We are producing an ever increasing amount of waste, including a large amount of plastic waste that is going straight in our oceans. A recent study estimated plastic waste produced by 192 coastal countries in 2010 was around 275 million metric tons (MT), with 4.8 to 12.7 million MT of this waste entering the ocean. Can our oceans absorb all our CO2 as well as this much plastic? Recycling plays an important role, both in conserving our precious resources and reducing the amount of waste going to landfill.
Technology advancements tend to trickle down making life easier. Kenya has made leaps in enhancing their health service delivery to ensure their citizens benefit in the health sector. These advancements include a medley of several innovations, from developing apps, using cloud computing for data collection, to the promotion of smart phones.
At the bottom of our oceans and buried deep beneath permafrost surrounding the arctic circle is a vast store of methane – a natural gas produced by the anaerobic decomposition of millions of years of organic matter. Estimates vary but even conservative figures suggest there may be over a thousand gigatonnes of methane precariously stored as ice crystals under high pressure and low temperature.
Some 120 Km North-West of Nairobi, a group of Kenyan engineers work tirelessly to drill as many wells as possible at the Olkaria Geothermal Plant. Located right in the central part of Kenya; a region considered as one of the most exciting geothermal prospects in the world, it is the first geothermal power plant in Africa. The facility is in Hell's Gate National Park on the eastern edge of the Eastern Rift Valley. At this rate the engineers are drilling more than forty wells in a year. Each well has the capacity to produce 18MW of energy annually.
A debate that focuses only on fossil vs wind / solar oversimplifies the energy sector and discounts the drivers for why countries make energy decisions– namely available resources, energy security and existing capital investments. One result of this shortsighted view is that hydropower is often left out of the discussion. As our mission at Cleanleap is to share knowledge on clean technology in emerging economies so projects are deployed more effectively we think its important to focus on hydro.
The World Banks Lighting Global Program, Dalberg Advisors and GOGLA (Global Off Grid Lighting Association) have launched number four of its bi-annual publication – an in-depth analysis of the trends of the global off grid solar power market. The report examines an expanding market that is helping developing countries make a 'cleanleap' from fossil fuel based electricity to using renewable energy from the sun.
One of the most exciting ventures a country and its cities can undergo is that of modernizing and redeveloping its buildings. The progress made is almost always positive, and literally can give cities a new face. Major infrastructure projects in Vietnam are not so slowly transforming the city for the better, upgrading various aspects ranging from transportation to water treatment and infrastructure.
In Northern Upper East Ghana, a water conservation technology is enabling about 400 smallholder farmers from 10 communities to farm in dry seasons. As a result they are now getting at least two crop seasons annually as opposed to one, after implementing the PAVE irrigation Technology which harvests flood and rain water, and stores it in underground aquifers where it lasts for up to 180 days.
In Rwanda, a ‘Pico-hydro’ refers to a power system with a capacity less than 50kW. Their advantage over other power systems is their cost-effectiveness and simplicity, and come in different designs, planning and installation processes. It is an economical source of power that has proven useful in delivering clean energy to some of the world’s poorest and most remote places.
Whether they are consumed as grains or flour they are always products in high demand in Africa - these being cereals such maize, sorghum, millet and wheat. One of the issues with these widely consumed crops is when people want to grind them and consume them as flour, with most remote areas lacking access to electricity and therefore use expensive fossil fuel to run milling machines.
Better housing is one of the key indicators of the economic development, but most developing countries still have a challenge to secure clean homes for their habitants. Dirt floors are often responsible up to 80 percent of diseases. In most cases, parasites live in soil in form of feces and bacteria that can be contagious by either absorption or a simple contact. EarthEnable has introduced a solution to all those problems.
The Croton tree, which is commonly known as Mukinduri in Eastern and Central part of Kenya, is now a good known source of biofuels and that is being practiced. It grows in a challenging environment and unlike jatropha and palm, it won't bring food and fuel competition. It has no chemical additives and burns cleaner than traditional diesel fuel, with no sulfuric content. It can save our environment from carbon emissions and help in better land usage.
Many companies use traditional methods to measure the impact of solar power investments such as quoting the many dollars invested, number of people using their kits and areas covered by their product, which are inadequate tools for measuring social impact for solar power investments if we have to get it right. Traditional approaches of gathering data are not only expensive, take time to give results and complicated to use, but are also not helpful in terms of boosting solar power funding. The lean data approach proposed by Acumen could, not only bridge solar power funding gaps in developing worlds, but will also help companies to understand emerging markets.
Research undertaken by Greentech Media (GTM) predicts that over the next five years, the global solar market will demonstrate a cumulative average growth rate of around 8%, with emerging economies including India and Latin America leading the progress.