Developing sustainable energy and water resources at the Mpala Research Center - Kenya

Event Type: 
Friday, April 8, 2011 - 1:40pm to 2:40pm
1040 Dana
Event Sponsor: 
School of Natural Resources and Environment


Mpala Masters Project Group - Building a Sustainable Community in Africa
Client: The Mpala Research Centre and The Mpala Wildlife Foundation
Faculty Advisors: Don Scavia, Andy Hoffman, and Abigail Mechtenberg
Student Group Members:
Melissa Antokal, MBA/MS Sustainable Systems
Caitlin Ryan, MS Terrestrial Ecosystems
Pooja Seeba, MSE Civil Engineering/MS Sustainable Systems
Ajay Varadharajan, MSE Mechanical Engineering/MS Sustainable Systems   

The Mpala Wildlife Foundation Master’s Project group from the University of Michigan, supervised by Don Scavia, Andrew Hoffman, and Abigail Mechtenberg, created a sustainability plan for Mpala that can help the research center and ranch move toward self-sufficiency. They evaluated alternative energy sources to power the research centre, giving special consideration to cost-effective methods and reducing or eliminating the need for further reliance on fossil fuels while increasing overall energy capabilities.  They also researched and recommended strategies for water conservation and water efficiency. Finally, they evaluated potential environmental impacts of expanded housing and made recommendations, including energy and water resource use.   The goal of this group was to develop a self-sustainability plan sensitive to local culture, help prepare the organization for a range of climate challenges, and establish a plan that can be replicated in other parts of Kenya and Africa. 

The project involved hybrid optimization of a variety of renewable options and the implementation of energy efficiency measures based on the constraints in an off-grid location in Kenya. The team used HOMER (provided by NREL) for the hybrid optimization process. It also involved a thorough water resource assessment and sustainable water supply, storage and management options.

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