New paths for sustainability and renewable energy in Africa

The commitment to work in a climate-neutral way led to binding goals for the UET Group. With binding goals, real projects emerged – close to nature, that produce results and stand up to any scrutiny – in the long term.

New business ideas emerged from these projects and thus sustainability becomes business.

In the Carbon Capturing & Bio-Energy product portfolio, the UET Group develops technologically innovative and nature-based products for the storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) and sustainable energy sources from biomass. This is a significant step towards climate protection and sustainable energy production.

Digitalisation with communication networks strengthens the value chain.

The UET Group operates a plantation in Ghana in West Africa with a size of 49,000 hectares (ha) or about 490 square kilometers (km2). The operation focuses on sustainability and coexistence with local society, supporting the transformation of Africa into a renewable energy superpower (note: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the Climate Summit in Nairobi in early September 2023).

Our unique approach involves creating a global leader and brand in carbon offsetting at industrial scale. We use modern agricultural, social, and infrastructural systems, for an efficient carbon capture and reduction cycle – with a clear focus on transparency and the highest quality standards.


Private 5G networks for the digitalisation of sustainable agriculture and forestry

The UET Group is setting new standards in the digitalisation of agriculture. With our many years of experience in the development and construction of telecommunications networks, we are planning the construction of the world’s largest private 5G network on our plantations. This network not only ensures reliable connectivity and communication, but also increases the efficiency and productivity of all agricultural process steps.

The combination of infrastructure, networking of sensors, integration of drones and artificial intelligence sets new standards.

We combine sustainability and cutting-edge technology to shape and promote a healthy future and economic development in Ghana and worldwide. Insights and experiences flow into the further development of our products and solutions.

The existing goal of the UET Group to operate in a climate-neutral manner regarding emissions from 2030 onwards requires a reduction of emissions in the Scope 1, 2 and 3 areas to “net zero”. According to current technological possibilities, a complete reduction of emissions is not possible. Therefore, there is a need to bind CO2 through qualified and certified projects and thus to compensate for existing emissions. In addition, climate-neutral energy sources from biomass can make a total “net zero” contribution.

The plantation in Ghana, Africa, which belongs to the UET Group, covers a total of 49,000 hectares (ha) or 490 square kilometers (km2) and is thus as large as the city of Munich (Germany). In the future, there is the option and the plan to increase this area.

At the existing scale, the UET plantation has the potential to store 2,000,000 tonnes of CO2 per year with a very fast-growing bamboo. The UET Group thus has the world’s largest plantation for the absorption and storage of carbon dioxide.

Currently, the area is being reforested with indigenous trees, eucalyptus, and bamboo. Existing stands on around 10,000 hectares are already more than 10 years old and sustainably reforested.

The plantation

The plantation consists of three lots. Between the lots there is natural open space for settlements and local farming and livestock breeding.

In this way, the UET Group guarantees appropriate coexistence with the indigenous population of Ghana and provides jobs and further development.

Biomass production

Ghana was carefully selected and offers very good conditions to produce biomass, which can be used to store carbon dioxide and produce green energy sources:

Biomass ressources

Ghana has a rich existing flora that is ideally suited for reforestation and thus the production of biomass.

Climatic conditions

The climate is favourable for growth. This guarantees sustainable and productive agriculture.

Sustainable agriculture

Ghana has been increasingly supporting and promoting sustainable agriculture and environmental protection in recent years.

Application of Article 6 of the 2015 Paris Agreement

Ghana ratified the UN Paris Agreement of 2015 in 2016 and enables the application of Article 6.2 of the Agreement. This enables the cooperation of CO2 certificates from the corresponding projects.

Carbon dioxide and carbon: relevance to climate change

Our planet is based on carbon, an element that makes life on Earth possible. Human activities have thrown the natural carbon cycle out of balance. The release of sequestered carbon through the burning of fossil fuels has driven CO2 levels in the atmosphere to alarming levels.

The Paris Climate Agreement of 2015 commits the world to reducing fossil carbon emissions to “zero” to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees based on pre-industrial levels. We need technologies to actively reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere.


Vegetable carbon

Plants are uniquely able to filter carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and produce organic compounds.

When this organic mass, with the bound carbon dioxide, rots or is burnt, the carbon stored in it is released back into the atmosphere. However, if the organic mass is heated in the absence of air, useful, energy-rich gases are produced and at the same time the carbon it contains is stabilised – the coveted plant carbon is produced, and an additionally produced pyrolysis oil can be used as biofuel (e.g., bioethanol). The combustion of bioethanol is a non-fossil energy source, and the prior binding of carbon dioxide means that no new emissions are released. This contributes to the overall reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.

Vegetable carbon and biological energy sources are thus a decisive contribution to mitigating climate change.


Stabilised carbon, bound for life.


The term “bioenergy” refers to energy obtained from biological materials or biomass. This biomass can come from various organic sources. The energy from biomass can be obtained in various ways, including, for example:

Biomethanol and bioethanol

These are often called biofuels and are made from plants. They are often used in the transport industry to replace or supplement fossil fuels.

Biochar (vegetable carbon / biochar)

This is a form of carbon produced from biomass through pyrolysis. It can be used in agriculture for soil improvement or as a sustainable energy source.

Bioenergy is considered a renewable energy source because biomass sources are renewable if they are managed sustainably. The use of bioenergy helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to climate change mitigation, especially when used instead of fossil fuels.

Vegetable carbon, also known as “biochar”, is produced through a process called pyrolysis. Pyrolysis is a controlled thermal decomposition of biomass in which organic materials such as plant waste, wood or agricultural residues are heated in an environment with limited oxygen. This process results in the conversion of the biomass into carbon-rich plant charcoal.

Vegetable carbon has a porous structure that can store large amounts of water and nutrients. It can also loosen and improve the soil, promote soil microbiology, and contribute to the long-term storage of carbon in the soil. Vegetable charcoal is often used as a soil additive in agriculture and for carbon sequestration in soils. There are also applications in animal husbandry, water and environmental protection, and renewable energy systems.

In the plant carbon, a large part of the CO2 that the plant has absorbed during its growth is bound as carbon.

Vegetable carbon is hardly decomposed over centuries, so the carbon is removed from the atmosphere in the long term. That is why plant carbon is a carbon sink recognised by science.

One ton of vegetable carbon usually binds about 3 tons of CO2. The net amount may vary slightly depending on your own carbon footprint.

Biofuels are renewable fuels made from organic materials such as plants, algae, or animal waste. They serve as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels and can be used in conventional combustion engines and other applications to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Biofuels play an important role in reducing dependence on fossil fuels and promoting sustainability in transport and other sectors.

Biofuels are often made from renewable raw materials such as plants or organic waste. When burned in vehicles or plants, they release CO2, but the CO2 released is often absorbed by the growth of the feedstock plants, resulting in net zero emissions. This is known as ‘carbon neutrality’.

Biofuels can replace fossil fuels such as petrol and diesel in vehicles and equipment. Because they come from renewable sources, they help reduce the use of non-renewable fossil fuels, which reduces overall greenhouse gas emissions.

The use of one ton of bioethanol reduces CO2 emissions by 2 to 3 tons, depending on the production process.

Smart Farming - Private 5G Networks in Agriculture

The UET Group is setting new standards by applying experience in the construction and operation of telecommunications networks in future-oriented climate protection projects.

Experienced in highly reliable gigabit networks in both fixed and private 5G networks, the company is using its technological know-how to take existing forestry and agriculture to a new level. On 49,000 hectares of plantation, the planned construction of a private 5G network will enable comprehensive digitalisation. This network connects sensors across the site to link them with artificial intelligence (AI). The result is an autonomous drone system that covers and surveys the entire site. This system enables real-time data collection on crop condition, cultivation, and growth.

This advanced technology captures valuable insights and information in real time, allowing farming processes to be optimised and efficiency to be increased. It will also create a monitoring system to detect and prevent bush and forest fires.

The application area will be the largest private 5G network in the world and underlines the leadership role for innovation and technology in sustainable business models.

Smart farming, also known as precision agriculture, is an innovative farming practice that uses advanced technologies and data analytics to optimise farm efficiency, sustainability, and yield performance.

In smart farming, sensors, GPS technology, drones, robots, and advanced software are used to collect extensive data on soil conditions, crop growth, weather conditions and other factors. This data is analysed in real time to make informed decisions about field management, resource use (such as irrigation and fertilization) and pest control.

The goal of smart farming is to optimise agricultural production, use resources such as water and fertilizers more efficiently, increase crop yields, reduce environmental impacts, and improve farm sustainability. It enables farmers to make accurate and data-driven decisions to farm more economically successful and environmentally friendly.

A 5G campus network in the context of smart farming refers to a state-of-the-art wireless communication system specifically tailored to the needs of agricultural operations. Using 5G technology, it enables ultra-fast, reliable, and low-latency data transmission in agricultural environments. This allows us to use a wide range of IoT devices and sensors on our plantations to collect and analyse data in real time. This information helps to precisely monitor and control agricultural processes, such as irrigation, fertilization, and harvesting, to use resources more efficiently and increase productivity while minimizing environmental impact. A 5G campus network in smart farming is a key element for the future of modern agriculture and contributes to sustainable food production.

Higher yields:
By accurately monitoring soil and crop conditions, farmers can make better decisions regarding irrigation, fertilization and crop management, resulting in higher crop yields.

Efficient use of resources:
Smart farming enables the targeted use of water, fertilizers, and other resources. This reduces consumption and costs while minimizing environmental impacts.

Cost reduction:
By automating and increasing the efficiency of agricultural processes, operating costs can be reduced. This helps to increase profitability.

Real-time monitoring:
Farmers can monitor their fields and operations in real time to detect and respond to problems such as pest infestations or disease outbreaks early.

Better decision making:
Analysing data enables informed decision-making and long-term planning. Farmers can draw on historical data to develop better cropping plans.

Environmental protection:
By reducing over-fertilization and over-irrigation, smart farming practices help reduce environmental impacts such as soil erosion and water pollution.

Labour savings:
Automating tasks such as weed control and harvest management can reduce physical workload and increase efficiency.

Risk management:
By identifying problems early and adjusting cropping plans, farmers can minimise the risk of crop failure.

Remote monitoring:
Remote monitoring and control allow farmers to manage their farms remotely, offering flexibility and efficiency.

Competitive advantage:
Farmers using smart farming technologies are better positioned to succeed in a competitive market and meet the increasing demands for sustainable agriculture.

Overall, smart farming enables more modern and efficient farming, offering both economic and environmental benefits.

Communication in real time

The 5G network enables lightning-fast and reliable communication between management, employees, machines, and sensors. This means real-time monitoring, efficient coordination, and seamless data exchange.

Remote monitoring and control 

Sensors and IoT devices transmit real-time data, including soil moisture, temperature, and humidity. We can control and optimise machinery remotely.

Precision agriculture

Our 5G campus network enables precise control of irrigation, fertilization and crop protection. Through real-time data, we maximise yields and save resources.

Data analytics and AI

Fast data transmission enables advanced data analytics and AI applications. Big Data analyses lead to pattern recognition, predictions, and process optimisation.

Improved security

With the 5G campus network, we are implementing effective surveillance and access control systems. Facilities, theft protection and employees are safe.

The implementation

To produce charcoal or bioethanol from available biomass resources (e.g., bamboo), some basic steps are required. Besides the procurement of the biomass, which must be cultivated, harvested, and prepared on the plantation, a pyrolysis plant is also required to produce charcoal and bioethanol.


Pyrolysis plants: Key to the sustainable production of vegetable carbon and bioethanol

A pyrolysis plant is a device used to convert biomass into various useful products, including vegetable charcoal and bioethanol. This process, known as pyrolysis, takes place in the absence of oxygen or at very low oxygen levels. Here is a brief explanation:

Pyrolysis plant

This is a technical device specially designed to bring biomass such as wood, plant residues or other organic materials into a hot environment without oxygen being supplied. The temperature and conditions in the facility are designed so that the biomass decomposes chemically without burning.

Vegetable carbon

During the pyrolysis process, part of the biomass is converted into plant carbon. Vegetable carbon is a stable carbon material that stores carbon in a form that is stable for a long time. It can be used in the soil to improve soil quality and sequester carbon in the soil.


Another part of the biomass is released in the form of gases and liquids. These gases can be collected and used to produce bioethanol. Biomethanol is a renewable fuel derived from biomass and serves as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels.

Pyrolysis is an important component of biomass conversion technology and contributes to the production of sustainable products such as vegetable charcoal and biomethanol, which help to sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.