Monday, June 2, 2008

Ashden Awards International Finalists

Every year since 2001 the Ashden Awards showcase inspiring sustainable energy solutions in the developing world (and the UK). The awards spread the word about sustainable appropriate technologies being used by inventive people all around the planet. The Ashden winners are passionate about bringing change to their communities and the planet.

Some of the Ashden International Finalists this year:

Aryavart Gramin bank, India

The Aryavart Gramin bank in Uttar Pradesh used solar photovoltaic (PV) systems to back-up the unreliable grid power for some of its branches, and recognized the potential of PV for its many off-grid customers. To date 10,100 loans have been approved and 8,000 solar-home-systems installed. Local entrepreneurs are paid by the bank to service and maintain systems. The Aryavart Gramin bank has a target of 25,000 solar-home-systems this year, and is promoting the idea of its SHS loan scheme to other rural banks.

Cooperativa Regional de EletrificaĆ§Ć£o Rural do Alto Uruguai Ltda (CRERAL), Brazil

CRERAL is a co-operative which supplies electricity via the grid to 6,300 mainly rural customers in the south of Brazil. To increase capacity and improve reliability, it has built and now operates two mini-hydro plants (0.72 and 1.0 MW capacity) which produce about 5.5 GWh/year electricity or 25% of its overall demand. The run-of-the river hydro schemes do not need large reservoirs, and therefore have minimal environmental impact.

Fruits of the Nile, Uganda

Fruits of the Nile is a Ugandan business which produced and exports about 120 tons per year of high-quality dried banana and pineapple from its factory in Njeru. The fruit is prepared and dried in solar driers by 120 producer groups in rural areas: these groups buy fruit from over 800 farmers and employ about 500 laborers. Fruits of the Nile currently operates to FairTrade standards.

Gaia Association, Ethiopia

Refugees in Ethiopia, as in many countries, rely on fuelwood for cooking. Women who spend long hours collecting fuelwood outside refugee camps are frequently attacked, and there is extensive deforestation. The Gaia Association has provided ethanol-fuelled stoves to 1,780 refugee families, enabling clean, comfortable cooking and preventing wood use. The ethanol is produced from locally-available molasses, a sugar by-product which previously caused pollution. The Gaia Association is starting to supply stoves and ethanol for other refugee camps and also for new housing developments in Addis Ababa, and a local factory is producing the stoves. Stoves are also being introduced in Addis Ababa, and local manufacture has started.

More at: Ashden

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