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.
(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.