Improving Access to Energy and Water through Frugal Innovation

Start date
End date
Online Event

The TU Delft PowerWeb Institute organizes online scientific events for staff and students from the TU Delft and beyond.  Just like they did with the monthly lunch lectures over the last few years, they organise webinars around the topics of Intelligent, integrated energy systems. You are very welcome to join the next lecture by ICFI's Energy-Water domain developer Dr. Ralph Lindeboom.

Quote Ralph Lindeboom Frugal Innovation


Improving Access to Energy and Water through Frugal Innovation
By Dr Ralph Lindeboom - TU Delft Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences
Moderator: Professor Peter Palensky

The login link will be sent after registration via this form shortly before the event.

The water and energy domain
Without robust water and energy supply the disconnection from Earth would make manned Space missions impossible. As such many interesting off-grid circular concepts in both domains have been developed over the past decades and they are often also closely connected to food production. Resource- constraint communities in many African, Latin American and Asian countries are unfortunately, despite being on Earth, equally disconnected from water, sanitation and energy.  For this reason the UN dedicated SDG 6 and 7 to the water and energy domain.

Frugal Space Solutions
Off-grid technological concepts designed for Space missions should become a source of inspiration to develop frugal technologies that can provide basic resources like water and energy for the Base of the Pyramid. Like in Space, solar energy is an abundant energy source, but it’s availability is dependent on the cyclic nature of planetary motion. Due to our metabolic requirements,  human, food and agricultural residues can be considered a continuously available resource.  Anaerobic digestion technology is often employed for water treatment and biogas production from these streams, but due to the small scale its potential to contribute to SDG7 remains small.  

Biogas Solid Oxide Fuel Cells offer a scalable small scale alternative that could form the interface between waste and the renewable power sources like PV, wind and battery. In many settings, solar thermal energy is a forgotten resource, that requires limited resources and could be used to improve the energetic performance of these systems for the Base of the Pyramid.



At TU Delft, Dr Ralph Lindeboom holds a tenure-track position in the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences. In collaboration with TU Delft | Global Initiative, LDE International Centre for Frugal Innovation (ICFI) and the Micro Ecological Life Support System Alternative (MELiSSA) consortium of the European Space Agency he uses water, energy and food constraints experienced in Manned Life Support a source of inspiration to address the sustainable development goals (SDG2, 6 and 7) in his research line Cyclic LOcal Sanitary engineering Solutions in Urban and Rural Environment (CLOSeSURE).

Through a frugal innovation mindset, amongst others “time-proven” anaerobic digestion technology is integrated with advances from the  4th Industrial Revolution like Solid Oxide Fuel cells, advances in Concentrated Solar Power, Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence to develop a new generation of off-grid sanitary engineering solutions suitable for resource affluent and resource constraint communities.

Read more about ICFI's Energy-Water Domain