The University of California, Davis Program for International Energy Technologies in collaboration with the Energy Efficiency Center (EEC), Center for Entrepreneurship (C4E), and the Energy Institute (EI) with funding from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) has developed a two-part series of courses (D-Lab I and D-Lab II) to educate and engage UC Davis students in finding tangible solutions to energy issues in developing countries.
Founded in 2008, The UC Davis D-Lab works with international partners to find scalable, sustainable solutions for specific energy issues in their host communities. Faculty and graduate students from Engineering, International Agriculture Development, Community Development, Business, and Economics work together in teams in the lab and in the field. Using a bottom-up approach, D-Lab works with local communities to understand specific energy needs and assess the sustainability of proposed energy solutions through technical, social, environmental, and financial lenses.
In this process the community partner is the client and guides the D-Lab team in all phases including:
• Community Engagement (Community Mapping, Stakeholder’s Analysis)
• Feasibility Studies (Technology, Market, and Impact Assessment)
• Technology Development and Testing
• Local Capacity Building and Training
• Pilot Projects
D-Lab focuses on innovative technologies and business models that can allow people at the “bottom of the pyramid” to save or earn more money. D-Lab is building expertise in water pumping and irrigation, post harvest drying and storage, off-grid lighting and micro power, and small-scale renewable energy such as solar and biogas.