In an exclusive interview with African Power, Mining & Oil Review, Mr. Iwasuke Shimada, Managing Director, Toshiba Africa, agrees that African customers tend to be cost conscious and that leads to a short term approach, below is the extract:

APM&OR: What would you like the African energy sector to know about Toshiba’s capabilities, as in energy infrastructure solutions.

Iwasuke: The general public in Africa knows us for our computers and home appliances, but we are energy and infrastructure Solutions Company with a long history.

Our energy solutions extend from power generation to transmission & distribution and energy storage.

Toshiba marked 143 years of operations this year, and we have over 100 years of experience as a manufacturer of energy-related products and solutions. We supply and service equipment all over the world, and have a record of supplying energy solution to African countries dating back to the 1970s.

APM&OR: What are some of your new product, solutions, technologies or services offerings for the energy sector that can ensure a Low-Carbon Society in Africa.

Iwasuke: Geothermal power generation: Toshiba has the global #1 share in installed capacity for geothermal power systems; that includes the Olkaria geothermal power stations in Kenya.

Advanced USC: our Advanced Ultra Super Critical steam turbine is an eco-friendly system that realises the higher pressure and higher temperature required to improve operating efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions.

Adjustable pumped storage hydro power: we supplied the equipment for the world’s first commercial adjustable pumped storage system, and today we have # 1 share in the world.

Storage & Hydrogen energy solution: We offer two major energy storage solutions. First, a highly advanced lithium-ion rechargeable battery energy storage system. Secondly, a hydrogen energy solution that can autonomously produce and store hydrogen and use it as a fuel to generate energy.

Amorphous distribution transformer: Our amorphous distribution transformer uses amorphous metal cores, which significantly reduce no-load losses.

APM&OR: What advice would you give to governments, IPPs, power utilities, mining or petrochemical companies operating in different African countries that have never used Toshiba’s expertise or services in their power generation, distribution or transmission operations.

Iwasuke: Our strong technological expertise, cultivated over many years, in many different kinds of projects, is the backbone of our business. Customers around the world trust and rely on our knowledge and technology, and use it every day. We have recently concluded several MoUs on potential geothermal generation with African countries, and we will support them with technology transfers and skills development in the geothermal energy sector.

We first installed generation equipment in Africa in the 1970s, starting with thermal power systems in Nigeria and then hydro power systems in Ghana and South Africa. Our transmission and distribution products, most notably transformers, are also widely used by African utilities.

APM&OR: How different are your energy solutions/services compared to other companies that do the same, in improving productivity, while reducing plant operational  and maintenance costs,  do you offer training.

Iwasuke: Improved productivity: Our high-end thermal power system is an advanced ultra-super critical power generation system

Reduce operation energy loss in distribution: We offer low loss Amorphous transformers for energy distribution system

Thermal equipment retrofit: We have retrofitted steam turbines and generators in South African power stations, and helped them to improve operating economy, output and operability.

APM&OR: What role is Toshiba playing in ensuring that Africa as a continent has enough clean energy.

Iwasuke: Renewable Hydro & Geothermal: We are supplier of renewable energy solutions, particularly hydro power and geothermal power.

Africa has immense potential in two of the main sources of renewable, low-carbon, clean energy: hydro power and geothermal power. These are both areas where we are a world leader, able to deliver advanced systems that have proved successful in power plants all over the world. Deployment of these systems in Africa will contribute to energy self-sufficiency.

Skill development: We work closely with governments and agencies for geothermal development from the early stage of projects to support development of human resources able to handle transfers of technologies and skills.

APM&OR: How is Toshiba contributing towards reduction of energy costs, environment conservation and renewable energy development in Africa.

Iwasuke: Geothermal: Commissioning geothermal power plants in Kenya increased baseload generation capacity. We would like to contribute to the same in other African countries.

Thermal equipment retrofit: We have retrofitted steam turbines and generators in South African power stations, and helped them to improve operating economy, output and operability.

Reduce operation loss in distribution: We offer low loss amorphous transformers for energy distribution system.

APM&OR: What are some of the challenges you foresee on the ground as you move forward with your growth strategy in Africa while helping the African energy sector meet the 21st century challenges of the energy industry.

Iwasuke: African customers tend to be cost conscious and that leads to a short term approach. Some of our new technologies meet their requirement for achieving such short term goals; for example, installation of amorphous transformers immediately reduces energy loss and customers benefit straight away. But we would also like our customers to view Toshiba as a long term partner. That approach would allow us to provide products and solutions that can be beneficial and cost competitive over the long term.

APM&OR: What is the future outlook of Toshiba in Africa

Iwasuke: In Africa, we are known for our computers and home appliances, but we are also an energy and infrastructure solutions providing company with a long history.

We have already supplied some of our infrastructure solutions in water management, railway system, and banknote machines. We hope to see our energy and infrastructure business grow as Africa grows.

Toshiba is not new to the energy and infrastructure sector in Africa. We would like to continue our activities in the region and help to build a new day together.