viernes, enero 07, 2011

CSR and new technology for the developing world

A series of new technologies will give the world's poorest access to clean energy.

More than three billion people, or half the world's population, cook in their homes using traditional fire and stoves, burning biomass fuels like wood, dung and crop waste. This is clearly a CSR issue as it leads to families breathing in lethal fumes from these cooking fires. According to Envirofit, a manufacturer of clean energy cookstoves, Indoor Air Pollution (IAP) currently claims the lives of 1.5 million people a year worldwide, or one person every 20 seconds. Women and children make up 85% of these deaths due to their increased exposure in the home.

Envirofit cookstoves are the result of a CSR partnership between the Shell Foundation, Colorado State University's Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory, and the materials Science and Technology Division at Oak Ridge National Labs. The stoves took five years to develop. Since they were first launched to market in 2008, 100,000 have been sold across the developing world - primarily in India.

Compared to traditional cooking fires, these cookstoves reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80%, use up to 60% less fuel and reduce cooking cycle time by up to 50%.

In CSR terms, the creation of new technologies will hold the key to clean energy for the developing world.

Another scheme, which is currently in development, and due to be rolled out in field trials this year, is the Score Stove. This stove has multiple uses - cooking, refrigeration and electricity - and uses thermal waves to generate electricity from cooking.

The Score Stove is a joint CSR venture between experts from across the world to develop a biomass-powered generator. It aims to bring affordable energy to rural communities where access to power is very limited. The way it works means that the energy produced is 'clean' energy - reducing harm from pollution for people, as well as damage to the planet.

Tests have been carried out in Nepal and Kenya to investigate how the Score Stove works in practice. This has helped to hone the design and performance of the generator to ensure it is low-cost and high efficiency.

In order to make it viable, the target cost of the generator is £20 per household, based on the production of a million units. The generator will weigh between 10 and 20 kilogrammes, making it easily portable. The goal is to generate an hour's use per kilogramme of fuel - which could be wood, animal dung or any other locally available biomass.

The project's researchers want to produce a design that is cheap and robust with very little need for maintenance.

They believe that Score will meet the demand for power in rural areas in an affordable way, and with the benefit of it being 'clean' energy.

Fuente: Just Means

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