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Hesham El Shamy, oil & gas sector lead at Aggreko AMEA. (Image source: Aggreko)

Hesham El Shamy, oil & gas sector lead at Aggreko AMEA, explores the feasibility of eliminating flared gas by 2030

140 billion cubic metres – that’s how much natural gas is flared annually, impacting human health, accelerating climate change, and releasing carbon dioxide, methane and black soot. The practice of flaring is a significant economic and environmental problem that the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 (NZE) aims to eradicate by 2030 by removing non-emergency flaring. It is an ambitious goal, but one that’s sorely needed as it can potentially prevent the release of around 365 million metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. Achieving this result would also see a 95% reduction in flared gas volumes and take significant steps towards sustainability.

The challenge is to find equally sustainable and capable solutions that would allow the oil and gas industry to break its reliance on flaring. While companies have recognised the need to reduce flaring and are increasingly committing to curtail the practice, this is only a preliminary step. Finding a solution means finding a way through the energy trilemma characterised by a complex balance of energy security, environmental sustainability and energy equity.

The trilemma has to overcome three core challenges – the need for reliable and affordable energy; the urgency of mitigating climate change and reducing the impact on human health; and the equitable distribution of energy resources. Flaring prevents the accumulation of combustible gases while ensuring safe operations and processing, but it has a direct impact on the environment. It is also an inefficient use of valuable energy resources which goes directly against the goal of energy equity.


This is where flare-to-power can help oil and gas companies make the most out of a financially and environmentally challenging situation. Using flare-to-power solutions, companies can respond intelligently to the energy trilemma as they offer an innovative and sustainable route to capitalising on the latent energy that comes with flaring. Rather than treating the gas as a waste product, flare-to-power solutions harness it as a resource, using it to generate electricity and a source of clean energy.

Flare-to-power solutions deftly resolve the energy trilemma by providing energy security, environmental sustainability and energy equity. They also offer oil and gas companies the opportunity to optimise their total cost of energy which introduces economic efficiencies sorely needed by the sector right now. However, companies have legitimate concerns about the viability of the technology.

The first is the feasibility of using flaring as a source of energy – many oil operators lack the infrastructure needed to capture and use the gas they flare during operations which inhibits their investment into this solution based on cost and systems. The second challenge is reliability because flaring is a sporadic resource rather than a consistent one. Operators are concerned about relying on this as a source of power because flaring is intermittent and this could result in an inconsistent power supply.

So, how do companies tap into flaring as a source of power while addressing the very real concerns of reliability and infrastructure? The answer lies in taking a phased approach to flare-to-power using an energy service provider with the tools and technology capable of managing these challenges sustainably and intuitively. Aggreko works with companies throughout the multiple stages of a flare-to-power project, ensuring they benefit from a consistent energy resource while reducing the wasteful practice of flaring.

Using cutting-edge technology, Aggreko implements advanced measures such as real-time gas analysis and insights into gas composition every seven minutes to ensure consistent and verified gas quality supply, and by building solutions that align with environmental goals while ensuring extracted gas is used to its full potential. For example, when gas volume diminishes, Aggreko offers a phased reduction in the flare, ensuring a controlled transition, or when gas volumes are projected to increase, Aggreko provides a proactive scaling-up process.

Flared gas serves no productive purpose despite accounting for around 500 million tons of CO2 – enough to power sub-Saharan Africa – so it makes sense to repurpose this wasted energy, turning it into electricity supply for countries that need it the most. With Aggreko’s modular approach to flare-to-power, companies can scale up and down in response to power demand or gas availability and easily navigate the challenges associated with flared gas while staying ahead of the energy trilemma.

Elsewhere, Aggreko has outlined how ‘relentless evolutions’ have helped bridge the energy gap in the African mining sector in an interview with Africa Review.

According to DNV, wind and solar anticipated to generate 70% of the world's electricity by 2050. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

According to DNV, global electricity demand is set to double by 2050 as the world’s reliance on fossil fuels diminishes, requiring significant grid expansion to accommodate for an increased decarbonised energy system

These findings have been published in the company’s New Power Systems report which also pointed to the need for solutions to grid congestion and new business models to accommodate rising electricity demand and generation form wind and solar. The report concludes that grid expansion is affordable, thanks to growing efficiencies in grid technology and the increased electricity load, with DNV expecting global grid charged passed to consumers to remain stable or decline in the long term.

DNV report highlights

Notable points picked out by DNV from its New Power Systems report include:

• Electricity to constitute 37% of global final energy use by 2050, rising from 20% in 2023;
• A dramatic shift to renewables towards 2050 with wind and solar anticipated to generate half of the world’s electricity by 2040 and 70% by mid-century. By this date, 90% of electricity will be sourced from non-fossil sources;
• As variable renewable energy sources (VRES) expand, the need for short-term flexibility will double;
• Growing demand for new ancillary services such as synthetic inertia products and fast frequency response, and adapting market and regulatory frameworks to support these technologies is critical;
Advanced AI and automated activation of demand response to play a key supporting role in grid operations and market predictions;
• Lithium-ion battery technology is set to play a dominant role, offering three times more storage capacity than hydropower and pumped storage by 2050 as energy storage grows in influence. Innovative market designs and advanced tariff schemes to incentivise automated demand-response, vehicle-to-grid and behind-the-meter storage systems are required;
Power-to-hydrogen value chains will become a critical market element for renewable generation and need to be scaled through concerted investment efforts;
• Global grid capacity needs to grow 2.5 times its current size to enable the energy transition, with annual expenditure on grids more than doubling to US$970bn by 2050;
• Grid enhancing technologies offer potentially significant temporary relief with long-term solutions residing in accelerating the construction of new grid infrastructure and advanced controlling systems;
• Efficiencies in grid technology and increased electricity distribution will likely keep consumer grid charges stable or declining in most regions despite global grid expenditures rising from 15% to 25% of annual energy expenditure by 2050;
• Decline in renewable power costs suggests consumer prices are unlikely to rise. Electrifying end-use sectors will further enhance efficiencies and cost savings.
• In low-income regions, rapid GDP growth to offset a slight rise in household energy increases with the ‘green dividend’ offering an opportunity for governments to accelerate the energy transition and maximise the benefits of green electricity.

Systematic approach to the energy transition

“We believe in systems thinking, looking at the big picture, to consider how energy is generated, transmitted, consumed, and stored across all energy carriers,” remarked Ditlev Engel, CEO for Energy Systems at DNV. “There will be no transition without transmission. The new energy system will require data-driven solutions and policies that address all interconnections, from permitting to the integration of AI and cyber-resilience. Planning for a new wind farm must include a strategy for grid connection; similarly, GETs and new wire integrations require IT upgrades at most control centres.

“The pathway to a decarbonised power system is clear: renewables integration and grid expansion require significant investment, innovation, coordination, and commitment from all players, especially governments. As the world moves towards a greener future, addressing these challenges with a systemic and forward-thinking approach will be essential for a successful energy transition.”

The 100% hydrogen-ready engine is expected to be available for orders in 2025, and available for delivery from 2026. (Image source: Wärtsilä Energy)

Wärtsilä has officially launched the world’s first large-scale hydrogen-ready engine power plant, which can be converted to run 100% on hydrogen

The new plant, developed in line with the emerging need for flexible power generation solutions that could be key in the journey to net-zero, represents a step beyond existing technology which can only currently run on natural gas and 25 vol% hydrogen blends.

“We will not meet global climate goals or fully decarbonise our power systems without flexible, zero-carbon power generation, which can quickly ramp up and down to support intermittent wind and solar,” commented Anders Lindberg, president at Wärtsilä Energy. “We must be realistic that natural gas will play a part in our power systems for years to come."

Building net-zero foundations

“Our fuel flexible engines can use natural gas today to provide flexibility and balancing, enabling renewable power to thrive," Lindberg continued. "They can then be converted to run on hydrogen when it becomes readily available: future-proofing the journey to net zero. This is a major milestone for us as a company, and the energy transition more generally, as our hydrogen-ready engines will enable the 100% renewable power systems of tomorrow.”

The Wärtsilä 31 engine platform, which the hydrogen-ready power plant is based on, is the most efficient in the world. It synchronises with the grid within 30 seconds from start command, ensures energy security through fuel flexibility and offers exceptional load following capabilities and high part load efficiency. It has completed more than 1 million running hours, with more than 1,000MW installed capacity globally.

The hydrogen-ready engine power plant concept gas been certified by TÜV SÜD. The H2-Readiness certification consists of three stages with three corresponding certificates. Wärtsilä has now achieved the first stage with a Concept Certificate for the conceptual design of its engine power plant. The 100% hydrogen-ready engine is expected to be available for orders in 2025, and available for delivery from 2026.

A cat technician walking amongst the gensets at the Wentworth power plant in Tanzania. (Image source: Cat)

With generator set demand continuing to grow in Africa, Carl Emery, regional sales manager for Europe, Africa and Middle East for Caterpillar Electric Power, describes what key industries are driving equipment sales and how the company is updating products to meet modern customer requirements

African Review (AR): What are your top selling diesel generator products in Africa currently?

Carl Emery (CE): Economic development is growing across numerous sectors in Africa, so we’re seeing demand for diesel generator sets throughout the full range of power nodes.

In the larger range, Cat 3500 series generator sets, which offer 1250 to 3500 kVA, are popular building blocks for powering larger applications, with a particular focus on the 1500 and 2000 kVA power nodes for data centres, hospitals, manufacturing and other industrial applications.

In the smaller range, the expansion of mobile telecommunications across remote regions without access to the grid is driving demand for Cat generator sets offering 22 to 65 kVA of prime power.

There is a growing need for standby products as the grid matures in Africa, and the Cat GC range of generators helps customers find a cost-effective solution supported fully by Cat dealers.

On the rental side, reliable utility power is a tremendous need across Africa, and gaps in the energy infrastructure are driving growth for temporary power solutions, especially rental power solutions. Cat dealers have a modern fleet of rental power solutions, with a focus on short-term opportunities starting at 200 kVA as well as larger projects from 5 to 15 MVA. They also offer flexibility through short- and long-term rental solutions along with rent-to-own options for diesel, gas and hybrid systems.

In addition, the network of Cat dealers across Africa, provide reliable power and customer uptime through advanced technologies that can be customized to the specific needs of a given application, expert technical support through round-the-clock service and maintenance, and genuine Cat parts.

AR: Are there any particular industries or regions that are driving sales?

CE: From an industry perspective, data centres are driving sales in the larger product range, due to the evolution of digital business services, rapidly accelerating mobile data consumption, and the expansion of the tech sector across the continent. The increasing prevalence of big data in Africa is why Caterpillar recently joined the Africa Data Centres Association (ADCA).

With the spread of mobile telecom towers across remote areas without access to the grid, reliable generator sets from 22 to 65 kVA are needed to supply prime power. Telecommunications providers have begun to deploy these generator sets in microgrids that also incorporate renewable power generation and lithium-ion energy storage to reduce total cost of ownership as well as fuel consumption and the associated greenhouse gas emissions.

In mining, Africa is a major producer of many key mineral commodities, with bountiful reserves of metals and minerals such as gold, diamond, cobalt, bauxite, iron ore, coal, and copper across the continent. The mining industry is one of the main end users of stationary and rental solutions for prime power in Africa.

One trend that’s driving diesel generator set demand is utilities’ use of distributed generation to address the gap in supply. Strategically located, multi-MVA power systems can be used to address voltage and frequency regulation, as well as peak shaving. They can also be deployed through power purchase agreements that enable clients to expand capacity without owning or being responsible for maintaining assets.

From a regional perspective, Nigeria and the rest of West Africa have traditionally been top markets for generator set consumption. Demand in South Africa for prime power offered in installed and rental solutions is increasing due to local utility load shedding.

AR: Are there any specific trends that are influencing generator design and how are you taking this on board in your own products?

CE: With the growing prime power need in these markets, customers value Caterpillar’s best-in-class life cycle cost proposition. Cat generator sets have traditionally been known for their reliability, durability, and reduced lifecycle costs, and African customers who value total cost of ownership are taking the performance of Cat diesel generator sets to the next level through connectivity and data analytics.

Cat generator sets equipped with remote asset monitoring hardware offer sophisticated data analysis capabilities that enable Caterpillar and Cat dealers to track performance, identify potential issues through predictive analytics, and provide the information needed for service and maintenance that will extend the return on their investment. This intelligence is especially important for units operating in remote regions where technician deployment and parts delivery are more challenging.

Remote asset monitoring is one element of Caterpillar’s broader condition monitoring capabilities, which evaluates generator set operational data to help owners take a proactive approach to planning maintenance, component replacement and repairs.

Additionally, a strong parts and service offering is crucial in enabling customers to get the best return on their investment in Cat generator sets. Expert Cat dealer technicians offer timely support and operational tips that keep power solutions running reliably and efficiently for the long run.

AR: How are you expecting the market to develop in the years ahead and how are you planning for this?

CE: Africa shows positive signs of continued, sustained growth, and together with our dealers, we are committed to contributing to Africa’s success. In fact, the Caterpillar Foundation has invested US$77mn in 24 African countries since 2010, focusing on sustainable infrastructure, access to basic services, workforce readiness and STEM education.

As the African infrastructure continues to expand, Caterpillar is well positioned with a wide portfolio and specific industry expertise in mining, data centres, manufacturing, hospitals and health care, and utilities.

As sustainability initiatives develop across the continent, Caterpillar can help customers achieve their goals through numerous strategies, since one size does not fit all when it comes to power solutions. Caterpillar’s approach includes advanced technologies such as Cat Dynamic Gas Blending (DGB) enabling diesel engines to operate with varying degrees of diesel and gaseous fuels simultaneously; support for renewable fuels such as biodiesel and hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO); and hybrid microgrids integrating generator sets, renewable energy sources – solar, wind, and hydropower – and lithium-ion energy storage.

Have your say!

African Review is seeking to expand its coverage of the generator market ahead of its forthcoming Buyers’ Guide. If you are active in this sector and are seeking to expand your footprint, or if you have story/opinion that you think should be heard by the community, reach out to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The first Jinko Solar BESS project was in Africa. (Image source: Jinko Solar)

Ahead of the opening of the Africa Energy Forum (aef) in Barcelona, Spain, from 25-28 June, representatives of sponsor Jinko Solar spoke to African Review to describe why the continent poses a vital avenue for growth for the company and what stumbling blocks remain for wider solar and battery rollout

African Review (AR): How important is the African solar and battery opportunity to your company, especially in light of the increasing focus on off-grid supply there?

Titus Koech (TK), technical services Sr. manager Jinko Solar – sub-Saharan Africa: For Jinko Solar, a leading global and Tier 1 PV modules and battery energy storage manufacturer, the African solar and battery opportunity holds significant strategic importance, especially with the growing emphasis on off-grid supply in the region. Here are some of the reasons:

Market Expansion: Africa presents a vast and largely untapped market for solar energy solutions, particularly in regions where traditional grid infrastructure is lacking. As the continent's population and energy demand continue to rise, there's a growing need for off-grid and decentralised power solutions, making it a prime market for Jinko Solar's PV modules and battery energy storage solutions (BESS).

Off-Grid Focus: With many rural areas in Africa lacking access to reliable electricity, there's a strong push towards off-grid solutions such as solar home systems, mini-grids, and standalone solar installations. Jinko Solar's expertise in manufacturing high-quality solar panels and its ability to integrate battery energy storage solutions positions the company well to meet the demand for off-grid power solutions in Africa.

Sustainability Goals: Many African countries are increasingly prioritising renewable energy sources to meet their sustainability goals and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Jinko Solar's solar panels & battery energy storage solutions offer a clean and sustainable energy alternative, aligning with the renewable energy ambitions of African nations.

Economic Development: Investing in solar energy infrastructure in Africa not only helps to address energy poverty but also contributes to economic development by creating jobs, fostering local manufacturing and assembly capabilities, and attracting investment in the renewable energy sector. Jinko Solar's presence and investments in the region can stimulate economic growth and support local communities.

In our portfolio, we currently have SUNGIGA & SUNTERA micro-grid solutions which are either liquid-cooled or air-cooled which are suitable for off-grid applications in the region. The solutions also range from as low as 3kW and as high as 2MW with a possibility of expansion to hundreds of megawatts.

Jinko Solar has positioned itself to offer many bankable battery energy storage solutions for off-grid applications. In the year 2023, Jinko Solar supplied approximately 100 mini-grid solutions to various projects in Africa. In the same year, the company also provided thousands of residential battery energy storage solutions to different households in the region.

The first Jinko solar BESS project was in Africa, hence we have deep ties with Africa as a region and we usually keep in mind Africa when making our key research and development decisions. In 2024, Jinko expects to deliver approximately 700MWh for off-grid solar in Africa and looking forward to commanding more than 30% market share in the next few years.

AR: With solar and battery prices continuing to fall, another barrier to their widespread implementation is being dismantled. What are some of the challenges that remain that could restrict the scale-up of battery deployment, especially in Africa?

TK: Despite the falling prices of solar panels and batteries, several challengesA headshot of Titus Koech of Jinko Solar. remain that could restrict the widespread deployment of solar plus batteries in Africa:

Initial Capital Investment: While prices are decreasing, the initial capital investment required for setting up solar PV panels and battery storage systems can still be prohibitive for individuals and businesses in Africa, especially in regions with lower income levels.

Infrastructure and Logistics: Africa faces infrastructural challenges such as inadequate roads and transportation networks, which can increase the cost and difficulty of transporting batteries to remote areas. Additionally, a lack of proper installation and maintenance services can hinder the effective deployment of battery systems.

Technology and Capacity Building: There may be a lack of technical expertise and capacity for designing, installing, and maintaining battery storage systems in many African countries. This can limit the adoption of battery technology, as local communities may not have the knowledge or skills required to leverage these systems effectively.

Access to Financing: Access to financing remains a significant barrier for many individuals and businesses in Africa. Without access to affordable financing options, even with falling prices, the upfront costs of solar panels and battery storage systems (which account for at least 70% of the total project cost) can remain out of reach for many potential users.

Regulatory and Policy Frameworks: Inconsistent or inadequate regulatory frameworks and policies related to renewable energy and battery storage can create uncertainty for investors and hinder the scaling up of battery deployment in Africa.

AR: How do you see these being solved?

TK: To address these challenges and facilitate the scale-up of battery deployment in Africa, several strategies can be employed:

Financial Incentives: Governments and international organisations can provide financial incentives such as subsidies, grants, and low-interest loans to make battery storage systems more affordable for consumers and businesses.

Capacity Building: Investing in training programmes and capacity-building initiatives to develop local expertise in designing, installing, and maintaining battery storage systems can help overcome technical barriers and create job opportunities. Jinko Solar is currently running various training programmes to ensure proper technical skills transfer to the technical experts in the region.

Public-Private Partnerships: Collaboration between governments, private sector entities, and non-governmental organisations can help address infrastructure challenges and promote the adoption of battery technology through joint investment and knowledge sharing.

Technology Innovation: Continued investment in research and development to improve solar PV & battery technology and reduce costs can further drive down prices and make battery storage systems more accessible in Africa. In the past two years, leading PV module technologies like TOPCON have been key drivers in improving solar PV module efficiency. Jinko Solar is currently working with in-house and third-party research labs to come up with next-generation PV module technologies to advance breakthroughs in the PV module industry.

Policy Support: Governments can play a crucial role in creating supportive regulatory frameworks and policies that incentivise the deployment of battery storage systems, such as feed-in tariffs, net metering schemes, and renewable energy targets.

By addressing these challenges and implementing appropriate strategies, the scale-up of battery deployment in Africa can be facilitated, unlocking the potential for greater energy access, reliability, and sustainability across the continent.

AR: Can you outline a recent project that the company has completed or is fulfilling on the continent?

Mohamad Saadi Al-Dweik – head of technical servicesA headshot of Mohamad Saadi Al-Dweik – head of technical services & product management – MENA. & product management – MENA: Jinko Solar has become a major player in the Middle East and Africa's solar energy market by providing a wide range of solutions for different customer needs. We offer the most up-to-date and cost-effective options to meet specific market demands.

Jinko Solar is at the forefront of innovation in solar panel technology. As the world's leading supplier of N-type technology, we continuously improve it year after year. In 2024, we introduced Metallization Enhancement (ME) technology, which reduces aluminium content in the silver paste. This advancement boosts cell efficiency by 0.5% and enhances the reliability of TOPCon cells.

While Africa has made significant strides in developing its renewable energy infrastructure, Jinko Solar recognizes the vast, untapped potential on the continent. We see a thriving market in countries like Nigeria, South Africa, and Morocco, and anticipate even more markets emerging with a surge in demand.

Jinko Solar is prepared to meet this growing demand by offering a comprehensive range of solar solutions. Our air-cooled and liquid-cooled options cater to diverse applications and scenarios.

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