Let the Sun Shine: The future's bright with the African Network for Solar Energy

(Nanowerk News) The newly created 'African Network for Solar Energy' (ANSOLE) met at the Johannes Kepler University, Linz, Austria on February 4th last week in a dynamic and fruitful second symposium that saw it make great strides in planning the next phase of its development, taking the status of the network to a new level.
ANSOLE kicked off to a strong start in November last year at its first symposium in Sousse, Tunisia, where the goals of the network were established. The network aims to foster research activities in the field of solar energy among African scientists working within Africa and those in the diaspora. In the first instance, it will connect and skill up young Africans in the solar energy field with an overarching objective of developing solar energy research capacity. In the process, it will facilitate the exchange of students and scientists involved in solar energy research, formulate joint project proposals, publish joint publications, organize networking and research exchange workshops and implement a graduate programme on solar energy.
The meeting was attended by the Institute of Nanotechnology (UK) in its role as project leader of the EC funded ICPC-Nanonet project (www.icpc-nanonet.org), which has joined the network in an advisory capacity to support its activities and to build bridges between ANSOLE and complementary institutes for research project proposals. In addition to the delegation from the Linz Institute for Organic Solar Cells, the attendees included representatives from the University of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; the University of Ngaoundéré, Cameroon; Lagos State University, Nigeria; Ecole Normale Supérieure de Rabat, Morocco; the Université de Fes, Morocco; the University of Tunis, Tunisia; the Nanosciences African Network, iThemba LABS; a SARCHi chairholder in Pretoria and Aalborg University, Denmark; the Polytechnic Institute of Yamoussoukro, Cote D´Ivoire and Selçuk University, Turkey. The symposium was also attended by representatives from the The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), who are supporting this initiative and SOLIMPEKS (Solar Energy Systems) Turkey, who provided valuable sponsorship for the event.
The participants described their current research foci applications including solar energy for food preservation, for powering rural communities, and for solar street lighting. However, a main goal is to research and harvest the solar energy potential of the Sahara, which is currently the focus of the Desertec, Transgreen and Sahara Desert Projects.
All delegates agreed that there is therefore a need for networks of solar energy to be established in the various African countries that are active in solar energy research, and for these networks to be supported by governments, private institutions and the interested public. In turn, the national nodes will be connected by the wider African Network for Solar Energy (ANSOLE).
Speaking at the mini-symposium, Dr Daniel Egbe, Coordinator of ANSOLE, said: 'I am delighted to be coordinating such a dynamic initiative. There are a large number of gifted students and researchers across Africa and in the diaspora who can help the continent become the global provider of solar energy. It is of utmost importance that they are made aware of each other, take part in exchanges and graduate programs, and engage in research collaborations. ANSOLE will provide them with unique opportunities to do this'.
The next ANSOLE meeting will take place during the VIth Africa-MRS Conference: 11-16 Dec 2011, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, which will host a large gathering of high profile scientists and researchers.
If you are a student or researcher interested in taking part in the activities of ANSOLE, contact the coordinator, Dr Daniel Egbe ([email protected]) for more information. To find out more about the ICPC Nanonet project, contact [email protected] or visit http://www.icpc-nanonet.org.
About ICPC Nanonet
ICPC NanoNet is a support action funded by the EU under FP7 for four years from 1st June 2008. It brings together partners from the EU, China, India, Russia and Africa and aims to provide wider access to published nanoscience research, and opportunities for collaboration between scientists in the EU and International Cooperation Partner Countries (ICPC). This is being achieved through an online open access repository of nanoscience publications (http://www.nanoarchive.org) and tools to facilitate networking between scientists in different world regions including databases, workshops and webinars.
Source: ICPC NanoNet