Over 1 billion people do not have access to clean and affordable energy. This means that medical clinics are often dark at night when crucial medical work has to be done, cooking fuels create indoor air pollution (a larger killer than malaria and AIDS combined), children have difficulty studying after dark, and an incredible amount of time and money is spent collecting meager energy sources such as wood or kerosene.
To combat global energy poverty, Dr. Jatin Nathwani from the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy (WISE) and Dr. Joachim Knebel from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany set up Affordable Energy for Humanity, a global change initiative comprising over 50 energy access institutions from 30 countries around the world. Since AE4H’s inception in 2015, its members have been collaborating to innovate and test aspects of solutions to energy poverty.
The ‘Off-grid and Decentralized Hybrid Systems Techno-Economic Study’ (OHRES) project, led by KIT scientist Mohamed Mamdouh Elkadragy and supported by WISE, represents one large success story of this collaboration between KIT and WISE. In the summer of 2019, Mohamed gave three public talks and co-wrote one academic paper with UWaterloo professors. The collaboration did not end there – it grew into the development of tangible, on-the-ground solutions to energy poverty.
Through the OHRES project, two Off-grid Hybrid Renewable Electricity Systems (OHRES), with very common range of installed capacities and technical similarities were installed in two very contrasting locations – northern British Columbia, Canada, and Jinja, Uganda. These locations are ‘off-grid’, or far away from existing reliable energy infrastructure, similar to many places which are experiencing energy poverty.
The first OHRES System is already installed and running in a remote household in Canada, BC since August 2019. The second system installation process is ongoing at a remote school in Jinja, Uganda.