Solar PV is a great low-carbon solution to provide power. The biggest drawback is the inability to have power when the sun is not shining. Advances in energy storage is helping that, but there still needs to be effective communication between the two systems to make it work as efficiently as possible.
ABB’s Ability platform aims to optimize the communication among the generating Solar PV, the energy storage system, and distribution system. The platform allows communities, which typically cannot rely on Solar PV, access to electricity produced from Solar Panels. The system is built to withstand extreme environments and requires no operational know-how and little maintenance.
Solar PV is often implemented in places where fossil fuels (kerosene, propane) have a history of providing cheap, reliable energy. Ensuring the selection of sites where Solar PV makes more economic sense than fossil fuels is key to have success. Additionally, there has to be a need in these areas for electricity.
On “Just When you Thought it Couldn’t Get Better… HomeBioGas 2.0”
Interesting idea. Seems like the big drawback is the 20 degree-C limit. How many people on Earth live in a climate where it doesn’t get below 20 degree-C for an extended period of time (night time)? I’m guessing that would cut out every where outside the tropics and most of the tropic region, too.
Sustainability Technology: Yirego Corporation has developed a quick way to do laundry without using electricity. With a holding capacity of up to 2kg (4.4 pounds), the Drumi, can do a load of lightly soiled clothes within about 5 minutes. Pedal operated, the Drumi can handle 5L of water for each load.
Sustainability Issue: An estimated 1.2 billion people or 16% of the global population do not have access to electricity and most of them live in rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa and developing Asia meaning without a significant change in infrastructure, they are unlikely to get grid access any time soon. Doing laundry in the developing world is very time consuming and takes a lot of physical energy as well. The laundress (or launder) has to find a water source, soak then scrub the clothes, wring them dry, and carry the clothes back to be dried out in the sun. On top of all this, the harsh scrubbing process can compromise the structural integrity of the clothes being washed. The Drumi drastically cut down on the time and physical activity. The water can be collected separately, which is probably already a daily task, and the cleaning can be done at home. With just a 5 minute cycle, approximately 5-6 loads (including hanging) can be done in one hour. Admittedly, the Drumi, at $140 is probably too expensive for some households, and financing would most likely be necessary, but a cost benefit analysis would likely show that it is a useful investment.
Families with limited or No Access to the Grid
Launders/Laundresses in Developing countries
Mobile Home Residents
Urban Residents without Washer/Dryer
Research a community in sub-Saharan Africa with a need for a better laundry system.
Find funding through a development grant using the research as a basis for need.
Establish a public/private partnership with Yirego
Work with local community and establish a working partner in region who can train, maintain, and distribute Drumi systems to families in the region.
Offer a financing package through the grant and private partnership
If successful, create the same model with other developing communities.
Permeable dams used as coastal defenders. This is a cost-effective progressive and natural way to strengthen coastal resilience. This technology has been successfully implemented in countries like Indonesia.
Over the past 50 years, mangrove forests and the wetland ecosystems have been disappearing, thus making the coast more vulnerable to disasters. Most governments look at engineering solutions like dykes and seawalls, which are expensive, or they look at mangrove restoration, which is difficult and time-intensive.
The dams are built on site using local material like bamboo and branches, and have permeable, artificial “roots”. These roots dissipate the strong wave energy and reduce the impact of disasters. This also helps young mangrove forests grow and expand. Implementing this technology successfully requires the right education and design, government support, local community support and small monetary investment. This process has been successfully implemented in Java, Indonesia, where it has also supported community development by protecting both the land/coast and the shrimp farms. Similar biomimicry initiatives have been implemented in the Netherlands, India and the United States.