ABB Ability for Smart Solar Solutions

The Problem

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.

The Solution

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.

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Counter

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.

Stakeholders

  • Remote Communities
  • Developing Countries
  • ABB

Implementation

  1. Identify locations where this is a good solution.
  2. Find financing.
  3. Install system.
  4. Setup billing procedure.
  5. Monitor and maintain.

Links

ABBs website

Forbes – Enthusiasm for Solar Micro Grids in Developing World Gets a Sobering Reality Check

Comment

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.

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Dirty Clothes and No Grid Access? No Problem!

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.

Sustainability Stakeholders: 

  • Families with limited or No Access to the Grid
  • Launders/Laundresses in Developing countries
  • Developmental Organizations
  • Rural Communities
  • Avid Campers
  • Mobile Home Residents
  • Urban Residents without Washer/Dryer

Implementation Steps:

  • 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.

Sources:
http://laundry.reviewed.com/features/drumi-tiny-washing-machine-needs-no-electricity
http://www.yirego.com/drumi
http://opensourceecology.org/w/images/d/dd/Laundry.pdf

Comment on Other Blog Post:
https://makeasmartcity.com/2017/10/12/all-electric-mining-truck-produces-more-energy-than-it-consumes-via-regenerative-breaking/comment-page-1/#comment-1190

Solar tents to preserve fish in Malawi

1) Energy

Problem: In Malawi, drying fish is currently achieved by chopping down trees and burning the logs, which simultaneously removes a carbon sink and produces additional carbon emissions. 

2)  The technology: solar tents: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/06/tech-solar-tent-boosts-malawis-dried-fish-industry-160609125320780.html

– A new “solar tent” allows fisherman to dry their fish only using only solar energy.

– A polyethylene sheet is hung over a wooden frame shaped so as to maximize the captured solar heat and ensure optimal airflow.

– The tent is more sanitary than the wood-burning open-air drying, which exposes the fish to dust, pests and contaminants. Fishermen thus lose fewer fish to spoilage.

– Farmers get a higher price for cleaner, higher quality dried fish and don’t need to cut down as many trees (just enough for the wooden frame, which can be used for years).

– Sustainability is paired with economic development.

3)   Stakeholders

– Local and international development NGOs

Fish buyers

–  Local councils in fishing communities

 Fishermen

4)   The first 3 steps in deploying this technology

  1. Perform research to compare economic and environmental impacts of an average wood-burning fishery compared to a solar tent fishery based on the pilot project.
  2. Identify fishermen using wood-burning strategies and gauge interest in solar tents.
  3. Solicit funding from local and international NGOs to provide credit and/or grants to build tents for interested fishermen.

Permeable dams

building-permeable-dams-2-nanang-sujana

Technology:

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.

Article: http://discovermagazine.com/2016/may/11-outsmarting-climate-change  and http://www.ipsnews.net/2015/12/permeable-dams-prevent-land-loss-and-save-mangroves-in-suriname/

Sustainability challenge:

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.

Stakeholders:

  • Coastal residents and business owners
  • Governments implementing cost effective coastal resilience measures
  • International NGO’s like Wetland International
  • Local coastal communities
  • Coastal ecosystems

Process of implementation:

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.

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