In 2017-2018, Duke University launched the Energy Access Project to develop new, collaborative ways to meet the energy needs of some of the world’s most disadvantaged communities, without exacerbating climate change.
Jim Rogers and his wife, M.A. Rogers, established the project with a $1.5 million gift. The Bass Connections Challenge will add $750,000 in matching funds for a total of $2.25 million to support the project’s goal of accelerating deployment of sustainable energy and empowering the world through expanded energy access.
In 2018-2019, the Energy Access Project supported two Bass Connections project teams to assess the economic, political, geographic and cultural challenges to energy access in Zambia and to combine satellite imagery and deep learning techniques to generate maps of electric power grid networks.
In 2019-2020, two Bass Connections project teams are tackling the energy access challenge by:
- Reducing the reliance on wood-fired stoves (a leading cause of premature death in the developing world) by developing an alkaline water electrolyzer and hydrogen storage system that can provide low-cost, clean fuel for cooking and heating
- Using satellite imagery and remote sensing data to help decision-makers expand access to electricity in developing countries.
Key Duke collaborators in the Energy Access Project include the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, the Duke University Energy Initiative, the Sanford School of Public Policy, Bass Connections and the Nicholas School of the Environment.
Image: Wires on a street in Delhi, by T. Rob Fetter