Guatemala: New Hub for Piloting Green Energy Technologies?

Photo credit: AIDG

We were interested to read that Guatemala is the test site for three of the 10 Everyday Technologies That Can Change the World in the online edition of DISCOVER magazine.

The three technologies being piloted in Guatemala are:
1) A micro-hydroelectric power generator
2) A turbine-less generator that captures energy from aeroelastic flutter
3) $100 solar water heaterMicro-hydro Generator
The first product is a micro-hydroelectric generator that requires as little as three gallons per second to turn and is well-suited to Guatemala's highlands watered by small streams. The generator was developed by XelaTeco, incubated by Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group (AIDG), based in Quetzaltenango in Guatemala's western highlands.

XelaTeco is building three micro-hydroelectric power generators for rural communities, as well as biodigesters, windmills, high efficiency stoves, pumps, water filters, and solar LED lighting systems. The custom microhydro installation is best suited for mid-sized communities of 20 to 200 families who live near a fairly constant source of water.

Turbine-less Wind Energy Generator
Humdinger Wind Energy found Shawn Frayne noticed a need for small-scale turbine-less wind generators when working in Haiti. Because of the friction in the gearbox and other components, turbines don't scale down well for application in poor countries. So Frayne designed the Windbelt, a taut membrane equipped with a pair of magnets that move back and forth between metal coils. Windbelt have generated 40 milliwatts in 10-mph slivers of wind, making his device 10 to 30 times as efficient as the best microturbines. Frayne envisions the Windbelt costing a few dollars and replacing kerosene lamps. AIDG and Humdinger are partnering to test the generators in Guatemala.

$100 solar water heater

Yet another AIDG partner in Guatemala is UC Berkeley researcher Ashok Gadgil, who is developing a passive solar batch collector. The batch solar water heater consists of a sheet of glass for glazing; a heat-collecting surface (absorber); a water bladder made of thick black high-density polyethylene, insulating material to cut heat loss; and inner and outer casings. The Berkeley team has been working to bring the cost of the heater down to $100 and recently installed prototypes at the homes of 10 low to middle income families in Guatemala. In the coming months, the Berkeley team’s business/implemention members will be working with AIDG and XelaTeco on plans for production and distribution, according to AIDG.:: Via DISCOVER
More on Guatemala:
XelaTeco: Green Power for a Guatemalan Village
Drug Smugglers Wreaking Havoc on Guatemalan Protected Areas
Recycled Life - Documentary on Guatemala City Recyclers
Rainforest Alliance Finds Sustainably Certified Forests Have Fewer Wildfires

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