Friday Shoutouts 102408: An Architect of the Future and a Breakthrough Leader

Okay maybe this will be a regular feature after all. 🙂

Peter Haas, Executive Director, all spruced up and in Dirty Jobs mode
Peter Haas, Executive Director, all spruced up and in Dirty Jobs mode shoveling pig waste at a biodigester site in Guatemala

1. AIDG Executive Director, Peter Haas was named an Architect of the Future by the Waldzell Institute. The prestigious Austrian Institute honors young visionaries who work to realize a better world.

AIDG uses market mechanisms to get green technologies to people earning less than four US Dollars a day. AIDG combines product design, small enterprise incubation, and traditional outreach projects as a means to train the next generation of infrastructure service providers for poor communities.

AIDG provides their enterprises with $10,000-$100,000 in loans, training in technical and business skills, and access to engineering talent from top international universities. We also contract these SMEs to do a few traditional aid outreach projects as training and help them build a clientele among local villages and foreign NGOs.

A pilot enterprise, XelaTeco, in Guatemala is on track to earn $250,000 off a $55,000 loan from AIDG, installing hydroelectric, solar, biodiesel and stove systems in rural communities. To date XelaTeco has electrified four Guatemalan communities and provided renewable energy to a few thousand individuals. Currently, AIDG is in the process of securing funding partners to incubate 10 other enterprises like XelaTeco in Guatemala and Haiti over the next few years.

An interesting fact, you may not know about Pete:

Before founding AIDG, he worked both in the information technology field as a consultant in network topology and wireless and on a sustainable organic farm doing infrastructure improvement work.

Amy Smith and Shawn Frayne in Cap Haitien doing a sugarcane charcoal training in 2006
Amy Smith and Shawn Frayne in Cap Haitien doing a sugarcane charcoal training in 2006. More pics from that training session.

2. Appropriate design innovator Amy B. Smith (member of our advisory board) just won Popular Mechanics’ Leadership Award for 2008. One of her former students, Shawn Frayne won a Breakthrough Award from them last year.

http://www.brightcove.tv/playerswf
Duration: 8 min 10 sec

See Amy’s award acceptance speech [Popular Mechanics]
Video: Prof. Amy Smith on recent D-lab trip to Peru

Related posts:
Friday Shoutouts 10102008: SOIL/Rosemond Jolissaint and Heather Fleming
Video: Prof. Amy Smith on recent D-lab trip to Peru
What’s it like to live on $2 a day? [Class Assignment]
Audio: Peter Haas, AIDG’s ED interviewed on The New Entrepreneurs
The Reasoning Behind AIDG

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Staff Highlights: Steve Lee moves from uber-intern to our logistics maven

We’re very proud to announce that our uber-intern Stephen Lee has joined the AIDG team as our Project and Operations Manager. Steve began working with us in Guatemala as part of his Master’s work in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University.


Duration: 1 min 4 sec

Here, Steve talks about his intern project and his work setting up our network and IT infrastructure in our Boston, Guatemala and Haiti offices.

More recently, Steve has completely revolutionized our ability to collaborate with external design partners/clients. He created a real-time communication framework for relaying field data collection in Guatemala to a client in Hong Kong [Humdinger Wind Energy]. He slashed our labor burden on that data collection saving us at minimum 500 man-hours over the course of this year and more realistically a few thousand man-hours. He is one of the big reasons why we can do so much with so little cash.

Yeah, he walks on water.

Steve Lee His more official bio:
Stephen obtained a Masters Degree in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University in 2008. His masters project was a study of collaborative and participatory relationships in the design, dissemination, and evaluation of appropriate technologies in rural communities. Stephen has worked extensively in the nonprofit and NGO sector, most recently as a project lead for TechSoup, helping to build a global platform for technology donations. Since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, he has also served as a volunteer for Forum Bangun Aceh, an Indonesian community-based organization helping affected communities through microenterprise and education projects. Stephen has a B.S. in Computer Science from Northwestern University.

Morning Link Drop 102208

Links I want to share, but don’t have time to write full blog posts on. So much work, so little time.

Link of the Day 102108: Sexy Stoves from Siemens [Appropriate Technology]

PROTOS plant oil stove

The home appliances division of Bosch and Siemens [BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH] have developed a very interesting plant oil stove that they call PROTOS.

In their second generation prototype, they have managed to increase efficiency as well as reduce noise, cleaning time and the cost of production compared to the initial version developed by researchers at the University of Hohenheim. The protos team is now prepping for large-scale production.

Duration: 7 min 9 sec

Job creation and the Protos

The protos technology was designed not only to provide people living in poor households with an alternative to wood, fire or charcoal as a cooking fuel, but also so that local job creation was part of the entire value chain. This applies to plant oil as well as the stove itself. As BSH introduces the second-generation protos cooker, we also remain committed to local production. To this end, the protos team is currently taking steps to establish local manufacturing capacity with a partner in Indonesia.

Everything but the burner, which requires some sophisticated tech, can be produced locally.

Early tests with 100 Filipino families (late 2004-2006) have attested to the commercial viability of the stove. In April 2006, the German company introduced protos to a broader swath of the public on the Leyte and Samar Islands in the Philippines. 500+ people have purchased the stove and “the local manufacturer now has the capacity to deliver up to 1500 units per year to the original local islands”. When Pete was recently in Austria, he met the head of Siemens Home Appliances division. They are working very hard to find partners and expand the availability of the stove to other developing countries.

Protos Base Specs

PROTOS plant oil stove

Power Range: 2-2.5 kW
Efficiency: 45-55% (similar to an LPG stove)
Fuel Type: plant and vegetable oils (e.g. jatropha, cocnut, cotton seed, castor, used oils, etc.)
Emissions: approx. ten times lower than a high quality kerosene stove
CO2 balance: neutral

From Treehugger:

Similar to a camping stove, Protos consists of a tank, a pump, a frame, a valve, a fuel line, and a burner. But all the materials are designed to meet the high temperatures the burner maintains—up to 1,400 °C—to ensure continuous vaporization and combustion with minimal emissions and soot formation. With Protos, the company hopes to replace traditional three-stone fireplaces, reduce carcinogenic emissions, prevent deforestation, and provide a cheaper means of preparing food in developing countries.

Related Articles
PLANT OIL AS COOKING FUEL: Development of a household cooking stove for tropical and subtropical countries [University of Hohenheim]

Several other stove designs by other businesses or non-profits

AIDG’s Rocket Box

AIDG's Rocket Box, designed by Beau Baldock

Rough Guide on How to Build a Rocket Box Stove
Tech Tuesday: AIDG’s Rocket Box Stove

ONIL Stove from HELPS International


Duration: 15 min 52 sec

Envirofit [with funding from the Shell Foundation]

Envirofit Stove

High Efficiency Cook Stove for Darfur

High Efficiency Cook Stove for Darfur

“In Darfur, some 2.2 million refugees cook their meals over inefficient wood fires in camps, with plenty of risks to refuel off-site. There’s nothing high-tech about this stove, but it slashes the time refugees need to spend in heightened danger.

View video if designer Ashok Gadgil describing his inspiration for making the Darfur stove.

This is obviously just a tiny handful of existing stove projects. If we missed any of your faves, toss them into the comments section.

Related Posts:
Making XelaTeco’s stoves affordable to rural communities: creative financing or doing it old school?
Estufas Mejoradas (Improved Stoves) in San Alfonso
Health effects of indoor air pollution in Guatemala
How to make a soda can stove [Video]