION: An international conference focussed on the goal of achieving socio-economic growth through community based and inclusive innovation, as informed by African Union Agenda 2063 and African Union Science and Technology Innovation Strategy for Africa 2024,

20-24 March 2018

Earth Sciences for Society

A joint congress organised by
Arab Geosciences Union, African Association of Women in the Geosciences, African Geoparks Network

Venue: Faculty of Sciences, Chouaib Doukkali University, El Jadida, Morocco

VISION: The "Geodynamics, Geo-education and Geoheritage Research Group" of the Geology Department, Faculty of Sciences, El Jadida (Morocco) in collaboration with the Arabian Geosciences Union (ArabGU), the African Association of Women in Geosciences (AAWG) and the African Geoparks Network (AGN) organize a jointly the 2nd ArabGU International Conference (AIC2), the 9th AAWG Conference (CAAWG9) and the 3rd International Conference on Geoparks in Africa and MiddleEast (ICGAME3). This joint congress is hosted by the Faculty of Sciences, Chouaïb Doukkali University, El Jadida (Morocco).



REFERENCES

1.  MIT News, Harnessing nature's solar cells, http://news.mit.edu/2012/biosolar-0203

2. Vanguard, Nigerian Develops Solar Cells from Weed, http://www.vanguardngr.com/2013/05/nigerian-develops-solar-cells-from-weed-mimosa-pudica/

3. African School on Nano Science for Solar Energy Conversion, Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) may 3-7, 2010: https://portal.ictp.it/energynet/african-school-on-nanoscience-for-solar-energy-conversion
4.     Sevov, CS, D. Hickey, et al., Physical Organic Approach to Persistent Cyclable Low-potential Electrolytes forBattery Flow Applications, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2017, 139 (8), pp 2924–2927.


*Board of the Society of African Earth Scientists:
Dr Chukwunyere Kamalu (Chair - Nigeria), Ndivhuwo Cecilia Mukosi (South Africa),Osmin Callis (Secretary - Guyana/Nigeria), Mathada Humphrey (South Africa), Dr Enas Ahmed (Egypt).