Centre for Development Studies

Deployable Sustainable Energy Sources for Portable, Transportable Energy Supplies in Development Contexts

Principle Investigator: Chick Wilson (Chemistry)

Research Team: Chris Bowen (Mechanical Engineering), Petra Cameron (Chemistry), Joe Devine (Social and Policy Science)

Funding Body: EPSRC GCRF  Institutional Funding

This project responds to the EPSRC’s Global Challenge Fund scheme. It is a feasibility scoping project which seeks to build greater social and policy considerations into the design of technological solutions that might be introduced, adopted  or developed in developing country contexts

Project Rationale and Aims:

The overall aim of this project is to investigate the complementary and often conflicting issues surrounding the development of sustainable, affordable and societally-acceptable alternative energy sources.  This pump-priming feasibility project is intended to explore three Challenge areas, with a view to producing a feasibility report (the objectives are effectively to look at feasibility of each area but within the overall context of the investigation) to steer a larger funding application to EPSRC and more widely across relevant RCUK funders in the GCRF context.  It will engage both technical and non-technical researchers, committed to interdisciplinary working and supported by a strong investigator team across the three Challenge areas.  The research carried out in each Challenge strand will be tensioned at every step, against the requirements and constraints set by the other two.  Freed from any imperative to deliver a “solution” in the timeframe of the feasibility study, our assessment will not focus on producing technical solutions that can all too often subsequently be found not to be applicable or deployable in the targeted development contexts, but rather embrace the unprecedented interdisciplinary development-targeted technical-driven framework enabled by the GCRF and its remit, to develop and assess more sustainable and feasible opportunities.

The feasibility project outlined addresses ODA and EPSRC focuses on energy and sustainability. It will develop and output a methodology – realist framework – for assessing future technical developments in relevant development policy contexts. This will also operate as a case study and reference point for partnerships between technical and non-technical researchers in the field of sustainable energy for all. The issue we will investigate is generic across a wide range of developing countries, its distinct and different way of approaching critical technical problems will allow the established framework against which future proposed technical development work can be assessed and tensioned in the ODA context. 

Methodology – Challenge Areas

  1. Technical. Two distinct renewable technologies will be assessed for their potential for deployment within the development context.

  2. Development & Economics. There is an ongoing question about the political, economic and social acceptability of ‘technological innovations’.

  3. In the framework of policy, it is vital that the many commitments in this domain are transferred “from statements to renewable, accessible energy”. Within Challenge 3 we will assess the overall framework of the complex landscape of policy initiatives and drivers, both national and international that position this effort; these can be reinforcing but also are often contradictory.

Project Outputs and Impact:

This a pump-priming feasibility project and its main output is a report that might give a steer in conceptual, methodological as well as technological terms, to further grant applications in the future.

For more information about this project please contact:

Name: Dr Joe Devine
Title: Head of Department
Department: Dept of Social and Policy Sciences
Location: 3 East 3.40
E-mail: j.devine@bath.ac.uk
Phone: work+44 (0) 1225 383539