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.
Improving Access to Energy and Water through Frugal Innovation
Watch the recording of the lecture Improving Access to Energy and Water through Frugal Innovation by Dr Ralph Lindeboom - TU Delft Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences and Energy-Water Domain Developer at ICFI. His aim is to develop a new generation of off-grid sanitary engineering solutions suitable for resource affluent and resource constraint communities. This web lecture was organized by the TU Delft PowerWeb Institute, who organises webinars around the topics of Intelligent, integrated energy systems. The moderator of this session was Professor Peter Palensky.