Technical briefs - energy

Energy access is a key element in lifting people out of poverty. In remote locations small-scale renewable energy technologies that can be used include micro-hydro, solar, wind and biogas.


Multiple battery types are looked at and the advantages and disadvantages our outlined for each one. Furthermore it talks about their life, cost, power and other general differences between each of them.


Different designs of small-scale biogas digesters and instructions on how to build them.

Biomass as a solid fuel

Biomass can be used as an energy source either in a solid form, as a biogas or as a liquid biofuel. The use of biomass as a solid fuel is considered here.


Briquettes are blocks of compressed biomass material such as cow dung, charcoal dust or waste paper. They are used for fuel in households for cooking.

Chimney stoves and smoke hoods

Both chimney stoves and smoke hoods can be effective ways of removing harmful smoke from the kitchen. The advantages and disadvantages of both systems are compared.

Energy For Rural Communities

Nearly a third of the world’s population do not have access to grid electricity and the majority of these people live in rural areas of developing countries.

Energy from the wind

The principles of wind power explained and the optimum places to harness it.

Grid Connection

In the majority of the worlds’ poorer countries it is estimated that significantly less than 5% of the rural population are connected to the national grid. There are many reasons, both technical and economic, which make grid connection unfeasible and these will be looked at.

Fireless cooker

Kerosene And Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG)

The advantages of kerosene and LPG compared with fuel wood and dung for cooking are described. Kerosene and LPG are many times more efficient, less damaging to the health and are much easier to use for cooking.

Micro-hydro power

Small scale micro-hydro schemes can be used to generate electricity to power workshops and provide lighting for a village community.

Rural lighting

The evaluation of different types of lights and their variation in intensity, energy sources and efficiency.

Solar photovoltaic energy

The solar photovoltaic system is explained and evidence is given to prove its worth. Some issues with it are also highlighted.

Solar (photovoltaic) water pumping

The advantages and disadvantages of different pumping techniques are describes, as well the application of solar pumps.

Solar thermal energy

The sun is the source of the vast majority of the energy we use on earth. Different types of use of solar energy are explained.

Solar water heating

Solar water heating systems are designed to make convenient use of the sun's impact on a water. Active and passive solar water heating systems are compared.

Stoves for institutional kitchens

Institutional stoves are used where larger amounts of food that can be accommodated on a standard kitchen stove can be cooked. The characteristics of a good institutional stove a explained.

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