A new research area for ND Energy aims to create sustainable energy solutions for communities in Low to Middle Income Countries (LMICs) by using a unique approach to addressing the challenges of unavailable electricity.
The Energy and Sustainable Development + Design laboratory, directed by Abigail Mechtenberg, ND Energy’s International Sustainable Development Researcher, provides a place for undergraduate and graduate students to study, engage, and prepare for key research projects in LMIC areas.
Currently, these areas include Uganda, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Nepal, where student researchers are implementing E3 - Education, Engineering design, and Entrepreneurship. E3 essentially teaches local technicians and engineers how to prototype, design, build, install, maintain, and create a business venture for renewable energy devices, using local materials and resident technical expertise.
The devices currently being implemented fall into three categories and provide enough power to produce electricity needed for the project area.
- Mechanical to Electrical – cattle-go-round generator, merry-go-round generator, bicycle generator, hand-crank generator, hydroelectric generator, wind turbines
- Thermal to Electrical – concentrating solar power generator, thermal electric cookstove/solar, waste incinerator generator
- Chemical to Thermal to Electrical – retrofitted petrol generator (biogas) using anaerobic digester: methane; retrofitted petrol generator (biogas) using urine electrolysis: hydrogen; bio-diesel generator using Ugandan algae: oil
The success of E3 also depends on the participation and commitment of local partners and collaborators who support these project initiatives and share research discoveries through co-publications. Current collaborators in Uganda include: