A research consortium led by Dundee University has been awarded a £2m grant to explore means of generating and supplying power to rural areas in developing countries that do not have access to centralised electricity networks.
More than one billion people in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity and the problem is likely to continue in the future as the population of these regions grows.
Dr Subhes Bhattacharyya, of the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy at Dundee University, who will lead the project, said: ‘There has been some examination in the past of the kinds of technology that could be used to help provide electricity supply in areas like this, whether it be solar energy or bio-energy and so on.
‘However, what needs to be looked at in much greater detail are the socio-economic acceptability of the solutions and commercial viability of the options; all of which are vital to understanding how we can provide a sustainable electricity supply.’
The five-year inter-disciplinary project brings together researchers from Dundee, Manchester University, UCL (University College London), and two Indian organisations, the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and TERI University. They will concentrate on finding innovative and alternative methods of decentralised off-grid electricity generation and on developing business models for off-grid electricity supply.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (ESPRC) and the Department for International Development (DfID) awarded the research grant to the consortium as part of their objectives to promote links between the UK and universities in developing countries.