|GATE - 1/82 - Appropriate Technology - by whom? for whom? and how? (GTZ GATE, 1982, 36 p.)|
Some Examples of International AT and RE Projects
The United Nations Conference on New and Renewable Sources of Energy which took place in Nairobi from 10 to 21 August 1981, adopted a Programme of Action which cited the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as the principal financing and programming agent in the implementation of the action plan. During 1981, UNDP was helping to underwrite some 386 energy projects at a cost of over $ 127 million. Some examples of UNDP's activities in the field of Renewable Energy (RE), including Appropriate Technology (AT), are given below.
To coordinate the follow-up of the Nairobi Conference, UNDP established an Energy Policy Group. It also issued an action plan to advise field offices on UNDP's role in the implementation of the conference's Programme of Action, including priority action in such areas as energy planning, research, technology transfer, and training.
Wind Power Stations in China...
Wind resources in China are quite abundant in many remote areas where transportation and communication facilities are not yet developed, and there are neither power systems nor sources of conventional energy. In order to provide electricity to these areas, wind energy is a promising solution.
A two-year UNDP-assisted project is aimed at developing wind energy to meet the electric power needs in Zhejiang Province, near Shanghai. The project involves the design and installation of a small but technically advanced wind power station which will be comprised of two types of vertical axis wind machines.
These machines will be used to: Obtain practical experience about the operation and characteristics of vertical axis wind machines (China currently manufacturers horizontal axis wind turbines); undertake research and development in the integration of theses machines into an electrical power system; and provide a modest supply of electrical energy for local needs.
...and in Colombia
In collaboration with the Colombian Government and the Netherlands, UNDP has funded the Las Gaviotas Research Centre in the rural plains of Colombia. A tropical windmill is among the many devices which the Centre has successfully developed. The windmill, known as MV2E, was a product of the Appropriate Technology Department at Las Gaviotas, which is developing and manufacturing a number of renewable sources of energy. The MV2E was produced following experiment with 56 different models during seven years.
The main problems to be overcome in the design of windmills for tropical areas are the lack of sufficient wind during long periods and a short spell of heavy tropical storms. The MV2E proved itself better equipped than the traditional windmill to deal with the above and other problems in the following ways: It weighs ten times less; its price is substantially lower; it requires three times less wind; it does not require a brake to bring it to a halt during heavy tropical storms; and its installation is quite simple. Operating on less wind, the MV2E is also, unlike the traditional model, able to supply water for domestic as well as irrigation uses throughout the year.
Charcoal Development in Ghana
Charcoal is a popular renewable energy source in Ghana. Some 90 per cent of the urban population use charcoal for at least part of their domestic needs due to a variety of advantages it offers over wood: It is easier to transport, store and distribute, it is more efficient in burning, it is smokeless and less polluting. The demand for charcoal is expected to increase steadily in the near future, at the rate of about five per cent annually.
The increased demand for charcoal in Ghana has had both economic
and ecological consequences. Retail prices for charcoal have risen steeply -
jumping 150 per cent from 1974 to 1977, for example (basic wages rose only 15
per cent during the same period). Depletion of forest resources has also
resulted, due to the widespread use of inefficient traditional methods of
charcoal production, which consume about 8.6 tonnes of dry wood per tonne of
charcoal, as opposed to the 3.3 tonnes of wood needed to produce a tonne of
charcoal through modern industrial processes.
Charcoal development has therefore become an important component of a UNDP-assisted forest management project in Ghana begun in 1974. With the twin objectives of wise management of forest resources and the development of more efficient charcoal production methods, this project has carried out activities aimed at converting previously wasted wood to charcoal, training Ghanaians in improved production methods, expanding the use of locally manufactured, improved kilns, and promoting the domestic and international marketing of charcoal.
As a result of this project, charcoal production (of 33 kg bags) has risen steadily and more than doubled in a single year from a total of 849 bags produced in January 1979, to 1,793 bags in January 1980. Most importantly, this has been done without the destruction of the forest resource.
Pilot Project in Lesotho: Solar Energy and Biogas
Lesotho, a land-locked country surrounded entirely by South Africa, experiences growing difficulty in securing energy for industry, transportation, public utilities and domestic needs. Almost all the fuel required for the modern sector of the economy electricity, liquid fuels, coal, and gascomes from abroad. For the majority of the 1.3 million people, 95 per cent of whom live in rural areas, shrubs and animal manure are practically the only fuels available.
To alleviate this situation, the Government requested UNDP assistance for a pilot project aimed at developing the country's renewable sources of energy: Solar energy and methane gas, which can be generated by the anaerobic digestion of animal, human and agricultural wastes.
Solar radiation is quite good throughout Lesotho, the lowest figure for sunshine hours being 7.7 (for June), and the highest 10 (for December). Animal wastes are plentiful as well, as the keeping of livestock is a principal occupation, and there are approximately three farm animals for each of the country's inhabitants.
The project is assisting the National University in creating, within its Faculty of Science, a solar energy and biogas resource centre, to serve Government departments, private enterprises and individuals wishing to manufacture or utilize theses types of renewable energy.
Wind, Sun and Water Power: On Mongolian "suures"
Natural pastures account for 80 per cent of Mongolia's land area and form the basis for the active animal husbandry farms which support 42.5 per cent of the country's 1.5 million people. A large majority of this rural population lives in remote "suures" the country's basic animal husbandry production unit, usually comprised of a few extended families. Traditionally, the "suures" have had little or no access to modern technology and have been predominantly nomadic.
Concerned over both the lack of essential services available to the country's rural population and the deterioration of the country's grassland, which has resulted from nomadic husbandry practices, the Government of Mongolia requested UNDP assistance for a project aimed at improving rural living conditions. This was to be accomplished through the development of natural energy sources such as wind, sun and water, in conjunction with efforts to upgrade livestock and agricultural production techniques.
This two-and-a-half-year project, which got underway in 1980, is being implemented by the United Nations Department of Technical Cooperation for Development (UNDTCD) in association with FAO, and with consultancy services from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
The project is working with two demonstration "suures" in different climatic zones - one in the northern grasslands, the other in the dry southern region. During the project the "suures" are to remain stationary, in order that herdsmen may be taught improved pasture care, fodder crop production and animal management techniques.
A key facet of the project is to provide energy for heating and cooking in these stationary camps through renewable energy sources. As a result of the project, the Government will be able to better assess the feasibility of using these energy sources on a more extended basis in rural areas.
Evaluation Study No. 5
In 1981, UNDP released a major study entitled "New and Renewable Sources of Energy" which could serve as a handbook for developing countries in their efforts to exploit these energy resources. It was conducted in over 100 developing countries.
UNDP's "Evaluation Study No. 5: New and Renewable Sources of Energy" has been published by UNDP Division of Information, 1 U. N. Plaza, New York, N.Y.10017, USA. It is also available from: UNDP/Information, Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland.