Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology (CREST)

RE for Development

Chigunda Hybrid wind/PV System, Malawi. – © C. Zalengera

Presently around 1.3 billion people do not have access to electricity (IEA 2012). It is unlikely that this figure will fall significantly in the near future as population growth continues.  Electricity is essential for development as the power can be used for lighting, irrigation, education, health care, communication and income generation. Reliance on kerosene lamps for lighting poses health risks, such as burns or inhaling fumes, and limits opportunities to study or work which require adequate light.

Furthermore, traditional cooking and heating using wood, agricultural residues and cattle dung on open fires is practised by 3 billion people. Most are low income and live in developing countries. It is estimated that indoor air pollution causes 2 million premature deaths per year, particularly amongst the critical groups of women and children (WHO 2011). In addition, fuel gathering takes a considerable amount of time, limiting other activities and taking children out of school.  The use of wood fuel on 3-stone fire technologies, with efficiency as low as 5-10%, exacerbates deforestation which contribute to climate change.

The Renewable Energy for Development Research Group at CREST is interested in finding safe sustainable alternatives to the current energy situation occurring in developing countries. Working with partners the group has and is engaged in funded research projects, for example, rural hybrid energy systems in India and photovoltaic micro-grids in Kenya and Bangladesh. The PhD portfolio includes projects in Malawi, Malaysia and Ecuador.

Dr Richard Blanchard - Head of Renewable Energy for Development Research Group.

Find out more about the Research Group's areas of interest below.