Program Overview / Impact
Founded in 2008, The UC Davis D-Lab works with international partners to find scalable, sustainable solutions for specific energy issues in their host communities. Faculty and graduate students from Engineering, International Agriculture Development, Community Development, Business, and Economics work together in teams in the lab and in the field. Using a bottom-up approach, D-Lab works with local communities to understand specific energy needs and assess the sustainability of proposed energy solutions through technical, social, environmental, and financial lenses.
In this process the community partner is the client and guides the D-Lab team in all phases including:
• Community Engagement (Community Mapping, Stakeholder’s Analysis)
• Feasibility Studies (Technology, Market, and Impact Assessment)
• Technology Development and Testing
• Local Capacity Building and Training
• Pilot Projects
D-Lab focuses on innovative technologies and business models that can allow people at the “bottom of the pyramid” to save or earn more money. D-Lab is building expertise in water pumping and irrigation, post harvest drying and storage, off-grid lighting and micro power, and small-scale renewable energy such as solar and biogas.
How to Get Involved
The UC Davis Program for International Energy Technologies offers five lab modules as an integrated feature of the curriculum. These lab modules include hands-on, practical experience in a laboratory setting, learning about renewable based energy. Lab modules include creating charcoal from agricultural waste, constructing a battery from inexpensive locally available components, understanding both the qualitative and quantitative aspects of lighting including exploring benefits and limitations of solar PV.
Courses at UC Davis
- D-Lab Food & Health (Fall; 2 units) In partnership with the UC Davis Blum Center, this two-unit course is aimed at graduate and undergraduate students who want to learn more about the role of food and health on solving real world issues. The course provides a landscape of Developing Food and Health markets and global poverty.
- D-Lab I: Energy, Agriculture and Development (Winter; 3 units) This course is designed to engage students in energy, agriculture, health, and environmental issues specific to developing countries. The course will focus on strategies to disseminate new technologies and provide hands-on practical experience in designing and implementing sustainable energy and health solutions.
- D-Lab II: Energy, Agriculture and Development: Design, Build, and Test (Spring; 3-units) a studio-style class focusing on design approaches to overcome the barriers for the dissemination of energy technologies appropriate for the developing world. Student teams work with local partners and mentors, to design, prototype, and test scalable solutions for real world energy problems for their client communities.
- Global Poverty Seminar: Think Big, Start Small (2 units, Winter) two-unit course is aimed at undergraduate students who would like to learn more about the landscape of global poverty and get involved with a real project targeted at poverty alleviation. Case studies, guest lectures, and in-class activities will provide students with useful analytical tools for creating their own role in a sustainable solution.
- A Path to Zero Net Energy: A Hands-on Approach (3 units, Spring) – The UC Davis Program for International Energy Technologies in collaboration with the UC Davis Energy Conservation Office, have developed a multi-disciplinary course to educate and engage students in issues of energy use, demand, energy efficiency, renewable energy and climate neutrality as well as their associated technical, economic, social and political challenges.
For more information, see website: http://piet.ucdavis.edu/?page_id=25