Partnerships between international universities for sustainable development

On 1st June 2022, we at InES had a visit from Professor El Asli from our Moroccan partner Akhawayn University in Ifrane (AUI). During the visit, we showed him the laboratories at Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt, among other things.
Prof El Asli was particularly interested in the biogas laboratory, because although there is a great potential for biogas production in Morocco, it has hardly been used so far. Together, we exchanged ideas for projects that bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and practical application.

AUI is already a university partner in the REMO project, which is supported by the DAAD with funding from the BMZ.
InES is currently implementing five ongoing projects on the African continent and aims to establish further partnerships in North Africa.
For more information on the international activities of the InES, please click here.

During the biogas lab tour at THI (from left to right): Ghassan Ismail (InES), Prof. Abdelghani El Asli (AUI), Ahmet Bayraktar (InES), Philine Ginsberg (InES)

The results of the E-Mobility Kenya Project

Siemens Stiftung with its implementation partner WeTu Ltd aims to deliver sustainable and innovative solutions to improve lives in rural Kenya through three product lines: water services, solar lanterns, and e-mobility. So-called Water-Energy Hubs (WE Hubs) operated by WeTu Ltd enable the Kenyan population around Lake Victoria to access sustainably generated electricity and clean drinking water (see Figure 1). PV-generated electricity is used for water purification as well as for charging special floatable lanterns for night fishing.

In order to expand the service delivery of the WE Hubs, E-mobility solutions were intended to be integrated into the WE Hubs as additional electrical loads. This initiative was supported by GIZ and aimed at increasing economic capacity, tackling unemployment, and providing environmentally sustainable transport in the Lake Victoria region.
The following results have been achieved by the initiative with the support of the Institute of new Energy Systems (InES):
1.    The InES together with the Siemens Stiftung developed a technical concept for implementing the E-mobility solutions into the existing WeTu Hub at Mbita. This concept serves as a blue-print for other WeTu Hubs.
2.    Existing non-E-mobility load profiles were determined, as the energy demand depends on daily routines of the local community and is strongly linked with the fishing-season at Lake Victoria.
3.    The potential for integrating further consumers within the context of E-mobility was determined.
4.    A measurement investigation plan to assess the electricity consumption of the e-bikes was developed.
5.    450 fishing lanterns, auxiliary devices (i.e. water purification, computer, light bulbs, etc.), and 25 mobile batteries for electric bikes were assumed as the daily target to be charged at the Mbita WeTu Hub.
6.    Daily and annual load profiles of the aforementioned loads were generated to simulate the annual electricity consumption and production of the Mbita WeTu Hub.
7.    A simulation model utilised a 30 kWp PV array size and a 104 kWh central lead-acid battery size at Mbita WeTu Hub.
8.    A best possible distribution of the different consumers throughout the day was of major importance for an economic feasible extension of the investigated WeTu Hub. Therefore, an appropriate control-strategy was developed.

Example of a pilot station - WE Hubs around Lake Victoria © Siemens Stiftung.

Weather station installed in off-grid settlement Tsumkwe

In cooperation with local partners, the Institute of new Energy Systems (InES) has set up a modern meteorological station in a remote off-grid community in Namibia.

The community of Tsumkwe in northeast Namibia, close to the border with Botswana, is one of three settlements being studied in the framework of the interdisciplinary research project PROCEED. With approximately 3,800 inhabitants, Tsumkwe is the largest off-grid settlement in Namibia that is not connected to the national electricity grid. The electricity is supplied, however, through an independent, off-grid energy system in Tsumkwe.
Until 2011, this so-called mini-grid was powered by two diesel generators, which could only be operated for 10 to 14 hours per day due to the high cost of diesel. In 2011, within the framework of the Tsumkwe Energy Project, a photovoltaic (PV) open space plant and a battery energy storage system were connected to the mini-grid. The resulting solar-diesel hybrid mini-grid provides 24-hour power supply, and has reduced diesel consumption at the same time. Consequently, both operating costs and CO2 emissions are saved.
A technical analysis and optimisation of the hybrid mini-grid in Tsumkwe is carried out within the PROCEED project. One important aspect of these investigations is to determine precisely the solar radiation and other meteorological conditions at the Tsumkwe site. For this purpose, a modern weather station from the company Adolf Thies GmbH & Co. KG was installed and put into operation on the mini-grid site.
In addition to the global radiation, the meteorological station also monitors the temperature, precipitation, relative humidity, wind speed and wind direction in direct vicinity of the PV field. The measurement data is stored on a data logger and also transmitted to InES via the Namibian mobile phone network. In the future, this data will also be made publicly available.
The collection and evaluation of weather data makes it possible, among other things, to compare the actual electricity yield of the PV power plant with the target yield that is expected under the given environmental conditions in Tsumkwe. This ratio of actual yield to target yield, also known as the performance ratio, is an indicator for the general condition and efficiency of the solar plant system. Also, the potential of a (more) regular cleaning of the PV modules can now be better demonstrated to the local mini-grid operator CENORED. Finally, the meteorological data obtained in Tsumkwe will be used for the dimensioning and simulation of off-grid power systems.
The weather station was procured by the InES and initially delivered to the local PROCEED partner Alensy Energy Solutions in Windhoek. Because the InES researchers were not able to travel to Namibia in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a local engineering service provider, Amusha Consultancy Services, was contracted to install the weather station. The station was first set up in Windhoek and configured for data transmission via the Namibian mobile network. Several students from the Namibia University of Science and Technology were also involved in this work. Through learning by doing, they gained practical experience and skills in setting up a modern instrument for environmental monitoring that complies with international standards. The students were also involved in the configuration and troubleshooting of the station. Therefore, the new weather station in Tsumkwe exemplifies two core targets of the PROCEED project: the transfer of technology and knowledge.
However, before the new monitoring station could finally start its service, it still had to survive unscathed the probably most difficult part of its journey to the other end of the world: a drive of about eight hours, partly on gravel roads, to its destination in Tsumkwe. The entire PROCEED team would like to thank CENORED, Amusha Consultancy Services, Alensy Energy Solutions, and Adolf Thies GmbH & Co. KG for their excellent support. Only through the ongoing dedication and commitment of our project and industry partners it was possible to successfully install our weather station, and start recording weather data in the remote community of Tsumkwe.
The project PROCEED is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and part of the CLIENT II initiative.

Installed weather station in Tsumkwe
Initial set up of the weather station in Windhoek, with the support of students of the Namibia University of Science and Technology.
Initial set up of the weather station in Windhoek, with the support of students of the Namibia University of Science and Technology.

BRIAS meeting in Neu-Ulm

The Bavarian Research Institute of African Studies (BRIAS) was founded in 2014 by four universities: Hochschule Neu-Ulm, University Würzburg, University Bayreuth as well as Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt. The aim of BRIAS is to sensitize key stakeholders in politics and society for the universities’ comprehensive expertise in interdisciplinary research with African partners. At this year's coordination meeting in early August, the universities reported on current projects in Africa and sharpened BRIAS’ strategic focus.

From left to right: Prof. Dr. Steurer, Prof. Dr. Eberhard Rothfuß, Prof. Dr. Thomas Bayer (Deputy Spokesman), Dr. Julien Bobineau, Prof. Dr. Cyrus Samimi (Spokesman), Dr. Ron Herrmann (Coordinator), Prof. Dr. Wilfried Zörner, Carina Fromm

NEED: Finale Results

Results of all projects funded under the ACP-EU Co-operation Programme of Higher Education (EDULINK II) and Science and Technology II (S&T II) where our NEED project was also part of, can be found in this general project results and impacts document.

>Download report

PROCEED: Important milestone for the project

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was successfully concluded between the German consortium partners and the Namibian energy supplier CENORED (Central North Regional Electricity Distributor) in the frame of the interdisciplinary PROCEED project in May 2020. The MoU offers opportunities for all involved stakeholders and represents an important milestone in the project.

PROCEED strives to improve the livelihoods of local communities in rural Namibia, who lack access to a reliable electricity supply. Therefore, the project analyses the potentials of hybrid energy systems, i.e. off-grid photovoltaic systems coupled with generators, using existing Mini-Grids in three rural communities in Namibia as case studies. The project is characterized by its interdisciplinarity: while the University of Bayreuth focuses on the communities from a social science perspective (Work Package “Mini-Grid Community”), the Hochschule Neu-Ulm is investigating the economic efficiency of these hybrid systems (Work Package “Mini-Grid Economics”). Meanwhile, the Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt is responsible for the technical analysis of the systems together with IBC SOLAR AG (Work Package “Mini-Grid Technology”). PROCEED is being funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

CENORED is responsible for the operation of the Mini-Grids in two of the selected communities and is consequently one of the most important local stakeholders in the field of renewable energies. Thanks to this new cooperation, the PROCEED team will thus not only receive first-hand local energy consumption data, but also valuable insights into the technical, economic and social challenges and opportunities of operating such hybrid systems. Moreover, CENORED will be closely involved in the further analysis of the case studies and will also support the field research visits of the scientists.

The participation of important local stakeholders, such as CENORED, contributes decisively to the project’s sustainable success. We as PROCEED team are therefore very pleased to intensify the cooperation with CENORED in the coming years and to jointly continue developing the PROCEED project.



Joint visit at the Mini-Grid system in Tsumkwe, Namibia, in July 2019

Project launch PROCEED: Interdisciplinary research for sustainable innovations in Africa


In April 2019, the Institute of new Energy Systems (InES) of Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt (THI) has launched a new project on sustainable energy supply in rural Africa. PROCEED (short for ‘Pathway to Renewable Off-Grid Community Energy for Development’) has been developed by three founding members of the Bavarian Research Institute of Africa Studies (BRIAS). With THI leading, the project consortium consists of the Neu-Ulm University of Applied Sciences (HNU), the University of Bayreuth (UBT) as well as the industry partner IBC Solar AG, based in Bad Staffelstein, Bavaria.

More than half of the population in the rural areas of Namibia has no access to electricity. Connecting these households to the national grid is neither technically nor economically feasible. At the same time, the lack of access to electricity remains one of the biggest obstacles to poverty alleviation and industrialisation. Despite the abundant solar, wind and biomass resources in the country, renewable energy (RE) based systems feed just under 20% into the national grid.

This is why, in order to secure and expand the energy supply in Namibia’s rural areas, the Bavarian researchers focus on RE and off-grid hybrid energy systems (HES), so called mini-grids. Mini-grids are decentralised, small-scale power grids operated by local suppliers that are not integrated into the main national grid.

Together with the Namibian project partners, the PROCEED team aims at developing decentralised models for an energy infrastructure, which comply with the respective electricity demand, are based on state-of-the-art technology solutions and meet the expectations by the local population. These mini-grids are expected to be economically viable and easy to maintain.

PROCEED is characterised by the targeted linking of technological, social, economic and ecological aspects. To ensure the effective implementation of the initiative, PROCEED is divided into four work packages (WP), with the following priorities: Mini-Grid Community (WP1), Mini-Grid Economics (WP2), Mini-Grid Technology (WP3) and Mini-Grid Sustainability (WP4).

Technology transfer and networking

In addition to the interdisciplinary, the project consortium attaches particular importance to the close cooperation with partners in Namibia. The experience of local partners with the technical and social conditions on site represent a particular added value for the design of new solutions. In Namibia, the following institutions participate in the PROCEED project:

-        Namibia Energy Institute (NEI), supported by the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME);

-        Alensy Energy Solutions Pty Ltd;

-        Renewable Energy Industry Association of Namibia (REIAoN);

-        SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE);

-        Hanns-Seidel Foundation (HSF) Namibia.

BRIAS: Knowledge and technology transfer with partners in Africa

Founded in 2014, the Bavarian Researc Institute of African Studies (BRIAS) is based on the collaboration between THI, the Universities of Bayreuth and Würzburg as well as the University of Applied Sciences Neu-Ulm in the area of Africa Studies. The multidisciplinary research institute aims at fostering cooperation with partners in Africa and raising awareness of joint objectives within academia, politics and businesses.  

PROCEED is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) over a period of three years.

The Namibian-German PROCEED project team during the preparation of the project at the „House of Democracy“, HSF Namibia in Windhoek, March 2019. Source: Dr. Clemens von Doderer, HSF Namibia.
The PV installation in Gam, in Namibia’s northeast region of Otjozondjupa, is currently the biggest off-grid hybrid energy system. Source: Fabian Junker, THI.

Successful conclusion of the NEED project – Factsheet online

Following the administrative project completion in 2018, the key project results of the Network of Energy Excellence for Development (NEED) are now available online.

NEED was led by Prof Dr.-Ing. Wilfried Zörner and funded by the European Union in the frame of the ACP Science and Technology II programme. Within the 3.5 year project period (March 2014 – August 2017), the consortium of partners from Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Germany were able to gain relevant insights in the area of sustainable energy supply based on renewable resources. Moreover, the use of renewable energy technology was promoted further on national and regional level.

Please refer to the new NEED Factsheet published by the ACP Secretariat for further information on the project activities and results.

The final brochure of the NEED project

28.08.2017 - The final brochure of the NEED project is now available here. If you would like to receive a hard copy, thank you for contacting

International Climate Protection Fellowship

26 Sept. 2017 - We'd like to draw your attention to a fellowship programme for climate experts from developing countries to spend one year in Germany – e.g. at Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt, Institute of New Energy Systems. We would be happy to serve as host institution!

The closing date for applications is 1 March 2018.

For more details visit

NEED Final conference, 24-26 July 2017

From 24 to 26 July 2017, the final conference of the Network of Energy Excellence for Development, the NEED project, took place at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Windhoek, Namibia. Over the past 3 ½ years, five universities from Botswana, Germany, Namibia and Zambia joined forces to create structures for the development of technical knowhow, to interlink relevant stakeholders and to foster awareness and the willingness to take sustainable action for development of renewable energy technologies (RET) in target countries.

The meeting started off with a high-level reception and dinner at the NUST Hotel School on Monday, 24 July. As host of the conference, NUST Vice-Chancellor Prof Tjama Tjivikua welcomed 20 invited guests, including diplomats and representatives from the local renewable energy sector on behalf of the NEED project team. H.E. Hon Obeth Kandjoze, Minister of Energy and Mines, provided the keynote speech.

With this closing event, the NEED team once again brought together key players of the renewable energy sector in Namibia and other partner countries in the Southern African Development Community, the SADC region, further promoting the use of and the cooperation in the area of RET. Moreover, the conference served as perfect opportunity to officially announce and celebrate the formal registration and institutionalisation of the NEED network, which was the project’s major goal. “It is a great pleasure for us to launch our long-term network, NEED, today with so many of our key stakeholders from 3 ½ years of the NEED project present. Despite the nostalgic feeling when closing the project period, we very much look forward to continuing our work in the RET sector in the region, not only as project team, but especially together with our long-standing and potential new partners”, said NEED project leader Prof Wilfried Zoerner from Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt (THI).

The actual conference was held at the NUST Auditorium and jointly opened by H.E. Jana Hybaskova, EU Ambassador and Head of Delegation and Prof Tjama Tjivikua. In addition to the presentations of the project’s activities and main achievements by all NEED partners, the programme included inter alia an exhibition by partners engaged in the area of renewable energy in Southern Africa. Furthermore, in a panel discussion with NEED stakeholders such as the SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, TESLA Energy Solutions and ALENSY, past and potential future cooperation with the NEED network was discussed. To widen the audience’s perspective on activities being conducted by other actors in the sector, Dr Eilu from Makerere University, Uganda, and Dr Rapitsenyane from the University of Botswana participated in the programme giving presentations of their content-wise comparable EU-funded projects. Dr Eilu provided an insight in the achievements of the “ENRICH” and “SUCCEED” projects, Dr Rapitsenyane presented the outcomes of the “LeNSes” project, all of which ended in early 2017. The NEED project itself is funded by the European Union through its Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States’ Science and Technology (S&T II) programme.

With more than 60 participants, the final conference of the NEED project was considered a great success. For more information on past and future activities, please visit; for any other queries, please contact

NEED Final Conference

Save the Date: We are pleased to announce that the final conference of the NEED project will be held on 25 & 26 July 2017. The programme will include presentations of main achievements within the NEED project, plenary discussions with stakeholders as well as a poster exhibition. The conference will take place at Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Windhoek, Namibia. For any queries on the event, please contact Ms. Petra Beer, Project Coordinator ( Please find here the invitation.

NEED Project represented at International Conference on Energy Efficiency and Accessibility in Tanzania

The international conference ‘Fostering Cooperation in Energy Efficiency and Accessibility in East Africa took place in Zanzibar, Tanzania, from 13-14 March 2017. It was organized in the framework of the ENRICH and SUCCEED network projects, financed by the European Commission through the EU-ACP cooperation programmes ACP S&T and EDULINK. People from 12 countries and 3 continents participated in this international event. Participants included representatives from higher education institutions, policy makers, private sector, and NGOs from Burundi, Kenya, Lesotho, Mauritius, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Suriname, and from the EU from Spain and Scotland.

The main objectives of this international conference were to bring together stakeholders involved in the field of energy, to encourage dialogue, and strengthen cooperation links in the energy sector in East Africa, thereby enhancing awareness of the real needs of science, technology, and innovation related to energy access and efficiency, as well as fostering discussions on how the higher education system could contribute to this. Discussions on the main challenges in the field of energy in East Africa took place during the round tables conducted each day following the morning presentations. The NEED team was represented at the international conference by Dr. Ackim Zulu from the University of Zambia (UNZA).

Looking back – DII-2016 Conference “Achieving Solutions For Renewable Energy And Sustainable Development”  & Summit “Renewable Energy Technologies for Development” organized by NEED

13.09.2016 - From 31 August to 2 September, the DII-2016 took place in Livingstone, Zambia. This year’s focus was on  renewable energy, general infrastructure development and investment in Africa. A team of 14 NEED members from the University of Zambia, Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt, the Okavango Research Institute, the Namibia University of Science and Technology and the Botswana International University of Science and Technology also participated in this event. NEED Project Leader Prof Wilfried Zörner (Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt) was invited to give a key note on “Why are Renewables so successful in Germany?”. The conference, which was held at the Chrismar Hotel, was an excellent platform for the NEED team to present the NEED project to a broad international audience of leaders, researchers, practitioners and other stakeholders in infrastructure development and energy related issues - in the framework of the conference, the NEED team was granted the opportunity to organize its own summit on Renewable Energy Technologies and presented the current status and achievements of the Work Packages “Research strategies”, “Dual Studies”, “Industry Standards”, “Fossil-free Wetlands” and “Renewable Mini- Grid Drylands”.

The NEED team wants to express again its gratitude towards the DII-2016 Organising Committee for the fruitful collaboration and the successful DII-2016 Conference and NEED Summit!

The DII-2016 Conference is part of the DII Conference series on Infrastructure Development and Investment in Africa which aims to provide an international forum for leaders, researchers, practitioners and other stakeholders in infrastructure development to discuss, evaluate and devise ways of maximizing benefits from infrastructure development in Africa and achieve outputs that will inform policy. It is jointly organized by Copperbelt University (Zambia), University of Johannesburg (South Africa) and University of Zambia.

The conference proceedings (DII and RET Summit) are available at:

5th NEED project meeting & site visits
Embedded in the three-day conference was the 5th NEED project meeting chaired by the University of Zambia. The team members shared not only about the current status of activities and achievements made so far, but also discussed intensively the future of NEED, as the ultimate goal is the establishment of a sustainable network on Renewable Energy Technologies beyond the project end. After these intense conference and meeting days, the team looked forward to visiting Olga’s project, the Youth Community Training Center (YCTC), and the Libuyu Community Biogas Plant, both located in Libuyu, a rural area close to Livingstone downtown.  


International Conference on Solar Technologies & Hybrid Mini Grids to improve energy access

The conference “Solar Technologies & Hybrid Mini Grids to improve energy access” will take place in Bad Hersfeld, Metropolitan area Frankfurt, Germany, from 21-23 September 2016. The conference merges three very successful conferences into one, namely:

  • PV-Hybrids and Mini-Grids (7 editions)
  • Small PV Applications (4 editions), and
  • Solar Energy Technology in Development Cooperation (1 edition).

This joining of forces aims at the implementation of more comprehensive, higher impact conference which is focusing on PV and other renewable energy based electricity, solar thermal systems and policy, government and donor programmes. The objective of the event is the consolidation of knowledge around solutions that have proven to work and their enabling factors, the presentation of different models of financing, business models and technologies that enable the fast uptake of such solutions and to provide new roads for research and innovation.

Deadline for the submission of abstracts is March 20, 2016. Organizer of the conference is the Ostbayerisches Technologie-Transfer-Institut e.V. (OTTI). The conference is sponsored by the Austrian Development Cooperation.

For more information please visit: [Source: OTTI]

Meeting in Würzburg in order to come to know each other better: the participants of the first BRIAS symposium. (Photo: Marco Bosch)

On 11 July 2016, more than 40 Africa researchers from the cities of Bayreuth, Ingolstadt, Neu-Ulm, and Würzburg came together in Würzburg for a first workshop of the Bavarian Research Institute of African Studies (BRIAS). BRIAS was founded in Bayreuth in February 2014 as a joint network of four Bavarian institutions with Africa-related research activities. Among the activities that the Institute of new Energy Systems of Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt presented was the Network of Energy Excellence for Development (NEED). More


Her Excellency Tswelopele Cornelia Moremi, the Ambassador of the Republic of Botswana in Berlin, was the honorary guest of this Round Table (Source: Thilo Schotte)

Business Breakfast Botswana

29.06.2016 - On 16 June 2016, the Munich Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK München) in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic Botswana organised a so- called 'Business Breakfast Botswana'. Topics in focus of this Round Table were the business and development potentials of Botswana. Honorary guest was Her Excellency Tswelopele Cornelia Moremi, the Ambassador of the Republic of Botswana in Berlin. Amongst the invited expert group was Prof Wilfried Zörner, Head of Institute of new Energy Systems (InES) at Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt (THI).

In addition to this gathering, Prof Zörner had the chance to personally meet the Ambassador and to present more in detail the international projects that THI is currently carrying out with partners in Botswana: the 'Network of Energy Excellence for Development (NEED)' project and the 'Academic Initiative for Renewables (AIR)' project. Topics in focus of this talk were research on Renewable Energy Technologies (RET) and higher education (including 'dual studies') in Botswana as well as funding opportunities for future joint research projects in Botswana. The event in Munich was in every sense an excellent platform to promote the international activities of the InES in the field of RET and to network with relevant stakeholders.


Participants of the 'Business Breakfast Botswana': On the right side (first person from the bottom), Her Excellency Tswelopele Cornelia Moremi, the Ambassador of the Republic of Botswana in Berlin; on the left side (second person from the top), Prof Wilfried Zörner (Source: Thilo Schotte)

NEED project article on pages 6/7

Etango Magazine March-April 2016

11.05.2016 - The lates Etango Magazine March - April 2016 with a publication of the NEED project " NEED Project tackles Renewable Energy obstacles" on pages 6/7 is available now.

International Day at Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt

02.05.2016 - On  20 April, an “International Day“ was organized at Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt (THI), a platform for students to inform themselves about opportunities to study and work abroad. In different presentations and at a “market of possibilities”, they had the chance to get in touch with different exhibitors like the International Office at THI, BayCHINA (Bavarian Academic Center for China), BFHZ (Bavarian Academic Center for France) and BayIND (Bavarian-Indian Centre for Business and University Cooperation) to gather information about partner universities, scholarships or international activities at THI. The team from the Institute of new Energy Systems (InES) was also present and informed the visitors about the planned international Master's programme in Renewable Energy Systems (completely in English) and two current cooperation projects with Sub-Saharan Africa: the Network of Energy Excellence for Development (NEED) and the Academic Initiative for Renewables (AIR) project.

Third NEED Newsletter Online

25.01.2016 - The third NEED Newsletter is now online available. You can access it in the download area.

NEED project encourages involvement of students

24.11.2015 – Currently eight students from different backgrounds are supporting all kind of activities in the NEED project. Whereas some assist in organizational matters, others work on content related issues or focus on topics related to the NEED project in their degree thesis.

Fabian Junker is studying the master course “Applied Research in Engineering Sciences” at THI. Within his master thesis he works on the topic “Solar energy systems for off-grid rural electrification in Sub-Saharan Africa (with a focus on Namibia)“. Anna Storr is studying the bachelor course “International Management” with an emphasis on “Green Technologies” in the 7th semester at THI. She assists the NEED project in the fields of project management, networking and public relations activities. David Missbach, bachelor student of the course “Renewable Energy Technologies” at THI, deals in his bachelor thesis with the renewable energy supply of tourist lodges in the Okavango Delta and supports the activities of Work Package 5. Martin Zierer is studying “Renewable Energy Technologies” as well. He works in his bachelor’s thesis on the topic “Developing an energy supply concept for the JP Brandt Primary School in Namibia”. Linda Ehrl is studying “International Management” with an emphasis on “Green Technologies”, too. She writes her bachelor thesis about the institutionalization of the NEED network. Boniface Moganiwa has studied “Mechanical Engineering” at the University of Botswana and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Energy Engineering at BIUST. He works as a research assisant for Work Package 4 “Industry Standards”. Another support for Work Package 4 is Isaiah Mosuthla, who graduated in “Computer Studies with Mathematical Sciences (BSc)” from the University of Sunderland (UK) and is currently doing his masters’ in telecommunications at BIUST (MEng). NUST is in the Work Package 6 "Mini-Grid Drylands" supported by Leonard Nekwaya. He is currently doing the course “Master of Industrial Engineering” and will be responsible for data collection and evaluation of the energy system at the Gobabeb Research Centre in the Namib desert.

For Anna the involvement in the NEED project is an exciting experience: “The NEED project is very interesting as it brings together people from different nationalities (from Germany, Botswana, Namibia etc.) and backgrounds that jointly want to promote renewable energies in Sub-Saharan Africa. The NEED project gives me the opportunity to work in a setting that puts internationality and Green Energies into practice. That’s why it is particularly interesting for me to gain insight into such a cross-national research project with its different tasks and work packages. As a student assistant in NEED, I can support the overall project management and dissemination activities of the NEED team and at the same time learn how such a big project has to be organized.”

3rd NEED Project Meeting in Maun, Botswana

05.10.2015 – From 20th to 23rd September the third NEED Project Meeting took place in Maun, Botswana. The village Maun is known as the “tourism capital” of Botswana and is a famous starting point for visits to the Okavango Delta - one of the world's largest and most intact inland wetland ecosystems. The wetland area of the Okavango Delta lies in the focus of the NEED Work Package 5 “Fossil-Free Wetlands” that is managed by the Okavango Research Institute (ORI) of the University of Botswana (UB).

The meeting was officially opened by the Director of ORI, Prof Wellington R. L. Masamba, and followed by words of welcome of the Project Leader, Prof Wilfried Zörner. During the meeting the progress and achievements of the different Work Packages of the project were presented and discussed in the team as well as a joint agreement on the further project proceedings was made. In addition two workshops were held. One focused on the further specifications for a long-lasting network beyond the end of the official project period and the other one on possible future research topics.

On the last meeting day several local stakeholders in relation with Work Package 5 were invited and barriers and possible options for the wider spread of renewable energy technologies (RETs) in the Okavango Delta analysed, with a special focus on the numerous established higher class tourist lodges. The outcomes of the applied interactive group dialogue method ‘World-Café’ were very fruitful and will be considered in the further implementation of Work Package 5. Among the invited guests for this public part session were Prof Shedden Masupe, Executive Director Technologies at the Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI), who is a member of the NEED Steering Board, and Mr Wolfgang Moser, Technical Advisor to the SADC Energy division based in Gaborone. A visit to the premises of the Okavango Research Institute with its laboratory facilities for Biology, Chemistry and Geographic Information Systems, its herbarium and its well-equipped library was also part of the programme. In addition, the institute has also a tented camp for visiting students and researchers. At the end of the meeting the local host of the 3rd NEED meeting, Prof Joseph Mbaiwa, thanked all partners and stakeholders for their coming, their contributions and the fruitful discussions.

All in all, the meeting was a great success for the whole project team and several new aspects and inputs for the different Work Packages could be taken home. The next NEED project meeting will take place in Windhoek, Namibia, in March 2016 with the Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN) as local host.

NEED well represented at the International Conference on Clean Energy for Sustainable Growth in Developing Countries

02.10.2015 – From 16th to 18th September the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) hosted the International Conference on Clean Energy for Sustainable Growth in Developing Countries (CESGDC) at Majestic Five Hotel in Palapye, Botswana under the theme: Trends in Energy Service Provision for Sustainable Development.

The NEED project was well represented at this conference. On the opening day Prof James Katende from BIUST presented the NEED project to the conference audience, furthermore several subject-specific presentations were given by NEED team members from THI, UNZA and ORI. All presentations had a relation to the different Work Packages of the project and were received with great interest by the audience.  NEED Steering Board Member Mr Cheddi Kiravu from the University of Botswana was also present at the conference. The conference provided a great framework for networking activities and some interesting new contacts for the NEED project could be established.

The formal part of the conference was topped off with a visit to the campus of the Botswana International University of Science and Technology and its numerous laboratories as well as with a joint visit to the Moremi Gorge, a natural heritage site close to Palapye.

NEED represented at a public discussion of the Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ)

10.09.2015 - "The Economic Cost of Load Shedding"

On the 20th August the Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ) invited to a public discussion on "The Economic Cost of Load Shedding". The panel included representatives of ZESCO Limited, ZACCI, the NEED project and an economic expert. The panel gave well rounded presentations on current energy issues that are affecting Zambia. Representative of the NEED project was Mwansa Kaoma from the University of Zambia.

An article about this event, which was posted in the Zambia Daily Mail, can be accessed in the download area.

Guest Lecture at Stellenbosch University on Renewable Energies in Germany

21.08.2015 - The NEED network is growing

This month, the NEED Project Leader, Prof Wilfried Zörner, was invited to Stellenbosch University (South Africa) for a guest lecture on renewable energies in Germany. The exchange with the collegues from Stellenbosch University was very fruitful. A return visit is already planned for the end of this year.

The presentation with the title " Renewable Energies in Germany - Status and Development of Energy Markets and Politics" is accessible in the download area.

International Renewable Energy Symposium (IRES) - Namibia

The International Renewable Energy Symposium (IRES) - Namibia, "Renewable energy for economic prosperity", will take place in Windhoek, from 29 - 30 October 2015.

The conference is organised by the Namibia Energy Institute (NEI) of the Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN). The NEED project is also part of the programme.

Submission deadline for abstracts is the 28 August 2015.

The call for papers is available here.

Details about the conference structure you can see from the programme.

Second NEED Newsletter Online

01.07.2015 - The second NEED Newsletter is now online available. You can access it in the download area.

South African International Renewable Energy Conference (SAIREC) 2015

The South African International Renewable Energy Conference (SAIREC) 2015 will take place from October 4-7, 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa. The Conference is organised by REN21, free of charge and open to all who work in the field of Renewable Energies.

More information is available here.
Registration at

International Conference on Clean Energy for Sustainable Growth in Developing Countries (CESGDC'15)

The CESGDC'15 will be held at the Majestic Five Hotel, Palapye, Botswana on 16th -18th September 2015. It is envisaged that the event will be an avenue for driving the objectives of WP4. The objective of the conference is to bring together professionals, academics, researchers, industrialists and policy makers engaged in the assessment, design, service provision, mainstreaming and maintenance of clean energy systems.  The conference theme, Trends in Energy Service Provision for Sustainable Development was conceived to facilitate discussion on the status, growth and impact of clean energy provision. The need for such a conference and its timing cannot be overemphasized.  The impact of non-renewable energy use is manifested in its severe negative effects on the environment; cost, non-availability and non-affordability. When energy provision is not sustainable then health and safety, comfort, productivity, education delivery, poverty eradication, and general standard of living are also compromised.  Effective clean energy must be planned and introduced pragmatically. The conference is expected to provide diverse and relevant inputs into the tasks of WP4.  In particular development of roadmap and institutionalization of standards will need the support, participation, contribution and buy-in of local participants at the conference.  Shared experiences of international delegates at the conference will also be invaluable in contributing to the success of WP4.

The Call for Papers is accessible here.
Registration at

2nd NEED Project Meeting in Gobabeb, Namibia

23.04.2015 - From 15th March to 20th March 2015 the second NEED Project Meeting took place at the Gobabeb Research Centre in Namibia. Gobabeb is located in the Namibian desert - positioned in exactly the dryland conditions referred to in Work Package 6 "Renewable Mini-Grid Drylands" (

The Network of Excellence in Renewable Energy Technology for Development (NEED) project is a collaborative effort between the Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN), the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST), the Okavango Research Institute (ORI) (part of the University of Botswana), the University of Zambia (UNZA) and the Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt (THI) Germany. The NEED project aims to create a research network in the field of renewable energies in Southern Africa. This initiative is part of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) Science and Technology Programme and is funded by the European Union for a three-year period. Representatives from the five partner institutions recently met for a second NEED project meeting at the Gobabeb Research and Training Centre in the Erongo Region. During this meeting, participants evaluated the progress of each work package and mapped ways for enhanced cooperation, information sharing and agreed on the next tasks for each partner. After four days of intensive deliberations in the middle of the Namib desert, the group met with the two Namibian Steering Board members: Mr Robert Mwanachilenga and Mr Alfred van Kent, and briefed them on the progress of the group to date.

Following these meetings, project members from THI led by the project leader Prof Wilfried Zörner met with Prof Tjama Tjivikua to brief the Poly Rector on the activities and objectives of the NEED Project. The collaborative initiative aims to harness the resources of the project partners to establish structures for the development and sharing of technical know-how in the area of renewable energies. The NEED Project also serves as a platform to solicit the involvement of industry and governmental stakeholders. The development of dual study programmes at the partner countries, and the pooling of research activities amongst the institutions in the field of renewable energies are core activities currently underway.

First NEED Newsletter Online

20.02.2015 - The first NEED Newsletter is now online available. You can access it in the download area.

NEED Flyer Online

09.01.2015 - The NEED flyer is now online available. You can access it in the download area.

NEED Project represented at the Conference on Solar Energy Technology in Development Cooperation in Frankfurt, Germany

15.11.2014 - On 6 and 7 November 2014 the Solar Energy Technology in Development Cooperation conference organised by OTTI took place in Frankfurt, Germany. About 100 experts for development cooperation and solar specialists from 25 different countries met to discuss the opportunities and challenges of solar energy use in southern countries. The conference was a showcase for real-life examples and lessons learned from several implementation projects.

The NEED project leader Prof Wilfried Zörner and the NEED energy expert Marie Hüneke from Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt, attended the conference to represent the NEED project and spread information about the NEED network. The presentation held about the NEED project by Prof Wilfried Zörner was very well received by the audience and a lot of participants showed their interested and wanted to get in touch with the project. The participation at the conference can thus be seen as a success for the NEED project and a first step to spread and expand the NEED network.

[Source: OTTI Press Release]

A short contribution about the NEED project was broadcasted by INTV

20.11.2014 - The video was produced during the NEED project meeting in Ingolstadt. Here you can watch the short video from Ingolstadt TV about the visit of the NEED Project Team in Ingolstadt (in German language):

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Visitors from Africa at Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt

20.10.2014 - For five days, scientists and engineers from Botswana, Namibia and Zambia have been visiting the Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt (THI). The visit is in connection with a research co-operation that the THI established this year with the African partners in the field of renewable energies.

Specifically, the research project named NEED (Network of Excellence in Renewable Energy Technologies for Development) aims at institutionalizing a research network in renewable energies in Southern Africa. The THI, the Botswana International University of Science and Technology, the Okawango Research Institute (part of the University of Botswana), the Polytechnic of Namibia and the University of Zambia are the founding partners of this network that will be gradually expanded to include other institutions in Africa.

The common objectives of the partners is to build structures for technical know-how dissemination in the field of renewable energies in Africa, to inter-link important stakeholders in the region and to foster the awareness and the political commitment towards renewable energies. The main work packages of the NEED project are the development of dual study programs, the harmonization of industry standards, the consolidation of research activities in renewable energy technologies and the development of energy concepts for two remote model regions – one dryland region and one wetland region. The project runs for three years and is funded by the European Union.

During the visit to Ingolstadt for the first networking meeting in Germany, the participants discussed the project progress to date and the upcoming tasks. Besides, the African guests received insight in the state of teaching and research at the THI through specialist presentations and visits of laboratories given by THI representatives around Project Leader Prof. Dr. Wilfried Zörner (Head of Institute of new Energy Systems, InES). Also, visits to the Ingolstadt Townhall, the Educational Centre Ingolstadt of the Chamber of Trade for Munich and Upper Bavaria and to operators and companies in the region that are engaged in renewable energies were part of the program.

After the intensive project week with the African partners in Ingolstadt, Project Leader Prof. Wilfried Zörner is satisfied: “Our international project team has noticeably grown together since the start of the project on 1st March 2014 and is motivated to implement this ambitious project. It is thereby our aim to search for tailor-made solutions in each country which are suitable for the population.”

NEED Kick-Off Meeting in Zambia

20.04.2014 - From 13th to 16th April the official NEED Kick-Off Meeting took place in Lusaka, Zambia. Besides the getting together and the development of mutual knowledge, the focus of the meeting was put on the coordination of responsibilities and the preparation of the schedule of activities. Furthermore a first network meeting with associate partners and interested institutions from Zambia took place. Together the participants discussed various topics related to renewable energies and the project content, e.g. about research strategies in the field of renewable energies, industry standards or off-grid systems. One part of the meeting was an excursion to two facilities in Lusaka, that are involved in the development of renewable energy technologies in Zambia.

The meeting was regarded as a great success by all partners involved. The next meeting takes place in October 2014 in Ingolstadt, Germany.