Articles and Analysies
New Lighting Technology for South Sudan by Ater Amogpai-Finland, Helsinki
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Jul 29, 2009 - 11:23:15 AM

New Lighting Technology for South Sudan


A completely south Sudanese people are in darkness after Sunset in which kerosene and diesel lamps and biomass replace sun light. Kerosene and diesel fuels and biomass have effect on human health and they are cause of lung cancer, asthma and sight dieses. Until date, the source of electricity generation in the south Sudan is diesel-fueled generators. These generators are not locally manufactured, lack of spare parts and maintenance and fuel keep the costs of these generators higher. Power outage amongst these generators is a common feature, this in another word means that these generators are loaded and the power is not sufficient for those who are connected. In Juba , there are only five generators in operation with total power of (5MW), Malakal (2MW) and Wau (2MW). As headquarter of the government of south Sudan (GOSS) and growing economic, the population and demand for electricity are in a rapid rate in Juba . However, still electricity sector is characterized with frequent power outages and poor infrastructures.  


Electricity in south Sudan is mainly limited in Juba , Malakal and Wau in which government buildings are the dominant. I visited Juba in December 2008 and what drawn my intention was the noise caused by operating individual diesel generators in the markets, hotels, hospitals, homes and in the offices when power went off. At least Juba needs 40 MW, Malakal and Wau need 15 MW and 10 MW respectively to meet the need for electricity demand, senior engineer in Juba power station told me. Many projects are undergoing to improve the electricity situation in south Sudan . As an example, Egyptian government granted four diesel generators to four south Sudanese towns namely Wau, Rumbek, Yambio, and Bor. I met two Finnish engineers in Juba power station they were as well installing two power stations in Juba . All these projects if completed will improve electricity situation in these towns in a near future.


Unfortunately, still most people of south Sudan are without electricity, they depend on biomass in the form of wood, agricultural residues and cattle dung for cooking and heating. Diesel and kerosene fuels and biomass are used for lighting in the households. All these sources of energy produced smoke, created indoor air pollution inside homes, and caused many health problems to their users. Incandescent lamp is the main modern light source in the households of south Sudan . This lamp is an inefficient source of lighting that was invented by Thomas Edison in the eighteenth century, is now been phasing out in the western countries. Currently, fluorescent lamp is a very efficient light source and consumes less energy compared with incandescent lamp. Since these light sources are brought from far industries countries, their prices are expensive for the south Sudanese people.


New lighting technology such as light emitting diode (LED) is now been developed in the industries countries for homes lighting. The main advantages of LED are its long lifetime, consume less wattage, and can fit in every environment. This light source combined with solar energy technology such as photovoltaic (PV) could provide a very efficient lighting technology for those who are without electricity in the south Sudan . However, this lighting technology is not known in the south Sudan thus the first task is to give some background information about its benefits and advantages. Another problem is its cost and it may be very expensive for the people of south Sudan where there is no manufacturer for it.


South Sudan has the highest potential of small-scale hydropower in Sudan and it can be used to generate electricity. Since there is oil in the south Sudan , liquid petroleum gas (LPG) can be used for cooking and lighting in homes. Sun shines in south Sudan for about 8 hours per day hence solar energy technology can be used to replace small individual diesel generators. Some benefits of solar energy technology are makes no noise, easy to install and needs no fuel. However, the initial and running costs are the main barriers of solar energy technology for south Sudan where there is no market for it.


Since creature, no development took place in the south Sudan therefore it could be interesting that it may introduces a new technology that is now been developed in Europe and America or in China and India . In the field of electricity and lighting, south Sudan could use very clean sources of energy to produced electricity. Hydro and solar energy are locally available and they can be utilized using new available technology. Lighting technology such as LED and fluorescent lamps can be use as light sources in the households of south Sudan . Thus, south Sudan had met the environmental requirements for an efficient and zero energy home and it could be a good example in the region. Not all these are possible without government and educational institutions as well as individual concerns persons interfering accompanied with good governing and serious policy toward development.


The author is a Sudanese based in Finland . He is a PhD student and researcher at Helsinki University of Technology, Department of Electronics Engineering. He can be reach at [email protected]

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