Yaa Asantewaa SHS wins Renewable Energy Contest

Yaa Asantewaa Girls Senior High School (SHS) have won the 2022 Ashanti regional edition of the Energy Commission’s Energy Challenge competition held annually to promote the efficient use of electricity and renewable energy resources.

They beat defending champions Gyaman Pensan SHS to represent the region at the zonal level of the competition.

The prototype of their PhotoElectric cooker won the girls first place over Toase Senior High’s post-harvest drying machine.

Yaa Asantewaa oust national champions Gyaama Pensan in Renewable Energy Challenge

Ten schools in the Ashanti region, including defending national champions Gyaama Pensan, took turns presenting their developed clean energy technologies.

The participating schools were tasked to develop cost-effective cooking and food processing technologies using renewable energy sources.

Yaa Asantewaa oust national champions Gyaama Pensan in Renewable Energy Challenge

After an impressive and innovative presentation, Yaa Asantewaa’s PCM-based PhotoElectric cooker stood tall among its competitors.

The cooker employs the use of a solar energy converter for electrical and heat energies.

One of girls, Esther Addai explained that “PCM is a phase change material, a material l that can change from one state to another state in order to stir energy.

“So when the sun rays fall on the solar panels, the solar energy is converted to electrical power, and this helps heat the heating element to change its state.

“This energy is used to heat and store the food in the phase-changing material. So while cooking, the energy is being stored in the PCM,” she said.

The Renewable Energy Challenge started in 2019 and is organised by the Energy Commission in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service.

Yaa Asantewaa oust national champions Gyaama Pensan in Renewable Energy Challenge

It aims at promoting the efficient use of electricity and renewable energy resources through public education and training.

The challenge affords students in second-cycle institutions the opportunity to put into practicality theories underlying renewable and clean energy concepts.

Senior Manager at the Energy Commission, Julius Nkansah-Nyarko, says the challenge also aims at eliminating the “chew and pour” phenomenon in Ghana’s educational system.

“There is a recognised gap in priority and synergy between academia and industry. We believe amongst others that this gap can be closed through the promotion of research and development in our second-cycle schools by encouraging the transformation of ideas and concepts into actual projects and product development.

“The aim is to promote creative thinking and to provide mentorship to young students. It is vital that we eliminate the “chew, pour, pass, and forget” phenomenon in the educational system of Ghana as well as myth that research and project development are only directed at science students,” he said.

The challenge contributes to brainstorming home-grown solutions for developing clean cooking strategies to achieve SDG 7 by 2030.

Yaa Asantewaa oust national champions Gyaama Pensan in Renewable Energy Challenge

Ashanti Regional Director of Education, Mary Owusu Afriyie, appealed to commercialise the developed technologies.

“ I appeal to the Energy Commission to update GESand stakeholders on the progress of development for the winning products and to ensure that they are available on the market to benefit the whole nation. How motivating it will be for the winning schools to have their products on the market,” she said.

Toase Senior High School’s post-harvest drying machine for smallholder farmers in rural communities came close to clinching the title.

The Girls from Yaa Asantewaa will represent the Ashanti region at the zonal competition.

Esther Addai added, “we will be correcting the mistakes we made and ensure everything is on point in the next contest”.