Technology in the Developing World: Revolutions for Monitoring Success

hello everyone and welcome to our weekly seminar series sponsored by the Institute for sustainable solutions tonight title for the presentation is providing sustainability the International Development monitoring initiative and the speaker is dr. Evan Thomas from the College of Engineering before I introduce dr. Thomas I would like to make a couple of announcements will have a half an hour for Q&A sessions so if you have any questions please come up to the mic as we are going to stream the presentation there will be also a reception following the lecture so please stay and continue the discussion over some light refreshments the students can come and see me after the talks and I can hand out the weekly reviews and we can talk more if you have any questions about the course dr. Evan Evan Thomas is an assistant professor and the director of sweet lab in the college of engineering here at Portland State University he is also a faculty fellow with the Institute for sustainable solutions his research and teaching interests include developing sustainable life support systems for spacecraft and the developing world evan is also social enterprise executive as the founding executive vice president of the many energy limited menna energy is the first organization in the world to secure United Nations carbon credits for the treatment of drinking water prior to joining PSU he worked as a civil servant with a NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston Texas for six years at NASA Evan was a principal investigator and project manager in the life support and habitability systems branch working on concepts for sustainable Moon and Mars spacecraft he holds a PhD in aerospace engineering Sciences from the University of Colorado Boulder and he is a registered PE in the environmental engineering in the state of Texas please join me in welcoming dr. Thomas thank you also I’m going to be talking today about what we do in the sweet lab the sweet lab is the sustainable water energy and environmental technologies lab in the College of Engineering we are tech geeks where engineers but we focus on a lot of the softer side of international development through some of our hardware so we do things like water energy technologies sanitation systems for developing countries we also still maintain a connection with NASA through some of our water microgravity fluid management systems and some other technologies but our real interest is through improving models for an international development and that’s what we’re talking about today sprays I already mentioned my background so I’ll just talk through a little bit of that I came to international development efforts a little bit backwards I wanted to be an astronaut and so I spent a lot of years following the right path to become an astronaut I worked at NASA for six years doing life support systems we were concerned with microgravity fluid management water recycling fire suppression and detection and space habitation systems and different technologies they’re necessary to keep people alive and healthy in the spacecraft environment for a long period of time where you have a little resupply infrequent resupply as well trained as astronauts are there still only have surface level training in any given system especially some of the more the life-support systems where they just have to turn a few knobs and make sure they get clean water and don’t necessarily have the training necessary to tear apart their water recycler so these things have to work for a long period of time with little maintenance little resupply and limited training this is how we test our systems there’s only a few ways to to test systems without going into space so what are they how well first of all what’s different about space when you’re dealing with fluids you float why so what about gravity so what is it that when the astronauts are in space and they’re floating around what’s happening to them what are they doing there’s a lack of gravity it anybody have another

guess so what’s happening here we’re on what’s called the vomit comment it’s the c9 aircraft and it’s flying we’re called parabolas it’s flying straight up in the air it comes over the top and then fly straight down and then at the bottom it pulls out and so we were weightless like as you see in the pictures and the video here for about 30 seconds at a time and then when we pull out we wait 2 g’s so we weigh twice as much as we normally do and in those 30 seconds we are weightless and we’re able to test our experiment so what’s happening on this airplane right now and is it the same or different as what happens on the space station or when the astronauts go to the moon anybody have a guess anybody a physics major is it the same as what’s happening on the space station come on I show this video to elementary school students they’re willing to guess not the same it is the same but good guess it is the same so what’s happening on the space station is that the astronauts aren’t free fall they’re literally falling towards the earth just as fast as the airplane is falling towards the earth but the earth is moving away from them at the exact same rate so every 100 feet they fall down they actually move forward and the earth curves away from them another 100 feet so if the earth was flat that nobody no such thing as weightlessness in space I me and the airplanes doing the same thing the only problem is we’re not going fast enough to be in orbit so we’d hit the ground if the airplane doesn’t pull back out again here’s another question for you and I asked this question of the pilots one time when we were flying so we’re weightless for 30 seconds at the top of the parabola then we pull out and we way to geez we weigh twice as much as normally do so what would happen if the pilots pushed it into 40 50 60 seconds of zero-g and then they were to pull out what would happen would we feel three times as much as we normally do or would we just feel 2 g’s for 3 for twice as long what do you think would happen anybody have a guess 2 g’s for twice as long so I asked this question of the pilots and the answer was the wings will shear off and the reason is that they go we’re going so fast when we come over the top we’re nearly supersonic over the wings and if the air goes supersonic over the wings of a subsonic aircraft it goes unstable and the wings which ear off so the answer is we just can’t do it so while is at NASA we founded a company called mana Energy Limited which is a for-profit company it’s a social enterprise where our aim is this is similar to nonprofits where we’re at reducing poverty in developing countries but we do it through some business mechanisms that I’ll be talking about what the sweet lab is focused on is improving sustainability through accountability in international development the word sustainability has been thrown around a lot we use it here in the Institute it’s used all over Portland it’s a great word and it is a meaningful word but sometimes the tangible pneus of it is lost in some of the PR you know greenwashing or just saying that you’re sustainable really means that you are and it’s hard to actually define sometimes what sustainability really means especially in international development what we are trying to do is we believe that sustainability is is an extra bleeped I’d to accountability where we want to provide feedback and hold international development organizations accountable and give them tools to be accountable for the results of their projects because a project is not sustainable if you’re using funding from one source implementing a water sanitation energy infrastructure program walking away from it and it falls apart after a few years that’s pretty much the intent sustainable so we think that there is a need for metrics and data that tell us the performance and use very simple things whether or not it works and whether or not people use it of these programs so here’s how things currently work now there are project implementers that have the money or they get the money from donors from USAID or from the Gates Foundation or from Rotary clubs or churches or private donations and they go and do a project a project could be a water project or sanitation or energy cookstoves PV lighting a footbridge and then they want to know they want to they’re doing these things because they want to have an impact on local communities these aren’t projects for the sake of having projects at least they’re not supposed to be they are technologies and tools that are meant to build capacity and to result in tangible public health improvements and livelihood improvements in developing communities so with a water project and the sanitation project we ultimately are after reduced incidence of diarrhea with a cookstove program we’re after reduced

incidence of indoor air pollution and upper respiratory disease and more money in people’s pockets because they’re saving costs that they would normally spend on wood fuel with infrastructure we’re after things like better living conditions or transportation where we will connect a village across a river to a market or to a school or to a healthcare facility so that’s why we do these projects and those are the impacts that we seek but we often are we struggle to actually be able to measure that impact and know with one program is working or not and if the mechanisms are implementing the programs are working and this linear structure is common there’s a few different twists on it some have micro enterprises where you are do or microfinance where there is participation on an economic level from local communities there’s often talk of community participatory development where the local communities have buy-in sometimes it’s more real than others but they’re expected to put in to guide the process to guide the work and ultimately take responsibility for the programs but the measurement need is the same whatever mechanism you using for implementing these programs you still want to measure whether or not you’re effective right now the model for measuring this is shown on the bottom it’s expert surveys where you under the best of circumstances you hire a trained experts who goes and tries to collect as unbiased data as possible on whether or not you’ve accomplished what you said you were going to accomplish and the experts will go into the communities they will do interviews they will do surveys they will examine the technology they will try to look at impacts like reduced diarrheal illness and then they come back to the report on whether or not things are working unfortunately this mechanism doesn’t doesn’t work we don’t think it works which is why we’re offering a solution that can augment this process the challenge with expert surveys is that even under the best of circumstances there’s snapshots in time they are they represent one data point maybe a few days or a few weeks of time in a village and then you don’t go back and check for a month two years or perhaps never again and these reports sit on shells so even if they’re accurate they still end up being these snapshots in time and more often than not they’re not really that accurate there’s a big courtesy bias that’s inherent in these surveys where recipient communities will often tell the experts what they think they want to hear or what they think the donor or the project implementer wants the result to be you know of course I’m using that sanitation system of course I’m using that cook stove and so there’s a lot of bias inherent and we see this because we see surveys coming back saying everything works and then we see competitors reporting on other programs showing actually know you guys aren’t doing that great here’s our evidence here are our anecdotes on what’s working and what’s not and as a result the international development community is rife with these this infighting there’s these debates constantly I just got back from a conference in Seattle where this was in big evidence where the little guys are disdainful the big guys the big guys are distain ‘full the little guys the competitors are disdainful of each other and it ends up being power of personality power of anecdotes who you know and there’s very little data to back up these programs at least there’s a weakness I don’t want to say that it’s universally a problem but we’ve at least identified a weakness in the sector so our approach is purpose-built instruments that monitor these technologies monitor whether or not people are using a given project and whether or not that project is actually performing so with the water treatment system we want to know do people use the water system and is it actually affected in cleaning the water with a cookstove program we want to know whether or not people are using the cook stoves and if it’s actually reducing emissions reducing fuel use so does it work and do people use it and then these the results of this data doesn’t replace surveys it informs the surveys we’re able to go back to the experts show these results and help improve designs for technologies designs for implementation models and designs for these same surveys so here’s how our technology works we have something called sweet scents which are our sensors the purpose-built we didn’t set out to invent anything I’ll talk a little bit about the technology but there were not really sensors off the shelf that were appropriate for this international development application so we’ve spent the past year developing this new technology and implementing it the sensors measure things usage and performance at these different projects locally and then wirelessly send that data over the Internet via the cell phone networks to our web based system the process of the data it’s called sweet data and this is where all the data processing is done and we’re able to output to our partners to the project implementers what’s working and what’s not where there are strengths where there are weaknesses so the technology of our technology sweet scent is low power and low cost we’re able to run off of a couple batteries for six to 18

months I we’re running right now even in during the prototype stage we’re at about a hundred dollars per unit and that’s still with all the the messiness of doing prototyping and part of the innovation is we only log based on triggered events so this is something that’s a little bit more interesting to the technical folks to the engineers or the electrical engineers and the software folks that that show how we’re different from existing data loggers but suffice it to say their innovations that we’ve done that make this purpose built for developing countries and for these types of partners so we only log during events most of the time of latrines not being used most time of cook stoves not being amused there’s no need to constantly log the data likewise when it is being used we want high-resolution data we really want to know what’s going on so we sample constantly we’re always looking at the technology but we only log when events are triggered when the cook stoves turned on when the water taps opened and then the data is sent over the cellphone networks and processed on the cloud so the heavy lifting the real statistical analysis the parsing the data reduction is done automatically online rather than locally so we don’t chew up too much power locally and then we can send new parameters down we can actually influence and control these sensors remotely both automatically we can recalibrate them and we trigger them and we can manually reset them without actually touching them again and we’ve been able to file a patent on this now along with our partners Stephens water monitoring Stephens water is a portland-based company there are a hundred years old they grew up here in Portland making mechanical water monitoring instruments and then graduated into the electrical field 20 years ago and they’ve been doing this with us pro bono we cover their expenses on the material costs but the technology has been developed as a strong volunteer partnership from Stephens water so this is the different versions we have we have flow meters that talk to that our sweet scents we have versions for what’s called the LifeStraw and I’ll talk about that in a little bit we have versions that go on cook stoves these are just three examples we actually have a few more iterations they’re all for different applications and then they in turn all talk to sweet data or online platform this is sweet data org all the sensor data is pulled in from all of our sensors around the world and processed and displayed here so you can go to the website and see what centers where what it’s monitoring there’s some automatically presented data and then you can download the data and do more in-depth processing if you’re after something in particular so I’ll give you a few examples of that this is sweet sense flow this is a dual pressure flow meter we developed with mercy course of course based here in Portland but they’re one of the leading international development agencies and in Indonesia they do a water and sanitation program funded by USAID and they’ve installed a number at a number of sites I think 40 total sites of hand-washing stations and that provide clean water and latrines and they’ve invested most of their time and effort and behavior change programs where they are trying to get people to use the latrine and then use the hand-washing stations afterwards in Mercy Corps is very smart they’re very savvy they are they are a sophisticated aid agency they’re familiar with these challenges identified earlier they know about courtesy bias they know about some of the drawbacks of surveys but that is for lack of a better option what they’ve been doing they’ve been going in and after they do their behavior change program they go in and they survey it and they say hey you know we were just here six months ago talking about water and sanitation are you actually doing what we suggested that you do and everybody says yes and so the reports say that they’ve had glowing success they’re very sophisticated they know that there is bias in there and they’re not satisfied with just reporting something that might not be accurate they want to know what’s really going on so our instruments given that opportunity with the dual pressure flow meter were able to monitor usage events pressure head when the tanks are full how often people are using them we can actually differentiate between different types of taps somebody’s using a drinking water tap versus the one in the bathroom versus the hand washing station we can also correlate this to our latrine monitors we have another version of sweet scents that monitors the usage rates of different latrines and we can correlate we’re actually doing this right now we’re correlating the uses of the latrine so the use of the hand-washing stations to see if that behavior change is actually happening and if it is in some places but not another’s why what are those differences again it informs the survey it doesn’t replace surveys but when we identify trends we can go back to Mercy Corps they can dig into it a little bit if we identify what we think is a problem and they think they have a solution they go and implement that solution and then we monitor whether or not that’s effective we can monitor feedback to the program so there’s two sets of feedback there is both simultaneously the sensor feedbacks sending data to the implementers who then go and revise their program and then their surveys and

sensors can go can provide that feedback loop and that iterative process on success or ongoing challenges and programs another virtus is an example data set the each bar represents one use of a hand-washing station and the height of the bar represents how much water was used so you know four liters in the first time two and a half liters in the second time so this is example data that is automatically provided through our system sweet scents fire is another iteration these are designed to monitor high-efficiency cookstove so as I mentioned there’s many people in the world three billion people that still use biomass for the daily energy needs actually need to look up if that statistics been revised because it was always 3 billion which was more than half of the world’s population but as of Halloween there’s now 7 billion people in the world so we’ll see if it’s actually declining or if there’s now three and a half billion people using biomass but most people use biomass for their daily energy needs and most people are doing it on indoor campfires and this causes a lot of problems firewood is very expensive if they’re not using firewood kerosene LPG other fuels are also very expensive and time consuming they causes such black soot emissions which are very inefficient the black suit is a leading contributor to global warming it’s actually not as well studied as carbon dioxide but it’s considered likely one of the leading culprits and a big source of that are these fires that are burned in people’s homes all around the world and the suit also causes upper respiratory disease which competes with diarrheal illness for a leading cause of death in the world aids diarrheal illness and upper respiratory disease switch places for the top three leading causes of illness and death in many developing countries so high efficiency cook stoves are designed to address this problem there are different versions a lot of different versions that fully combust the biomass they’re able to fully combust the biomass which makes them sixty to eighty percent more efficient so you save between sixty and eighty percent of your would you eliminate that black soot that causes indoor air pollution and and therefore and therefore the disease and the emissions now the challenge is there a lot of different competitors and there’s very few standards for evaluating the competing technologies for high efficiency stoves there’s pretty much one standard is called the shell water boiling test and it allows you to compare stoves in the laboratory environment so you can see efficiency differences very accurately you can measure efficiency differences in a lab but this doesn’t actually tell us performance over time and it doesn’t tell us adoption rates over time it doesn’t tell us if one stove which is more efficient in the lab is preferred or not preferred to a computer stove in a home it doesn’t tell us if one stove that’s performing better in a lab degrades over time melts faster breaks faster and causes emissions problems three months or six months or even just a couple hours or a couple weeks after implementation and so instead we’re back to the same anecdotes oh I saw so-and-so stove and they nobody’s using it nobody likes that stove you know I went through a couple homes or a couple dozen homes a couple hundred homes and I’m concluding that nobody likes a stove or that stoves not used because it breaks or the pot teeters on it tons of anecdotes the sector is rife with anecdotes that is used in place of actual performance and usage data that’s what’s motivating our sensors the Lemelson foundation also based here in portland but with international reach funds technology development they fund things like high efficiency cook stove development projects and they also realize that they don’t really have this feedback on whether or not things are used and whether or not they actually perform that the projects that they fund so sweet scents fire is designed to try to address this we have thermistors that monitor thermal efficiency frequency of use emission sensors such as co and co2 sensors that monitor both of those gases independently and also monitor the ratio change over time that shows us performance we’re able to differentiate between stoves one big question is how can you tell the difference if somebody’s using their traditional stove or their improve stuff well we can tell that there are signature differences and we can monitor that over time and tell which stove people are using and this can again influence how these projects are implemented how the technology is designed and another big piece this is that it influences another part of my talk that will be coming to in a moment and that’s the carbon finance markets carbon financing is a mechanism that’s used to try to build greater sustainability and development programs by earning carbon credits on things like cookstove projects and our case water treatment projects that you reinvest in the program but the market is not well utilized for development programs it’s 120 billion dollars a year I think it’s actually bigger than that now seventy percent of its in China twenty percent of it is in India less than two percent

of its in Africa and the reason is a lot of the auditors and the methodologies are not compatible with this type of survey work that’s done for auditing projects you can do it you can do rigorous surveys you can also do things like have expert third parties spot check your work to try to get out some of your bias the auditors will come in and do their own surveys so there are ways to adapt the carbon markets to development programs but they still lack the ability to read the meter that’s what auditors want they want to go into a power plant and they want to read a calibrated meter on what’s what you’ve actually done how many emissions reductions that actually translates to our system for cook stoves gives us that opportunity we’re able to actually measure emissions over time we’re able to actually measure usage over time and adapt that into carbon finance markets so we haven’t done that yet but we’re working with a few partners including auditors and project implementers and stove designers including a group called eco zoom here in Portland that markets the a provecho cook stove to adapt this into a carbon finance mechanism here’s another version this is the LifeStraw family which I have a verte i have actually one of them here it’s a household scale water treatment system for developing countries it’s purpose-built you pour your water on the top you hang it in your wall and it’s an ultra filtration membrane at the bottom comes out about 200 milliliters a minute which is a pretty decent flow rate for these type of systems and it meets epa and wh 0 standards for microbiological treatment so we know it works it’s an excellent filter and it treats all microbiological contamination what we’ve done is add our sweet scent system on it to read tell us how often these are used how much water is treated through the system what the frequency the backwash interval is you have to this the red bulb here and the red tap the filter gets clogged over time like any filter dies you occasionally as your flow rate decreases you got to close these valves and pump this bulb a couple times to get rid of the dirty water and the contaminants and regenerate your filter that requires some training and that requires some attention and our sensors can actually monitor whether or not people are doing that or if vestergaard or other project implementers need to focus a little bit more time on educating that particular component as you can see here we have we’re running off the batteries we have it’s just clear for demos really it’s totally covered the sim cards built in so it talks directly to the cell phone tower there’s not another cell phone or another device it talks to it talk straight to the towers antenna built in and then a magnetic switch there’s nothing external to it that you could spring a leak or let water get in so you just turn it on and off with a magnet so this is another version that we have for household scale water treatment so our overall goal is not the tech we didn’t actually set out to invent something that kind of happened because we’re kind of geeky and we didn’t see something off the shelf that was really appropriate but a real goal of standards development our real goal is to be able to compare apples to apples different programs so when my company mana energy does a water treatment program in ken in Rwanda and Lemelson foundation and we do it with carbon credits and the Lemelson foundation finds a cookstove program in Indonesia with grant funding or with micro-enterprise funding those seem like pretty different projects different environments different cultures different people different mechanisms but in fact we’re after the same things we’re after improved public health through usage and performance of our technologies so we can actually measure that and provide data comparability between these projects and see if one mechanism or technology approach is more or less effective than another and ultimately our goal is to inform the standards for humanitarian development programs so switching gears a little bit that’s what we do in the sweet lab that’s the sensor work that we’re doing here at the University and and with our partners Stephens water and mercy corps Lemelson and vestergaard but another hat that I where’s with the social enterprise called manna energy main energy limit is a for-profit we grew out of a combination of people at NASA and engineers without borders where I was a volunteer for a long time ever since we founded it in 2002 actually 2001 so it’s a ten year anniversary now what manda does were based on Rwanda most of our staff we have two Americans and five Rwandan staff in Rwanda we have a few other staff members that are here in the US we focus on community surface water treatment systems they’ve shown in the picture high-efficiency cook stoves that we’ve just discussed our particular angle on it our facility scale systems made out of local pumice brick that we source from the Congo bio gas generator and then capacity building are we are a for-profit but we are building local capacity through education activities and through employment we have full-time employees that we brought on over four years ago that we’re training in all of

these different technologies and we’re able to fund this predominantly through carbon financing we earn carbon credits for the treatment of drinking water we have consult to other organizations such as Vestergaard to earn carbon credits on their programs and that’s how we’re able to finance and sustain ourselves as a business so this is how you were in carbon credits as I mentioned it’s a big industry but it’s not well utilized for developing countries we four and a half years ago we were naive enough to think that it would be no big deal to take this CDM the Clean Development Mechanism and use it for our water treatment systems we were a little tired of about going to rotary clubs and writing grants and doing donations and even things like car washes and bake sales to raise money for water treatment systems and so we formed manna to combine the CDM with drinking water treatment on the premise that in many places around the world people boil their drinking water with wood some boil with kerosene sim boil with LPG many many many people don’t don’t do anything at all they don’t do any form of water treatment but even the people don’t do any form of water treatment often live in an environment where if they could they would choose to borrow their water with wood that’s the case in Rwanda it’s almost totally de forested less than a quarter of the people boil less than a quarter of their drinking water so a few people are boiling some of their water and we’re able to earn carbon credits on that water by reducing that demand so are that actual usage so when we install our water treatment system people no longer have to borrow their water we are in carbon credits on those reduced emissions which we reinvest in our program so we’re able to pay back our investors were able to invest in our program and maintain our program and also expand it we started four and a half years ago and just less than a year ago we finally registered this program it’s the first and so far the only United Nations carbon credit for water treatment program so there’s a long haul a lot of organizations get excited about this idea oh you know I do something that reduces emissions we’ve got this big program so and so water energy we want to get carbon credits for us how hard can it be must just be a couple forms it’s pretty hard it cost us about six hundred thousand dollars and it took us four years and a lot of people working for free so it’s not easy but the returns are significant you can actually more than recover those costs over time so our program Rwanda is the first of its kind it’s pretty small a treating water for about 20,000 people providing local employment and using our patented water treatment system for communities now that’s grown for us into working with Vestergaard the makers of the LifeStraw so this same device we were hired by Vestergaard about two years ago to take our concept carbon credits for water treatment and apply to this device this device costs about thirty dollars to produce and distribute which makes it out of a range of your average family in the developing country that needs it so typically what was being done is donations and grants some microenterprise some retail work but vestergaard was not hitting the scale that they actually wanted to hit they were there very ambitious they’re big and they’re ambitious and so over the past two years we’ve been working with them and in June we fin the distribution of 877 thousand of these units that’s a lot that’s a lot of lot of life straws that was container after container being trucked into western Kenya we had four thousand community health workers on the payroll going door to door hitting 877 thousand homes and there are now over four million people eighty percent of the entire province of western Kenya who have access to one of these life straws and it was a 30 million dollar cost Vestergaard put in 30 million dollars into this program a million dollars alone was just getting the registration a piece of that was our fee a piece of that were the auditors a big piece of that was the local baseline study in surveys and stakeholder consultations to actually do the work just to get a registered program the inventory itself obviously cost more than 20 million dollars and then it cost a few million dollars to have four thousand people on the payroll so a significant investment but thanks to our partnership with them they’re able to earn 12 million dollars a year in revenue on this system that more than repays those costs pays for a permanent presence in the region they’re going to have 34 district maintenance education facilities maintenance and education facilities that are getting established right now and it’s the single biggest program of its kind there’s never been another project and you were close to this scale done by a non-governmental organization so that’s kind of the that’s the business side and the tech side of what we do but there’s also a softer side that’s our motivation for doing this and here’s one example this is an orphanage and Rwanda that we’ve been working at for about nine years and the kids here this picture was

taken a number of years ago now but the kids here at the orphanage some of the older kids at the time we’re actually genocide orphans they were in their 20s but they still live there and nowhere else to go the younger kids were our age orphans a lot of them have HIV themselves these kids in the picture many of them are HIV positive and are taking antiretrovirals provided by the United States when this picture was taken there was no electricity no running water no sanitation no clean energy fuel we’ve taken care of all those things now but at the time they didn’t have any of that the ridgeline in the background is the border with the Congo which also a few years ago was very destabilized there was still in her hanwei activity going on across the border it was a very dangerous region and using a truck battery and a projector it’s a little hard to see but this is a presentation of the earth as seen from space by ron garan who’s a NASA astronaut and he’s a co-founder of mana and he wasn’t really supposed to be giving this presentation NASA told him that it wasn’t an official visit that when he was coming with us but we were like 5,000 miles away from the NASA legal office so he decided to do it anyway it was a risk you know we didn’t know first of all if the kids would understand what ron was talking about would they care maybe even maybe resent some of this stuff because they don’t have some of the same opportunities potentially but we thought it was too cool of an opportunity so Ron through a translator JP was giving a presentation about what it was like to be an astronaut and afterwards Ron told me that he got more intelligent questions from those kids that he gets from US congressman so that’s a that’s some of the softer side of what we do in is part of the motivation when things get frustrating it you know conferences all right get that little short for you guys so we can do some questions do you guys ever run into problems with like cell coverage for transmitting the sweet like data loggers yeah that’s one of the interesting things about developing countries now just in the past 5 10 years cell coverage as it is nearly Universal when we first started working Rwanda about nine years ago it was really limited even in Kigali you you couldn’t get really good at cell phone signal very easily in some places and definitely not out in the villages that we work in but since then Rwanda now has I think 97% cell phone coverage Kenya’s over ninety percent Indonesia’s over eighty percent and Indonesia is enormous so pretty much everywhere we work there is cell phone coverage and so even though people don’t have running water sanitation electricity roads they do have cell phones and we are able to get 3g coverage it’s been a great equalizer to the mobile there’s a lot of work that sounds similar to what we do around mobile apps and mobile data collection where people have our filling out surveys and filling out and doing things like m-pesa which is mobile banking and this is been big in developing countries and it’s great it’s great stuff and it’s really helped with things like violence monitoring with markets monitoring to see if you know when you’re going to take your crops to market it’s still missing that piece of the objectiveness of instrumented data collection which is what we are trying to provide hi I have a question for you about CDM you talk about carbon for water what about the part of the fish and stow for example dr and hadia run now working on that and trying to have program of activities on efficient stoves and you could try to measure on i know it’s very hard and forestry projects are very hard to pass in the end CDM but you could try to measure the decrease in deforestation the decrease in the would use to boil to cook and all that stuff have you thought about that are you thinking about that have you done anything yeah actually so there’s a few things so we don’t manna doesn’t directly earn carbon credits yet on our cook stoves although we’re working on that now so I didn’t say that we’ve done it if we haven’t done it yet but we are working on that we’re actually registering a gold standard program now for our cook stoves and our water system so we are in the same location we put in our water treatment plant and our high-efficiency cook stoves that earn credits on both technologies there are a lot of other groups that do well not a lot a handful of other groups that do earn carbon credits on high efficiency cook stoves some of our friendly competition their programs are around high efficiency cook

stoves for carbon financing so there are people doing that we also do it our particular niche you know the our claim to fame is around the water treatment but of course you can earn CERs ve ours for cook stoves now the other part of your question is how that relates to deforestation and how that relates to red red is the sister mechanism to CDM CDM has set up to do project level work for energy and energy efficiency and earn credits on a project level the sister mechanism is called red which is reforestation and a power station and preventing deforestation on a bigger scale so it’s working with national governments or big companies to protect big standing trees of forests or rebuild forests and a real challenges you identified as monitoring trees because it’s actually easier to monitor a cookstove over a few years then monitor whether or not a tree doesn’t get cut down and burned over 30 years it’s really tricky tricky but there is a linkage with our water probe with Vestergaard actually we are expanding now to do this same program in Indonesia where people really do boil their water they boil huge they use huge amounts of would feel in Sumatra South Sumatra and lampoon we’re doing a three million household program with them now to impact about 12 million people and they are consuming huge amounts of wood fuel as a result they don’t have that much incidence of diarrhea but they do have incidents of upper respiratory disease they do have deforestation they do have a lot of a cost and there are red programs going on ville taneously so there are informal linkages a little bit more formally I was just talking with a group called Conservation International yesterday which is one of the big conservation organizations they’re on par with Nature Conservancy and they do their main interest is conservation and so they are engaged with red and with deforestation efforts and freshwater system efforts but they also do development because they know that a lot of conservation in developing countries it’s necessary to engage with human needs people are deforesting because they they need the trees as a service so if you provide cook stoves or water systems an alternative you’re able to address some of your conservation interest so we were just chatting yesterday about some of those more formal linkages between conservation efforts and development efforts in terms of carbon finance excellent and my last question would be how much should be a unit one of the stove’s deficient stoves uh in terms of carbon no money Oh money cross country for example you know you need to have a certain number of them to make a difference if you want to do if you want to do the CDM and that’s how some of these countries are looking at it but as you said the investment is a lot right now how much would it be right so a lot of these stoves they range from five to forty dollars depending on the stove if you have a locally produced cheaper materials may be lower quality construction may be five dollars for stove but it’ll probably melt over time and and then people do that deliberately though they’ll have a cheaper stove that you replace more frequently rather than a stove that is out of range of an average family there’s other stoves like eco zoom stoves or enviro fit stoves that are maybe thirty or forty dollars by the time you deliver them but even though it’s similar to the LifeStraw that’s inaccessible for many families even if you do things like microcredit to microfinance or subsidies it’s still difficult to get those out there on a retail market so with carbon financing you were able to either highly subsidized those or have them give it away for free in an exchange earn those carbon credits and build that scale so vestergaard that before this their biggest project was in on the order of tens of thousands of life straws which is still big this is nearly a million life straws because of carbon credits likewise cook stove there’s a number of groups p OAS and individual projects that are doing much larger scale implementations because they can’t afford it because there are investors in our company mana we are looking at different investors that are that we actually able to return their investment to them with interest because we see those returns from carbon financing there’s another thing but I forgot a question from online oven related to end of life for products like the LifeStraw batteries or if it breaks how how I mean the LifeStraw is new so how would you deal with that repairs and other parts of the technology do empower them to repair themselves or how does that work it depends on I remember now what is going to say okay so repair and maintenance everything breaks our sensors break the LifeStraw breaks cook stoves break even if they don’t break they eventually are consumed actually that’s much more what it’s likely to happen with the higher quality cook stoves and something that’s a high quality product like the LifeStraw it’ll get consumed the filter will eventually clog over a period of years we rated for about three years of use of typical use which is actually a lot that’s eighteen thousand litres of treated water but eventually you have to either repair or replace it and there have to be

mechanisms in place that’s another reason why we do the carbon financing we’re able to engage recoup those recover those consumed life straws properly dispose of them recycle pieces that can be recycled or disposed them in a environmentally safe a responsible way rather than letting them litter you know communities and then have the resources because of the carbon credits to replace those units so through carbon financing we haven’t answer to that question we’re able to replace those units and recover them over time now other mechanisms also struggle with this challenge how do you actually make sure that people can afford it over time they try to build an aspirational quality try to encourage communities to save money from their saved wood or saved healthcare costs try to create local businesses retail outlets to again another part of the hint and the question is local maintenance appropriate technology is often interpret it to being something that can be produced and made locally now that approach was suggested 10-15 years ago in response to the top-down level of aid that was done for 50 years before that where you did massive infrastructure programs you know water plants power plants roads dams and things slowly fell apart because you didn’t have the local capacity local tax revenue to maintain the system so pendulum swung the other direction and participatory development and appropriate technology became the mantra of development agencies from the small to the big where you know you need to build everything out of locally locally sourced parts only ultra-simple easily maintained but I don’t entirely subscribe to that I don’t I don’t oppose that but I don’t subscribe to it wholesale I think it actually needs to be a mix there’s some high-tech things that really do make sense for developing communities cell phones as an example in our embodiment in Rwanda we use ultraviolet disinfection which is 20,000 times more energy efficient for boiling water than wood so there are high-tech elements that are very appropriate and it is it can be you have to be careful to not be just as patronizing as what you’re saying you’re not doing when you are working in a community and saying you can only have this low-tech thing because you can’t maintain the higher tech thing that can be just as patronizing as that as the people swooping in to implement something they think a village needs that’s that’s usually given as the example of why you do participatory development and local capacity building an appropriate tech but that approach can be equally troubling in some cases so you have to be careful the other thing I was going to mention because if nobody’s going to ask the question there’s still people thinking about it is the issue of free giveaways we do free water with these systems there are cook stove and investor guard is a free giveaway of the LifeStraw and this is something that there are development experts who are very experienced to disagree with this approach who believe that free giveaways corrupt the market that make it difficult to actually do a market-based implementation of water or energy systems that there is not buy-in there’s not local community adoption of the technologies if you’re giving it away for free if it if it’s for free you know that’s just maybe it has no value and that is that that is a debate that is an honest debate but it’s not a close debate there’s a lot of evidence to support that giveaways or even incentivizing things like vaccinations water treatment energy systems can lead to much higher adoption rates so one thing or just caution of anyone’s thinking about it is that the giveaway model is not free and clear the best way of doing it but it’s also definitely not considered the worst there are there’s a lot of debate on what the right model is and this comes back to the same the motivation for our instrumentation we want to actually know what models are working what aren’t we are agnostic about it when I’m wearing my mana hat I think carbon credits are great and I think we are trying to improve that model and when we identify weaknesses and how we do it we try to respond to those but generally I think it’s a good idea because in word that’s why we’re doing it with the instrumentation with the psu you know the academic had on we’re more agnostic about it you know is carbon financing work on working on our Rwanda water treatment program or a cookstove program in Mexico is a micro-enterprise program working in Indonesia for water treatment what are the similarities differences between these models and how does it actually result in what we want to do which is improve public health and improve livelihood thank you after hearing you talk I understand how you get reimbursed for carbon credits but how does the money enter the carbon market and do US companies also participate in that so part of the reason that a lot of Americans aren’t familiar with the market you know some some people I talk

to you about carbon credits think it’s monopoly money and we just are making this whole thing up is because the US didn’t ratify Kyoto so the u.s. does not participate in the Kyoto Protocol because we don’t have to the Kyoto Protocol is a binding treaty that almost every country in the world agreed to and it created the Clean Development Mechanism and the clean development mechanism is a formal instrument to allow by and selling carbon credits between signatory countries and signatory countries then deval that responsibility which is a legal responsibility international legal responsibility down on to their industries so Sweden will tell the energy sector that they have to reduce their emissions by a certain percentage over time and then those that industry has the choice between reducing their emissions by increase improving their own efficiency or buying that difference through another sector that is able to do those efficiency differences so the people that are buying our carbon credits are people that have to buy carbon credits to comply with treaty obligations in many cases I used Sweden is the example because they actually are buying our credits out of Rwanda now they believe in the humanitarian element of this program they believe that they want to invest in a project like this and not some other competing projects like a power plant but they also need these carbon emission reductions to comply with their obligations as a country there are also a volunteer also is several voluntary mechanisms I got my plurals wrong on that there are several voluntary mechanisms including the gold standard which is what we use in Kenya in Kenya we’re using a voluntary mechanism and the buyers here in this case it’s JP Morgan are buying them and selling them to companies that are positioning themselves in the carbon market so some of them are doing it for corporate social responsibility another form of charity or aid and for PR values but a lot of them are doing it strategically to position themselves in a certain sector for wind compliance mechanisms come down on their particular on their particular field so even the voluntary mechanism is is closely linked with business motivations and regulatory motivations not just charity that I answer your question so one I don’t know if I mentioned this one carbon credit represents one ton of carbon dioxide that’s either removed or not admitted to the atmosphere so you convert everything into co2 equivalent so if you’re burning methane every ton of methane you burn actually gives you 20 carbon credits because methane is 20 times as bad for the environment as carbon dioxide so you get 24 for one when we burn firewood for every every household that we treat water for were able to earn between half a ton and two tons of carbon emission reductions a year any other questions I thank you for the lecture it’s a carbon create these things is XM at the carbon emission per meter you can actually create between companies and companies so like for example 1 comments produce more and then so you buy it from the other company as investment is that the hard works the same way or worries yeah it’s very similar so the carbon markets is based on a permitting system that was done in the United States for reducing for reducing emissions that were causing ozone depletion so they in acid rain issues too so the EPA regulated permits for 20 years or something like that to reduce acid rain and reduce ozone emissions and that’s what the markets are based on so there’s there’s in the political discourse in the US now there’s you know a big backlash against cap and trade or or taxes or anything like that but it’s funny because we actually invented it okay also I’m just wondering um is ikea we like to do those project like white the harsh arctic armento if you do kind of similar project in the developed country like dhadkan mortaring system like here it’s hard to actually install those systems like for example in the energy sector the install those monitor rhian system for the to see a head exterior city use exactly her to actually do those in the country compared to developing country so actually so you’re asking about implement a domestic implementation of our sensors so i gave stevens water credit for doing this work pro bono but they also have a business motivation they’ve a lot of the work that they’ve been doing in partnership with us is because they also see a market for these sensors locally their traditional market

is the usda the epa the city of portland metro to monitor to remotely monitor water quality to monitor soy soil quality or soil moisture to monitor snow packs they see an application for what we’ve developed with them in their traditional market segments so you know our motivation and interest has been the International Development angle but we’re looking to commercialize this with Stephens for domestic applications too and you mentioned energy efficiency in buildings that is one example that we’re also talking about okay clothes away I’m asking this is because I’m REE in interesting like why actually a lot project is done in the developing country inside developed because I for example reducing carbon co2 or something in developing country it is necessary because they are growing and they have huge population in the hyper and they need water you used to it’s a lot good site but what I wanna know it’s just like where can I say it but they actually sorry for the world but we do those in developing country just I think they don’t use as much as video so in turns in downsizing maybe a lot programs should be actually started in developed country in say developing country right for emissions reduction yes yes and there are many many projects in developed countries that are aimed at emissions reductions it’s called joint implementation ji it’s another sister to CDM in red and that’s what most the market is it is power plants more efficient power plants in Western Europe or in other countries a big emphasis is around more efficient power plants in China and India which are both countries that are growing rapidly and have much greater energy needs and just in the past 10-15 years and so there’s a ton of work a ton of work around emissions reductions in developed countries there’s actually very little work done in applying these markets to truly least developed countries like Rwanda so we are one of the few organizations that are trying to adapt it for that environment and to be honest our motivation is is around public health and humanitarian needs and secondarily the climate change mechanisms I mean of course we want to contribute to impacting reduced impacts on climate change mitigating climate change impacts mitigating emissions but our original motivation was to find a sustainable way to do our public health programs thank you what do you think the prospects are for extending a program related to the Kyoto Protocol at its expiration but I in some sense is a political question I suppose yeah so the Kyoto Protocol expires at the end of next year and I don’t think there’s any reasonable hope of a of a big similar of another extension of that commitment period that was supposed to happen in Copenhagen you know that was huge you know the the PR around it was enormous the cover the economist called it the conference to save the world and it totally fizzled for several reasons then it was supposed to happen to Cancun and it didn’t there’s gonna be another meeting in December in in South Africa and they there’s really no hope any more of a big system that the United States and China and India and Japan and Europe all participate in that has one umbrella for reducing emissions so we can pretty much give up on that now that being said we have seen increased demand for our carbon credits in the past few years four years ago when we started everyone told us the biggest risk the our biggest single risk was going to be if there wasn’t a follow-on to Kyoto and then all the demand for our carbon credits would dry up and now four years later Kyoto is disappearing but demand has increased more people are wanting our carbon credits because of these multilateral agreements because the EU ETS market has agreed to honor credits from given projects through 2015 because Australia is working with Indonesia on how they’re going to do a permitting process because Japan is working with several other countries so it’s a lot messier it’s a lot more complicated it would be in some ways easier to have one mechanism but a lot of countries aren’t waiting for the US and China to agree on how to do this with each other a lot of countries doing multilateral and bilateral agreements to continue to do emissions reductions trading and it still has regulatory power the EU can still have a regulatory system Australia just implemented their regulatory system so

it still has the power of law and still has a demand for these carbon credits it’s made it also more interesting we’re getting people coming to us from different places with different motivations for our credits and it’s also increased the demand for the voluntary credits everyone also said that the voluntary mechanisms are going to go away even faster if Kyoto doesn’t get renewed because who wants voluntary credits if you don’t have to buy them all these multilateral agreements has made things a lot more fluid and demand for the voluntary credits is also increased so from you know from and from an outside perspective to be nice if there’s a follow-on to Kyoto I really think it’s needed but within our within what we’re doing is a business and what our partners are doing is a business we’re not that concerned with it surprisingly we were told by all the experts that it would be our biggest risk and it isn’t hi I am work for one of the voluntary carbon standards that you are mentioning called the American carbon registry and that’s actually housed within an international nonprofit called winrock international so it has registry has a you know shares a lot of the same kind of sustainability motivations and is mission driven being a part of that larger organization and we’re looking too soon to approve a methodology for cook stoves but are looking at other monitoring mechanisms because such as you know remote systems like you just presented on Oh mainly because of all the reasons that you talked about as far as data availability and you know all the benefits but also because we have project developers who maybe maybe working on a smaller scale don’t have as much pro bono contribution and find the survey requirements of existing methodologies just cost pivot of because you know their locations are out in the middle of forests they have you know it takes a lot of time a lot of money to get to these places and do the surveys so I just wanted to see what kind of cost-benefit analysis that you might have done with the the new technology availability and then maybe how that reduces the need for surveys you said sometimes it doesn’t you know it supplements the surveys but if it seems like it would reduce some of the need for the survey so how do the the costs play out as far as the technology and I reduce need for surveys yeah thanks thanks for asking that question I should have mentioned that earlier that’s actually a peek a key piece of why we’re doing this first of all thank you for not calling me out on my BS on the carbon market so I was really afraid that us good that a generalization was going to get called out there expert surveys are very expensive you know not only are they infrequent not only do they have this bias but they’re very expensive you know if you’re going to do it properly the Gates Foundation often requires people to hire one or two staff members to just do em Andy because they cuz gates cares about knowing if they’re doing this effectively but for lack of a better option they do it by the same survey so it’s very expensive and time-consuming and you’re right with carbon projects that can be extremely expensive to monitor with with vestergaard we had 2,000 people on the payroll for several months for three months just doing monitoring and education work with our with our program so of course was a piece of that so that’s that’s that wouldn’t go away but there’s still a significant costs associated with just gathering data we are working to show that our sensors are not only provide a higher resolution of data but are cheaper our sensors cost a hundred dollars and sit in the village for 6 to 18 months before you have to touch them again they’re getting orders of magnitude more data than a survey tube does and they’re costing far far far less you know hundred dollars if you’re an expert you know you’re spending fifty dollars a day on gas you’re spending a few thousand dollars on plane tickets hundreds and perhaps thousands of dollars on on on hotels and you know food and lots of other stuff it really and you spend a couple hours in any given village our system we still have to implement it we still have to have people that are going and doing these implementations but they are there for what much longer period of time so there are two cost savings that we’re after and we haven’t proven it yet so I’m not going to say that we’ve proven this but we believe the cost savings are there and we are working to demonstrate that and the cost savings are twofold there’s an immediate cost savings when you reduce the burden of your expert surveys your experts can cover more territory so your / sample cost is much lower from the experts or from or from the people you’re training to do survey so that’s an immediate cost savings and a much more important longer term cost savings is that when our sensors identify a challenge or a problem in a program that you didn’t know about because your expert survey didn’t tell you about that was a project you were

wasting money on that you spent money on that was not effective and maybe you would go and continue to put money into it and it continued to not be effective or you go and put money into a similar program done in the similar way because you thought it worked the first time it didn’t and that’s what we’re really after we’re really after showing where there are weaknesses and where we can improve those through having this instrument of data and thereby making donor investor finds more efficient so we’re trying to do that I’d love to talk to you later about winrock any other questions okay well thank you all for your time I appreciate it there are some refreshments beg there so we can spend some more time talking to Evan thank you you