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Energy – case studies

Case Studies – Click below to see the case studies

Global Renewable Energy Case Study India  

Global Renewable Energy Case Study China

Global Renewable Energy Case Study Peru

Global Renewable Energy Case Study India 
Use this case study as a prompt for research and class discussions.

 GLOBAL RENEWABLE ENERGY 

CASE STUDY 

Name of Place Uttar Pradesh, Northern India
Power Source Human
Type of Project Crop irrigation
India Uttar Pradesh

Pedal power in action

 


What is this place like?

Uttar Pradesh is the 4th largest state in India; it’s a bit bigger than England. With a population of about 170 million, it has more people than any other Indian state; in fact, if it were an independent country, it would have the 6th largest population in the world.

About 80% of the people live in villages, many in small houses with no electricity or running water. Uttar Pradesh has one of the highest rates of illiteracy (people being unable to read), and there is a particular problem of lack of schools for girls.

The climate is generally tropical monsoon and the soil is very fertile; Uttar Pradesh being mostly made up of flat land around the massive River Ganges, with lots of ponds, lakes and rivers.

The most important industry is agriculture, which employs about ¾ of the work force, and it is the most important Indian state for wheat, maize and barley, sugar cane and potatoes. They also grow rice, groundnuts, molasses and tobacco.

How are people changing this place?
The farmers were used to being able to grow only one crop a year, watered by the monsoon rains. This meant that they would have very little, if anything, to sell, and would often have to go to the cities to look for work in the “off-season”; their family life would be messed about, with children missing school.

Or they might irrigate (water) their land by hiring a diesel pump to pump the water out from under the ground. But they were expensive, and they couldn’t always get one when they needed one.

But now, farmers can grow crops all year round, thanks to an idea from a man called Amitabha Sadangi, who works for an Indian charity called IDEI.

How does this renewable energy source work?
His idea was a pump, but not a pump driven by an expensive engine using expensive (and polluting) diesel. The treadle pump uses human power; it is designed to be operated by the leg muscles. Yes, by walking!

The first step is to dig a borehole into the ground to find the water, and then insert a plastic tube with porous sides (that means the tube has little holes in it). A simple pump is attached to the top of the tube, and (the really clever bit) the pump is made to work by joining it to a sort of double see-saw: two long wooden poles that the farmer (or his or her child!) makes to move up and down by pressing them with their feet; by walking!

How much does it cost?  The treadle pumps cost less than £20 each, including the well (the hole with the plastic tube). And that is pretty much the whole cost. The technology is so simple; the pump is very cheap to look after … and there is no expensive diesel to buy.

Why does it matter?
1.   It costs less.
2.   With no diesel, it is much less polluting.
3.   The farmers can grow more crops; they and their families eat better, they have more to sell, and their incomes, on average, have more than doubled.
4.   They can stay on their land all year round, and their children can go to school regularly.
5.   Women farmers are more independent: “I save money ‘cos I used to hire the diesel pump for 80 rupees an hour. Now I can irrigate whenever I like ‘cos I can operate this myself. Now I’m independent.” (Sumen Maurya)
6.   With sales of over half a million pumps, this idea has changed hundreds of thousands of lives – for the better.
7.   Next time you eat rice, it may come from fields irrigated by farmers “walking on water”.

Want to know more?  View the film: A short film about IDEI’s treadle pumps in India can be viewed at:http://www.ashdenawards.org/schools/films

Global Renewable Energy Case Study China
Use this case study as a prompt for research and class discussions. 

 GLOBAL RENEWABLE ENERGY

 CASE STUDY

Name of Place Shaanxi Province, China
Power Source Bio-gas (methane) from pigs
Type of Project Used for cooking and lighting

China

 

Shaanxi Province

 Clean bio-gas toilets + waste from pigs = clean bio-gas (methane) for cooking

 

 

 
What is this place like?
This area of China has a lot of people and the sky (particularly in Xian, the capital of the province) is often covered with a grey haze of pollution and dust from all the wood and coal burning.  The area has a lot of farmers who are not particularly wealthy.  The hillsides were once forests but, over time, the area has been deforested (trees cut down) and the soil over-ploughed to provide fuel for cooking and heating homes and to make room for growing food crops for the expanding population.  This has left the soils on the hillside exposed and they have been washed away by the rains; causing major environmental damage, but things are starting to change…

How are people changing this place?
In 1997, the Chinese government introduced a re-forestation scheme, which meant farmers could only grow fruit trees on the slopes to protect the soils and tress that were left.  The scheme also paid them to plant new trees.  The Shaanxi Mothers Association for Environmental Protection realised that they needed to save the trees but also help the farming community have a better standard of living, reduce poverty and provide a long-term alternative fuel source to the wood.  They introduced the “4 in 1” bio-gas system from pig and human waste.

How does this renewable energy source work?
Many Shaanxi families keep pigs.  Waste from the pigs and human sewage waste is sluiced (washed) into a backyard bio-gas plant, buried underneath the pigsty, where it is mixed with water.  The dome-shaped container keeps the waste enclosed and it starts to rot down.  As there is no oxygen present, this ‘anaerobic digestion’ results in methane gas being given off.  This bio-gas is piped straight from the bio-gas plant back into the home and used to light lamps and to fuel a gas cooking stove. This is very important in homes, which have no mains electricity.

How much does it cost?
The farmers can afford to purchase their own units, with the help of the Shaanxi Mothers Association and it saves them time, effort and money as they no longer need to collect wood or pay for coal to cook and light their homes.  The Shaanxi Mothers group have introduced these bio-gas systems to over 1,300 rural homes.

Why does it matter?
1.   It prevents deforestation – the villagers no longer need to cut down trees for fuel.
2.   It saves time and effort – the families have time to spend on growing their crops, going to school or relaxing, rather than collecting and snapping twigs and leaves.  “Before we had bio-gas, I hardly had time to wash my hands, I was so busy gathering wood and feeding the fire” says Liu Hong
3.   It saves the families money – they are making fuel from their waste and they don’t need to buy coal for their stoves any more.
4.   The leftover manure and slurry is an excellent fertiliser for their fruit trees, helping to keep the soil fertile and plants growing.
5.   There is much less smoke in the kitchen, so the home is healthier and the waste is dealt with hygienically.
6.   There is less use of coal and burning of wood, so there is less smoke and dust.  “I used to weep with the smoke!  Now I can get supper cooked from start to finish in half an hour – I feel like a liberated woman” Yuan Congren.
7.   It is a clean, renewable technology and, as trees are no longer cut down and burnt, it cuts down on carbon dioxide emissions and reduces climate change gases.

Want to know more?  View the film: A short film about the Shaanxi Mothers bio-gas from manure project in China can be viewed at: http://www.ashdenawards.org/schools/films

Global Renewable Energy Case Study Peru 
Use this case study as a prompt for research and class discussions.   

 GLOBAL RENEWABLE ENERGY

 CASE STUDY

Name of Place Andes mountains, Peru
Power Source Water – small scale hydro electricity schemes (micro-hydro power)
Type of Project Electricity generation and income generation

Peru

 

Northern Andes Micro-hydro scheme

What is this place like?

High up in the Andes mountains, some of the villages were remote, quiet and had little access to electricity.  As soon as it went dark, life was quiet with very little entertainment or nightlife and any work had to be done by candlelight.  Few businesses could survive there; there was no mains power and there were few jobs.  People were moving away from the villages to find work, leaving them empty, desolate and in decline.  Moving away from the villages also has its problems in causing overcrowding in the cities and the development of slum areas.

How are people changing this place?

With the introduction of electricity, the villages have found new life.  Small businesses, entertainment, restaurants, bars, health clinics, jobs, schools and communities have all been revitalised with fewer people leaving. Opportunities have also arisen for training, employment and improving standards of living.

How does this renewable energy source work?

A charity, called “Practical Action”, has used their designs to enable local people to build their own micro-hydro systems.  They use the power of the many fast-flowing, high mountain rivers.  Inlet channels take some water from the river, sift out the sand, stones and silt and pass the water down a steep slope, in a pipe, to a purpose-built powerhouse.  Inside the powerhouse, a turbine converts the potential energy of the water flowing downhill into kinetic energy, turning the turbine.  The generator then converts this energy into electricity, which can be sent to the local houses, businesses and schools to power lights, computers, machinery, cookers, etc.  The flow of water can be adjusted to meet demand.

How much does it cost?

An enterprise business team is set up (funded by Practical Action).  They borrow the money for the initial start up and are trained in how to build, run and maintain the micro-hydro system.  They set the cost of the electricity to the users and link them up to the supply.  They use their money to repay the loan and use their training to maintain the system and have a long-term stable job.  One micro-hydro system is enough to power 80 families and Practical Action has set up 50 systems in Peru’s mountain regions.  The government have been impressed with the economic benefits and plan to double the number within 10 years.  Large users are often given a discount, to encourage them to start up new businesses in the area, to provide more jobs and bring more money and life into the community.

Why does it matter?

1.   Local people are trained, have a job and a way of making money.

2.   It encourages small businesses to set up in the area, bring more jobs and money, reducing poverty and improving standards of living.

3.   People are less likely to move away from the villages, keeping the communities alive.

4.   The previously isolated communities can communicate with the outside world.  “Electricity is the most important thing to happen here, we can communicate with the rest of the world” Edin Aguirre, DJ, Peru.

5.   The electricity can be used to power ‘fridges and keep life-saving vaccines cold.

6.   Labour intensive jobs can be done by machinery, improving standards of living and working conditions.

7.   Children can study, communicate and learn, using the Internet and powered machinery.

8.   The electricity is renewable and clean (it does not burn fossil fuels and contribute to climate change).

Want to know more?  View the film: A short film about Practical Action’s micro-hydro power plants in Peru can be viewed at: http://www.ashdenawards.org/schools/films