WISIONS of Sustainability

The main objective of WISIONS is to make clean energy a default solution for basic energy needs in developing regions, by helping local partners to identify successes and bring them to scale through regional networks, marketing and demonstration. Read more about WISIONS activities, goals and background.

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Rural Energy Development in Argentina

News from WISIONS posted on June 12th, 2017

One of our recent SEPS projects aims to tackle the issues of rural energy scarcity, high volumes of biomass feedstock and problems of waste disposal by installing an anaerobic biodigester in the region of Los Pinos, Balcarce.Read moreMinimize

Around 80% of populated areas in Argentina are rural communities with less than 2000 inhabitants, while 60% of the country’s population lives in the 17 biggest cities. Especially in the Humid Pampas region, many small towns are lacking power supply and waste management facilities, which makes access to energy difficult, expensive and unsustainable. In these places the national grid is often unreliable.

Los Pinos, the site of this project led by INTA, is located around 400 km from Buenos Aires. It currently counts 190 households with a population of around 350 people, whose energy demand has been determined during the first working phase. 

Further successfully implemented activities include:

  • The permission and approval of project activities by municipal authorities 
  • Producers have signed an agreement to ensure feedstock supply to a biogas demonstration unit 
  • The formation of a “Public Services Cooperative” to ensure management and operation of the plant
  • Socioeconomic and environmental baseline surveys to measure the impact of the installation once operating 

In the coming months, the project team will work on the installation of the biogas plant, the training of operators, and the optimisation of ongoing processes.

Find more general information about this project on our SEPS project site: Biogas Demonstration Unit for Sustainable Rural Energy Development in the Humid Pampas of Argentina


Productive Use of Biogas at Dairy and Pig Farms in Costa Rica

News from WISIONS posted on June 2nd, 2017

One of our SEPS projects has an innovative approach to the productive use of biogas at dairy and pig farms in Costa Rica. It aims to replace electric motors with biogas-powered engines to operate milking machines and forage choppers, and provide heat from biogas-fired heating lamps to the piglets, respectively.Read moreMinimize

This project is being led by local partners Viogaz. Their recent work includes the successful identification of farmers aiming to participate in the programme, and the assessment of farms serving as pilot project sites. Via surveys and other analyses the farmer’s needs for a biodigester could be determined, as well as their possible uses of the new technology. 

Since Viogaz is a partner of Kiva Microfunds, an organisation which allows people to lend money to low-income entrepreneurs, they were able to offer a financing option to the selected farmers, helping them implement the anaerobic technology (biodigesters).

Furthermore, Viogaz designed the appropriate biodigestion system for each user, considering a variety of factors. Most of the systems have already been installed, and all of the installed digesters have begun operation. All users were trained on how to run and maintain the biodigesters.

The next working steps of this project include monitoring of the systems, connection of the technology to its designated end uses, as well as further testing, validation, and training sessions.

More general information on this project is available here: Validating a Novel Approach to the Productive Use of Biogas to Empower Medium Scale Dairy and Pig Farmers in Costa Rica


Upgrading Watermills in Uttarakhand, India

News from WISIONS posted on May 24th, 2017

One of our SEPS projects in India aims to improve traditional watermills by replacing wooden equipment to make them more efficient and to demonstrate the importance of this technology in Uttarakhand, a mountainous region of the country.Read moreMinimize

Currently only around 65% of 15,000 traditional watermills in Uttarakhand remain in operation – despite abundant rivers and streams fed directly by the surrounding Himalayan peaks. In addition to repairing and upgrading non-operational mills, our project partners at the Institute for Development Support aim to offer capacity-building and hands-on training to mill operators and establish new marketing opportunities for processed products, which will in turn generate revenue for local communities.

Over recent months, a number of working steps have been successfully completed. These include:

  • A detailed baseline survey (socioeconomic data) and technical feasibility study
  • Raising awareness and mobilising local communities (particularly motivating women to participate)
  • Technical training for water mill owners / operators 
  • Formation and strengthening of self-help working groups at community-level (around 600 participants)
  • Administration, accounting and management training for members of self-help groups
  • Identification of potential products for production (including wheat, maize and amaranth flours)
Next steps will include the technical upgrades of the water mills, which should start by the end of June 2017.

For more general information on this SEPS project, please visit Establishment of Demand-Driven Sustainable Improved Watermill Cluster in the State of Uttarakhand, India


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