hydro power
Image credit: esi-africa.com

PEi Connect provides a brief look at what got our attention during the week (15-22 July), and first up we consider that -the filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is raising tensions in the region and has the potential to permanently alter the humanitarian conditions between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan.

Image: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ethiopia

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam filled

Ethiopia has completed the filling of the massive dam on the Blue Nile river for a second year, according to media sources. This development has the potential to escalate tensions with Egypt and Sudan who have long opposed the project because they are also dependent on the Nile’s water and fear water shortages.

Ethiopians now await the completion of a turbine that will be powered by the dam, however, Egypt has reiterated concerns over its water security. Recently, Egypt’s foreign minister pleaded for the UN Security Council to intervene to create a binding agreement protecting the interests of downstream countries.

According to the Organisation of World Peace (OWP), the handling of this situation will set a precedent in handling conflict over water resources within Africa and beyond. The “binding agreement would present a replicable diplomatic model, regarding hydraulic cooperation and conflict resolution, for other countries,” stated OWP.

Introducing a super small solar-powered car

Solar car. Credit: Squad

A Dutch startup called Squad Mobility has begun taking pre-orders for a vehicle it’s calling the Squad car. It’s a tiny two-seater made for city driving only, with a max speed of 28 miles (45 km) per hour.

By leapfrogging the grid, many inefficiencies of the grid are avoided such as AC-DC and power transformations, storage and transportation losses.

The Squad combines energy generation, storage and usage in one single product and the PEI Ed team think it’s nifty.

Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Reactor Concept Awards

Illustration of a conceptual spacecraft enabled by nuclear thermal propulsion.
Credit: NASA

In news that is simply out of this world, NASA is leading an effort, working with the Department of Energy (DOE), to advance space nuclear technologies. The government team has selected three reactor design concept proposals for a nuclear thermal propulsion system. The reactor is a critical component of a nuclear thermal engine, which would utilise high-assay low-enriched uranium fuel.

The contracts, to be awarded through the DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory (INL), are each valued at approximately $5 million. Read more.

Image: GDF Suez

Africa’s windy potential

Did you know that Africa has enough wind to power itself 250 times over? According to the World Economic Forum, much of Africa’s wind is faster than 8.5 metres per second, making it perfect for wind farms. Take a look.

Connect with us next week for another selection of interesting sector news.

Until then, take care, stay safe and power on.

The PEi Ed team 🙂