Let there be light: dissigno spurs off-the-grid development

Let there be light: dissigno spurs off-the-grid development

Summary: This is one of those posts that I should have written many, many weeks ago because the green technology that's involved is of a type that will have an impact on much, much more than simply a corporate IT environment. Since I'm in a do-gooder mood this evening, this is my shout-out dissigno, a business development firm that is working on kick-starting green tech work in developing countries.

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This is one of those posts that I should have written many, many weeks ago because the green technology that's involved is of a type that will have an impact on much, much more than simply a corporate IT environment. Since I'm in a do-gooder mood this evening, this is my shout-out dissigno, a business development firm that is working on kick-starting green tech work in developing countries.

dissigno's mission sees it working with investors and non-governmental organizations to help set up lighting and alternative energy projects in developing nations. The organization, led by Gary Zieff and Dave Williams, received a $200,000 grant this year from the World Bank to help set up an off-the-grid lighting project in Tanzania. In this particular instance, the power of the pedal (aka a stationary bike) will be used to generate enough energy to charge up battery-powered LED lights like the Firefly pictured below.

tadooba-v-firefly.jpg

(Photo credit: Barefoot Power)

The Firefly can be charged up with AC power (from a generator of some sort) or with a solar panel. Fully charged, the smallest model can provide five to six hours of light by the largest ones will stay on about 20 hours. For more information, you can visit the Barefoot Power site.

In Tanzania, lights such as the Firefly will be used to replace kerosene lamps, which not only are more costly but more dangerous to keep around for fire and health reasons. dissigno's idea is that the lighting project will inspire broader economic development in these communities in the form of new businesses, according to dissigno principal Zieff. So, someone might rent the Firefly for about half the cost of keeping a kerosene lamp lit. Where there is light, there is potential for future industry, dissigno believes. The firm also hopes that its project could result in the development of an alternate power grid.

After the start-up phase spurred by dissigno and one of its partners, each developing community should be responsible for managing these projects and not some foreign entity dictating a specific policy because that's where the trust and relationships reside, says Zieff.

Topics: Emerging Tech, Banking, CXO, Enterprise Software, Government, Health, Software, IT Employment

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2 comments
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  • Start with the 3rd world

    This might actually be a really clever way to handle going green. Us bloated folk in the 1st world wont give up anything for our power. By going to the 3rd world, you get to innovate in many areas that are unavailable to the US at this time - no desire thanks to our always on power and gas guzzling cars. Perhaps then, after developing it in the developing countries, you can hand a developed product to the developed nations. Wow, it almost sounds backwards!
    cmdrrickhunter@...
    • "Backwards" indeed...

      Some people who've been moving back and forth between
      the "First" and "Third" Worlds have been feeling for some
      time that "development" won't necessarily (or even
      desirably, in many aspects) follow the same progression as
      it did for other countries earlier. New, "disruptive"
      technologies, such as the Firefly, could see nations and
      societies choosing deliberately different ways to "develop"
      and "better" the lives of their people and create wealth for
      themselves. I had an interesting discussion with a
      missionary friend of mine the other day, who was of the
      opinion/hope that this sort of "differential development"
      wouldn't necessarily lead, say, the "Northern Old Industrial
      Powers" into conflict against the "Southern Group" if their
      needs and uses for resources were sufficiently different.
      Maybe we get to the point where one bloc uses a given
      material, recycles it by selling it to the other group who
      perform a similar consumption/recycling process with
      something completely different. It's happened with ideas
      and culture; if technology and complementary
      development enabled similar swaps of tangible, otherwise
      finite resources... this old Earth might start feeling a bit
      less tiny and abused after all.
      Jeff Dickey