Inspired by the opportunity to implement distributed energy networks in
rural India to create sustainable energy solutions and empower rural
development, this project is an inquiry into initiating this opportunity
through a design approach. During two trips to India, Marcel van Heist locally
designed a tool to gain insights into the feasibility of the vision. The
tool enabled energy sharing in one village and involved local
Creating Rural Energy is part of the Rural Spark Project (with Evan Mertens):
Mainly western countries are implementing programs for using energy in a more sustainable way. However, especially "undeveloped" countries undergo a large growth in energy demand, in population size, and in wealth. India excels in this growth and is expected to continue this growth for the coming decades.
The energy situation for rural Indians has only marginally changed in this century. As the current energy infrastructure is failing, there is an opportunity to leapfrog the western centralized energy infrastructure and directly grow a distributed energy network from the bottom-up.
In Europe, different companies and institutions are working on new technologies as smart networks and heat storage. However, the established infrastructure in Europe prevents them from implementing many of these promising technologies.
It was showed that there is a large potential for enabling villagers to share energy and thereby grow their own distributed energy network in India.
The Rural Spark project combines the research from institutions and companies direct feedback and results in a new market. By uniting research and action in one platform, all partners get in direct access with users who have the potential to start the next world energy network.
Marcel van Heist - Rural Spark from V2_ on Vimeo.
The graduation project is currently being continued as a research into the role of designers in social innovation projects, with Jop Japenga and studio 'Afdeling Buitengewone Zaken.'