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.


D-Lab: The Labs

The UC Davis Program for International Energy Technologies offers five lab modules as an integrated feature of the curriculum. These lab modules include hands-on, practical experience in a laboratory setting, learning about renewable based energy. Lab modules include creating charcoal from agricultural waste, constructing a battery from inexpensive locally available components, understanding both the qualitative and quantitative aspects of lighting including exploring benefits and limitations of solar PV.


D-Lab: The Curriculum

D-Lab I: Energy, Agriculture, and Development

Winter Quarter 2016
Days: T/R Time: 10:00 am to 11:50 am
Location: UC Davis West Village, 1605 Tilia St.
To Register: Course# TTP 289A-001 / CRN# 44434 (units: 3)

An overview course focused on energy issues in developing economies that emphasizes critical thinking. Curriculum includes four hands-on energy labs, a business development clinic, case studies, and guest speakers. Multi-disciplinary teams, work with local partners to perform feasibility studies for proposed energy solutions. No prerequisites or prior engineering experience required. 


D-Lab II- Energy, Agriculture, and Health and International Development: Design, Build, and Test

Spring Quarter 2016
Days: Tues/Thur Time: 10:00am – 11:50am
Location: UC Davis West Village, 1605 Tilia St.
To Register: TTP #289A-007 / CRN #TBA  (units:3)

D-Lab II, Designing for the Market, is a studio-style class focusing on design approaches to overcome the barriers for the dissemination of energy technologies appropriate for the developing world. Student teams work with local partners and mentors, to design, prototype, and test scalable solutions for real world energy problems for their client communities. Collaboration with UCD faculty mentors, private sector experts, non-governmental organizations, and partner communities will serve to provide student teams with context and direction.

Practical labs(lab modules), case studies, and guest speakers will focus on user-centered and market-based design approaches. Students will form design focus groups to design, prototype, and test scalable solutions for their clients. Deliverables include a working prototype, 2 design reviews, and design notebook as a deliverable. D-lab II is the second of a 2-part series

D-Lab Summer Practicum

Summer Session

Fieldwork and internships either on campus or abroad to support or extend work from D-Lab I or D-Lab II. These 2-8 week experiences are usually supported in part by D-Lab or other programs on campus such as the Blum Center in addition to a student contribution.