Earlier this week, UN Special Rapporteurs visiting Detroit labeled the city’s nearly 27,000 residential water shutoffs as contrary to basic human rights and disproportionately onerous on the city’s poorest and most vulnerable populations. The Rapporteurs drew these conclusions after a weekend of meetings with city officials and residents.
Many remote communities struggle with reliable access to energy and water. One-size-fits-all systems configured from developed world technologies are often not effective as each location has their own resources, environmental characteristics, water demands, and energy needs. Manually designing custom systems to meet the needs of an individual location can assure good system performance, but this approach is expensive and requires expertise often beyond what is available in these remote communities.
Electricity for rainforest villages in Gabon. Tent fabric that harvests solar energy for nomadic people in Kazakhstan. A modular greenhouse and fish farm in an unused industrial building in Highland Park, Michigan.
These are some of the goals and possibilities a team of 17 researchers will pursue with a new $3 million Third Century Initiative Global Challenges grant from the University of Michigan.