The following activities and accomplishments have occurred under the Lumina Project with support through the Rosenfeld Fund at the Blum Center for Developing Economies at UC Berkeley and the U.S. Department of Energy's Global LEAP initiative. Many of our activities have involved coordination or collaboration with other institutions, including:
- World Bank/IFC – Lighting Global Project
- The Global Roundtable on Climate Change at Columbia University (Millenium Villages Project)
- MOT/UNIDO program (via the Haas Business School at UC Berkeley) - Student field projects
- Stanford University, Social Entrepreneurship Startup
- Significant in-kind support/collaboration from private manufacturers of off-grid lighting products
We have built a team for conducting the work that has included, to date, participation by 17 researchers and students.
- Published pioneering research in several key areas:
- Developed the first-ever estimate of global energy expenditures for fuel-based lighting: $38 billion/year (in the journal Science)
- Identified severe product quality concerns and developed the initial quality assurance test protocols that have now been adopted and greatly expanded by the World Bank’s Lighting Global Program. One third of all products on market in Africa were quality-assured as of 2012 and there are currently 45 quality-verified products on the market from 25 manufacturers globally.
- Conducted the first lab-based research to quantify the levels of dangerous PM 2.5 emissions from kerosene lanterns, which determined that the levels can well exceed established USEPA and WHO safety guidelines.
- Performed embodied-energy analysis showing that solar-LED lanterns rapidly “pay back” the energy it takes to manufacture them.
- Assisted the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (in 2006) in evaluating the potential for off-grid lighting innovation in the African marketplace, and to develop a successful proposal to the Global Environmental Facility. This resulted in an multi-million-dollar ongoing Lighting Global initiative to catalyze markets for off-grid lighting solutions. Nearly 8 million people in Africa alone are benefitting from improved lighting under this initiative.
- Developed a novel methodology for greenhouse-gas savings accounting that has been formally adopted by the carbon trading system under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism.
- Advised and inspired many private manufacturers to introduce and improve new products to the marketplace.
- Created the world’s only social network for off-grid lighting, with membership currently at 570 people and organizations from 68 countries (as of April 2014). The network not only fosters collaboration and information sharing within a far-flung community, but also has served to pool unique data on off-grid lighting energy use and real-world field projects designed to deploy replacement products in the marketplace.
- Field Projects & Market Research
- Conducted successful field demonstration of LED lighting (instead of kerosene) in rural chicken production (Kenya) and artisinal night fishing (Tanzania)
- Conducted focus groups with about 90 off-grid lighting users in Western Kenya (in and near Kisumu), which identified realistic product “price points” as well as product attributes desired by end users. This helped the Millennium Villages Project design a market test, and provided manufacturers with impartial feedback on the viability of their products.
- Conducted a field test including interviews with 50 night vendors in Kenya’s Rift Valley Province, and made detailed measurements of kerosene use among a subset of 23 of these businesses. Obtained a high participation rate (~60%) among those purchasing LED products at unsubsidized market prices, plus indications that users are satisfied with the products.
- Conducted student-led field research in India and Tibet.
- Other Accomplishments
- Developed and applied a model for comparative assessment of the costs of ownership of a range of off-grid lighting products.
- Developed a novel data-logger, which has been embedded in LED lights. The logger has provided unique data on usage patterns among the Kenyan night vendors, which will in turn be useful in improving product design (e.g. battery sizing) as well as estimating energy and carbon savings.
- Conducted a broad-based on-line information gathering and communications effort, including: photographs and field reports, creation of an on-line product directory; compilation of data on pilot projects around the world using a navigable Google map; library of publications; and visibility in major popular media outlets.
- Received the Association of Energy Engineers “Project of the Year” award.