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INNOVATION	
  FOR	
  SUSTAINABLE	
  DEVELOPMENT	
  UNDER	
  CLIMATE	
  
CHANGE	
  
ENERGY,	
  FOOD,	
  WATER	
  
	
  
Claude	
  HENRY,	
  Sciences	
  Po	
  Paris	
  and	
  Columbia	
  University	
  (June	
  2015)	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
Introduction	
  
Why	
  should	
  we	
  muster	
  the	
  best	
  of	
  our	
  resources	
  -­‐	
  both	
  human	
  and	
  material	
  -­‐	
  
in	
  order	
  to	
  implement	
  a	
  more	
  sustainable	
  and	
  equitable	
  form	
  of	
  development?	
  
	
  
.because	
  billions	
  of	
  our	
  fellow	
  humans	
  live	
  in	
  unacceptable	
  poverty	
  
	
  
.because	
  the	
  condition	
  of	
  our	
  planet	
  worsens	
  at	
  such	
  a	
  pace	
  that	
  all	
  forms	
  of	
  
life,	
  including	
  ours,	
  will	
  come	
  under	
  the	
  most	
  serious	
  threats	
  during	
  the	
  present	
  
century,	
  be	
  they	
  biodiversity	
  erosion,	
  water	
  and	
  fertile	
  soil	
  scarcity,	
  energy	
  
obesity	
  and	
  climate	
  change.	
  Current	
  generations	
  are	
  –	
  at	
  an	
  unbearable	
  pace	
  -­‐	
  
squandering	
  the	
  heritage	
  of	
  natural	
  capital	
  in	
  their	
  hands.	
  
	
  
It	
  will	
  not	
  be	
  easy,	
  to	
  say	
  the	
  least,	
  to	
  switch	
  from	
  the	
  present	
  development	
  
trajectory	
  to	
  a	
  significantly	
  more	
  sustainable	
  one.	
  Success	
  requires	
  mobilizing	
  
the	
  resources	
  and	
  strengthening	
  the	
  will	
  of	
  human	
  societies:	
  scientific,	
  
technical	
  and	
  managerial	
  resources	
  on	
  one	
  hand,	
  behaviors	
  and	
  institutions	
  on	
  
the	
  other	
  hand.	
  More	
  of	
  the	
  required	
  methods	
  and	
  instruments	
  than	
  currently	
  
appreciated	
  are	
  available;	
  and	
  among	
  those	
  that	
  are	
  not,	
  some	
  of	
  the	
  most	
  
critical	
  ones	
  might	
  be	
  developed	
  in	
  time	
  (electricity	
  storage,	
  carbon	
  capture	
  
from	
  ambient	
  air,	
  biological	
  rather	
  than	
  chemical	
  technologies	
  in	
  agriculture,	
  
etc.).	
  	
  
	
  
However	
  mobilizing	
  science	
  and	
  technology	
  would	
  be	
  of	
  little	
  value	
  if	
  sweeping	
  
changes	
  are	
  not	
  made	
  as	
  regards:	
  the	
  channels	
  for	
  science	
  and	
  technology	
  
dissemination;	
  the	
  incentives	
  orienting	
  individual	
  and	
  collective	
  behaviors;	
  the	
  
design	
  and	
  conduct	
  of	
  institutions	
  for	
  the	
  governance	
  of	
  common	
  concerns,	
  at	
  
all	
  levels	
  from	
  local	
  to	
  worldwide.	
  These	
  changes	
  require	
  huge	
  efforts	
  –	
  and	
  
right	
  now	
  mankind	
  obviously	
  doesn’t	
  seem	
  prepared	
  to	
  make	
  enough	
  of	
  them	
  
2
–	
  but	
  they	
  are	
  not	
  incompatible	
  with	
  economic	
  growth,	
  albeit	
  growth	
  with	
  a	
  
quickly	
  shifting	
  content,	
  some	
  activities	
  being	
  developed	
  very	
  fast,	
  others	
  being	
  
dramatically	
  downsized.	
  
	
  
Science	
  and	
  technology	
  appropriate	
  conception	
  and	
  dissemination,	
  behavioral	
  
innovations,	
  proper	
  institutional	
  design,	
  are	
  of	
  special	
  significance	
  and	
  
potential	
  in	
  developing	
  countries.	
  This	
  I	
  will	
  illustrate	
  for	
  three	
  different	
  
resources	
  in	
  three	
  different	
  countries,	
  energy	
  in	
  India,	
  food	
  in	
  Kenya,	
  water	
  in	
  
Cambodge.	
  To	
  be	
  in	
  coherence	
  with	
  this	
  session’s	
  topic,	
  I’ll	
  only	
  briefly	
  allude	
  
to	
  water	
  and	
  food;	
  I	
  nevertheless	
  want	
  to	
  stress	
  that	
  the	
  concerns	
  and	
  
approaches	
  are	
  similar.	
  
	
  
As	
  emphasized	
  by	
  Richard	
  Nelson:	
  “technological	
  solutions	
  to	
  global	
  problems	
  
must	
  be	
  deployed	
  throughout	
  the	
  world	
  by	
  many	
  different	
  actors	
  in	
  
decentralized	
  ways”	
  (2010);	
  see	
  also	
  von	
  Hippel	
  (2005).	
  This	
  is	
  particularly	
  true	
  
as	
  regards	
  the	
  provision	
  of	
  adequate	
  energy	
  to	
  all	
  people	
  on	
  earth	
  while	
  
containing	
  climate	
  change.	
  It	
  is	
  also	
  true	
  for	
  meeting	
  other	
  essential	
  needs,	
  in	
  
priority	
  food	
  and	
  water	
  availability.	
  
	
  
Let	
  us	
  thus	
  consider	
  how	
  to	
  carry	
  and	
  support	
  decentralized	
  initiatives	
  for	
  
designing	
  and	
  deploying	
  systems	
  -­‐	
  with	
  their	
  various	
  components,	
  technical,	
  
social,	
  economical	
  -­‐	
  meant	
  at	
  sustainably	
  meeting	
  fundamental	
  needs	
  in	
  
developing	
  countries.	
  We	
  base	
  our	
  discussion	
  on	
  three	
  remarkable	
  endeavors	
  
aimed,	
  in	
  the	
  same	
  spirit,	
  at	
  electricity,	
  food	
  or	
  water	
  provision	
  to	
  
disadvantaged	
  communities,	
  in	
  ways	
  that	
  are	
  renewable	
  and	
  sustainable;	
  the	
  
convergences	
  in	
  the	
  three	
  approaches	
  are	
  illuminating.	
  We	
  put	
  special	
  
emphasis	
  on	
  the	
  following	
  factors	
  that	
  sustain	
  innovation	
  and	
  development:	
  
	
  
.	
  	
  entrepreneurship	
  
.	
  	
  technical	
  versatility	
  	
  
.	
  	
  managerial	
  skills	
  and	
  social	
  awareness	
  
.	
  	
  education	
  and	
  knowledge	
  dissemination	
  along	
  appropriate	
  channels.	
  
	
  
	
  
Husk	
  Power	
  Systems:	
  providing	
  electricity	
  in	
  rural	
  India	
  
	
  
3
In	
  2007,	
  an	
  Indian	
  engineer,	
  Gyanesh	
  Pandey,	
  who	
  had	
  graduated	
  in	
  electrical	
  
engineering	
  at	
  Rensselaer	
  Polytechnic	
  (Troy,	
  NY,	
  USA),	
  and	
  who	
  at	
  the	
  time	
  had	
  
a	
  gratifying	
  job	
  in	
  Los	
  Angeles,	
  decided	
  to	
  head	
  back	
  to	
  his	
  native	
  Bihar.	
  Bihar	
  is	
  
mostly	
  rural	
  and	
  is	
  one	
  of	
  the	
  poorest	
  states	
  in	
  the	
  Indian	
  Federation.	
  More	
  
than	
  80%	
  of	
  households	
  there	
  are	
  deprived	
  of	
  access	
  to	
  electricity,	
  a	
  proportion	
  
that	
  both	
  reveals	
  and	
  breeds	
  poverty.	
  Those	
  who	
  can	
  afford	
  them	
  use	
  
inconvenient	
  and	
  costly	
  kerosene	
  lamps	
  that	
  generate	
  indoor	
  pollution;	
  diesel	
  
generators,	
  also	
  polluting	
  and	
  costly,	
  are	
  used	
  to	
  pump	
  water	
  for	
  irrigation	
  and	
  
sustain	
  artisanal	
  and	
  commercial	
  activities.	
  
	
  
Pandey	
  himself	
  doesn’t	
  come	
  from	
  a	
  well-­‐off	
  family,	
  and	
  when	
  a	
  child	
  suffered	
  
from	
  the	
  lack	
  of	
  proper	
  lighting.	
  By	
  2007	
  he	
  was	
  determined	
  to	
  try	
  and	
  muster	
  
his	
  technical	
  skills	
  to	
  remedy	
  the	
  situation	
  in	
  his	
  home	
  state.	
  After	
  a	
  few	
  
unconvincing	
  attempts	
  with	
  solar	
  cells	
  and	
  biofuels,	
  he	
  came	
  to	
  the	
  idea	
  of	
  
using	
  rice	
  husk	
  to	
  generate	
  electricity.	
  He	
  teamed	
  with	
  a	
  local	
  entrepreneur	
  
and	
  with	
  two	
  Indian	
  graduates	
  from	
  Virginia	
  University’s	
  Darden	
  Business	
  
School.	
  Husk	
  Power	
  Systems	
  was	
  started	
  in	
  2009.	
  
	
  
In	
  Bihar	
  rice	
  is	
  the	
  dominant	
  crop;	
  husk,	
  i.e.	
  the	
  envelope	
  of	
  the	
  rice	
  grains,	
  is	
  
thus	
  abundant.	
  It	
  is	
  good	
  neither	
  for	
  burning	
  in	
  stoves	
  (because	
  of	
  its	
  very	
  high	
  
content	
  	
  	
  in	
  silica)	
  nor	
  for	
  returning	
  nutrients	
  to	
  the	
  soil	
  (because	
  of	
  its	
  low	
  
content	
  in	
  nutrients).	
  However	
  it	
  can	
  be	
  decomposed	
  by	
  fermentation	
  in	
  a	
  
gasifier.	
  Because	
  it	
  had	
  very	
  few	
  uses,	
  75/80%	
  of	
  the	
  2M	
  tons	
  obtained	
  each	
  
year,	
  as	
  byproduct	
  of	
  the	
  rice	
  crop,	
  were	
  rotting	
  in	
  landfills.	
  The	
  resource	
  is	
  
thus	
  plentiful,	
  and	
  its	
  use	
  as	
  precursor	
  of	
  fuel	
  doesn’t	
  harm	
  any	
  other	
  activity	
  
food	
  production	
  in	
  particular.	
  
	
  
At	
  Husk	
  Power	
  Systems	
  small	
  simple	
  gasifiers	
  are	
  fed	
  with	
  husk.	
  The	
  gas	
  is	
  then	
  
burnt	
  to	
  drive	
  a	
  turbine,	
  from	
  which	
  electricity	
  is	
  produced	
  in	
  a	
  standard	
  way.	
  
Typically	
  a	
  32kw	
  plant	
  consumes	
  50kg	
  of	
  husk	
  per	
  hour.	
  The	
  components,	
  from	
  
which	
  these	
  mini	
  power	
  plants	
  are	
  made,	
  are	
  not	
  tailor-­‐made;	
  they	
  are	
  bought	
  
in	
  such	
  conditions	
  that	
  costs	
  are	
  minimized;	
  however	
  their	
  arrangement	
  into	
  a	
  
specific	
  equipment	
  is	
  innovative,	
  with	
  its	
  quest	
  for	
  simplicity	
  and	
  efficiency	
  in	
  
using	
  an	
  unusual	
  fuel.	
  
	
  
4
Typically	
  the	
  investment	
  cost	
  is	
  about	
  $	
  1300	
  per	
  kw,	
  partially	
  paid	
  for	
  by	
  
consumers	
  and	
  partially	
  by	
  modest	
  grants	
  from	
  the	
  Indian	
  Federal	
  
Government,	
  the	
  International	
  Finance	
  Corporation	
  and	
  foundations	
  like	
  the	
  
Shell	
  Foundation	
  and	
  the	
  Fondation	
  Alstom.	
  The	
  variable	
  cost	
  is	
  about	
  $	
  0.15	
  
per	
  kwh,	
  and	
  is	
  covered	
  by	
  consumers	
  in	
  counterpart	
  for	
  the	
  delivery	
  of	
  	
  
enough	
  electricity	
  for	
  one	
  or	
  two	
  low	
  consumption	
  bulbs	
  and	
  mobile	
  phone	
  
recharges;	
  what	
  consumers	
  pay	
  is	
  about	
  half	
  the	
  expense	
  of	
  a	
  kerosene	
  lamp.	
  
At	
  a	
  modest	
  additional	
  price,	
  electric	
  stoves	
  can	
  also	
  be	
  powered.	
  	
  Electricity	
  is	
  
distributed	
  through	
  local	
  mini	
  networks,	
  i.e.	
  simple	
  wiring	
  of	
  a	
  few	
  villages	
  
totalling	
  up	
  to	
  4000	
  inhabitants,	
  for	
  whom	
  it	
  becomes	
  possible	
  to	
  extend	
  home	
  
activities,	
  in	
  particular	
  student	
  work,	
  beyond	
  daylight	
  hours.	
  For	
  artisanal	
  and	
  
commercial	
  activities	
  it	
  represents	
  a	
  less	
  polluting,	
  more	
  convenient	
  and	
  
cheaper	
  source	
  of	
  energy,	
  making	
  them	
  more	
  productive.	
  Each	
  local	
  network	
  
allows	
  the	
  saving	
  of	
  about	
  40.000l	
  of	
  kerosene	
  and	
  20.000l	
  of	
  diesel	
  per	
  year;	
  it	
  
also	
  saves	
  firewood,	
  and	
  for	
  women	
  the	
  time	
  and	
  effort	
  of	
  collecting	
  firewood.	
  
Last	
  but	
  not	
  least,	
  one	
  of	
  the	
  greatest	
  benefits	
  is	
  the	
  reduction	
  of	
  indoor	
  
pollution	
  and	
  the	
  health	
  hazards	
  such	
  pollution	
  provokes.	
  
	
  
At	
  the”	
  Husk	
  Power	
  University”	
  (in	
  German	
  it	
  would	
  more	
  accurately	
  be	
  called	
  	
  
“Technische	
  Schule”),	
  most	
  students	
  are	
  recruited	
  locally.	
  They	
  are	
  trained	
  
either	
  as	
  “plant’s	
  junior	
  mechanic”-­‐	
  	
  with	
  the	
  perspective	
  of	
  being	
  put	
  in	
  charge	
  
of	
  operation	
  and	
  maintenance	
  of	
  a	
  single	
  plant	
  (an	
  eight	
  weeks	
  course)	
  or	
  
“senior	
  mechanic”	
  and	
  middle	
  manager	
  for	
  a	
  number	
  of	
  plants,	
  with	
  the	
  ability	
  
to	
  face	
  more	
  intricate	
  problems	
  than	
  those	
  dealt	
  with	
  at	
  plant	
  level	
  (	
  a	
  six	
  
months	
  course).	
  
	
  
Husk	
  Power	
  System	
  is	
  more	
  than	
  a	
  technical	
  innovation,	
  however	
  valuable	
  it	
  is	
  
in	
  this	
  respect.	
  It	
  integrates	
  into	
  the	
  economic	
  life	
  of	
  the	
  communities	
  involved	
  
a	
  local,	
  abundant	
  and	
  underutilized	
  raw	
  resource.	
  It	
  also	
  promotes	
  local	
  talents.	
  
And	
  providing	
  an	
  essential	
  service,	
  it	
  transforms	
  the	
  economic,	
  social	
  and	
  
health	
  conditions	
  of	
  the	
  communities	
  it	
  serves.	
  Within	
  four	
  years,	
  almost	
  100	
  
plants	
  and	
  networks	
  have	
  been	
  set	
  up	
  with	
  cumulative	
  	
  improvements	
  in	
  
service	
  and	
  costs.	
  The	
  pace	
  of	
  development	
  is	
  accelerating	
  and	
  inroads	
  have	
  
been	
  made	
  into	
  a	
  neighbouring	
  state,	
  Utar	
  Pradesh;	
  there	
  is	
  interest	
  in	
  
Bangladesh	
  as	
  well	
  (see	
  Islam	
  and	
  Ahiduzzaman	
  2013).	
  Pandey	
  himself	
  
5
concludes	
  that	
  the	
  main	
  lesson	
  of	
  the	
  endeavor	
  is	
  about	
  how	
  to	
  create	
  a	
  
system	
  providing	
  an	
  essential	
  service,	
  adapted	
  to	
  the	
  needs	
  of	
  poor	
  people,	
  out	
  
of	
  the	
  material	
  and	
  labor	
  resources	
  that	
  are	
  readily	
  available	
  locally.	
  	
  
	
  
	
  
Push	
  pull	
  systems:	
  protecting	
  crops	
  in	
  Kenya	
  
	
  
This	
  biology-­‐based	
  method	
  of	
  protecting	
  maize	
  in	
  East	
  Africa	
  is	
  the	
  product	
  of	
  a	
  
joint	
  project	
  (see	
  Icipe	
  2011)	
  at	
  the	
  International	
  Centre	
  of	
  Insect	
  Physiology	
  
and	
  Ecology	
  (Icipe,	
  Kenya)	
  and	
  Rothamsted	
  Research,	
  UK,	
  one	
  of	
  the	
  longest	
  
running	
   and	
   most	
   productive	
   agricultural	
   research	
   stations	
   in	
   the	
   world,	
  
established	
   in	
   1843	
   and	
   known	
   for	
   a	
   long	
   time	
   as	
   Rothamsted	
   Experimental	
  
Station.	
   The	
   targets	
   are	
   maize	
   stemborers,	
   i.e.	
   larvae	
   of	
   various	
   moths	
   that	
  
attack	
  maize	
  -­‐	
  the	
  main	
  crop	
  in	
  East	
  Africa	
  -­‐	
  from	
  the	
  inside	
  of	
  the	
  stems;	
  if	
  
unchecked,	
   stemborers	
   reduce	
   yields	
   by	
   20-­‐40%;	
   sometimes	
   up	
   to	
   80%.	
   As	
  
research	
  progressed	
  a	
  second	
  target	
  popped	
  up	
  by	
  chance,	
  or	
  more	
  accurately	
  
by	
   recognition	
   of	
   an	
   unexpected	
   side	
   effect:	
   striga	
   hermontica,	
   a	
   weed	
  
extremely	
  difficult	
  to	
  eradicate	
  by	
  conventional	
  methods	
  as	
  it	
  parasitizes	
  the	
  
maize,	
  the	
  yield	
  losses	
  ranging	
  from	
  30	
  to	
  100%	
  in	
  the	
  infested	
  fields.	
  
	
  
Pesticides	
   are	
   not	
   very	
   effective	
   to	
   reach	
   larvae	
   inside	
   the	
   stems.	
   An	
   all	
   too	
  
common	
   reaction	
   is	
   for	
   the	
   farmers	
   to	
   increase	
   the	
   quantities	
   applied;	
   that	
  
results	
  in	
  more	
  harm	
  to	
  soil	
  biodiversity	
  than	
  to	
  pests.	
  And	
  yet	
  the	
  stakes	
  are	
  
high;	
  according	
  to	
  Icipe	
  (2011),	
  ”preventing	
  crop	
  losses	
  from	
  stemborers	
  could	
  
increase	
  maize	
  harvests	
  by	
  enough	
  to	
  feed	
  an	
  additional	
  27	
  million	
  people	
  in	
  
the	
  region.”	
  This	
  sounds	
  like	
  a	
  strong	
  motivation	
  to	
  try	
  and	
  find	
  effective	
  ways,	
  
if	
  not	
  to	
  eradicate	
  the	
  pest,	
  at	
  least	
  to	
  keep	
  the	
  stemborer	
  populations	
  within	
  
limits	
  so	
  they	
  cause	
  little	
  harm,	
  while	
  minimizing	
  negative	
  effects	
  to	
  soil	
  and	
  	
  
environment.	
   Research	
   led	
   to	
   identifying	
   a	
   tree	
   (that	
   it	
   is	
   a	
   tree	
   that	
   fixes	
  
nitrogen	
  from	
  ambient	
  air	
  is	
  a	
  bonus),	
  silverleaf	
  desmodium,	
  for	
  the	
  push,	
  and	
  
two	
   varieties	
   of	
   grass,	
   Napier	
   grass	
   and	
   Sudan	
   grass,	
   for	
   the	
   pull.	
   The	
  
reseachers	
  considered	
  a	
  few	
  candidates	
  for	
  push,	
  and	
  a	
  stunning	
  400	
  varieties	
  
of	
  grass	
  for	
  pull.	
  Desmodium	
  and	
  Napier/Sudan	
  grass	
  were	
  selected	
  for	
  several	
  
interrelated	
  reasons:	
  
	
  
6
.	
  Desmodium,	
  that	
  is	
  intercropped	
  with	
  maize,	
  repels	
  female	
  moths	
  and	
  thus	
  
deters	
  them	
  to	
  lay	
  their	
  eggs	
  on	
  the	
  maize	
  lines.	
  That	
  worked	
  as	
  anticipated.	
  	
  
What	
   was	
   not	
   anticipated	
   is	
   that	
   their	
   roots	
   emit	
   in	
   the	
   soil	
   a	
   chemical	
  
substance	
  that	
  checks	
  the	
  growth	
  of	
  the	
  striga	
  weed;	
  in	
  the	
  experimental	
  fields	
  
with	
   maize	
   and	
   desmodium,	
   the	
   progressive	
   disappearance	
   of	
   striga	
   was	
  
observed	
  with	
  a	
  measure	
  of	
  surprise	
  and	
  then	
  great	
  satisfaction.	
  	
  	
  
	
  .	
  Napier/Sudan	
  grass,	
  which	
  is	
  planted	
  along	
  the	
  borders	
  of	
  maize-­‐desmodium	
  
parcels,	
  emits	
  volatile	
  chemical	
  substances	
  that	
  attract	
  female	
  moths	
  and	
  make	
  
them	
  lay	
  their	
  eggs	
  there;	
  the	
  grass	
  is	
  also	
  home	
  to	
  various	
  predators	
  of	
  the	
  
eggs,	
   or	
   of	
   the	
   larvae	
   coming	
   out	
   of	
   these	
   eggs;	
   these	
   are	
   ants,	
   earwigs,	
  
spiders,	
  and	
  a	
  remarkable	
  variety	
  of	
  tiny	
  wasps	
  that	
  parasitize	
  eggs.	
  Another	
  
reason	
  why	
  Napier/Sudan	
  grass	
  was	
  selected	
  is	
  that	
  it	
  provides	
  valuable	
  fodder	
  
for	
  livestock.	
  
	
  
	
  Adoption	
   by	
   50,000	
   smallholders	
   (by	
   2012)	
   has	
   resulted	
   from	
   an	
   effort	
   of	
  
associating	
   farmers	
   to	
   the	
   experiments,	
   and	
   from	
   broad	
   knowledge	
  
dissemination	
   and	
   demonstration	
   of	
   results.	
   Adoption	
   takes	
   place	
   at	
   an	
  
accelerating	
  rate	
  that	
  makes	
  the	
  million	
  adopters	
  by	
  2020	
  a	
  realistic	
  objective.	
  
This	
  is	
  mainly	
  the	
  effect	
  of	
  demonstrated	
  increases	
  in	
  yields:	
  control	
  yields	
  on	
  
maize	
  monocrop	
  fields	
  are	
  typically	
  between	
  1	
  and	
  2	
  tons/ha/year;	
  on	
  push-­‐
pull	
  fields	
  they	
  are	
  between	
  4	
  and	
  5,	
  moreover	
  with	
  less	
  volatility.	
  
	
  
At	
  this	
  point,	
  Voltaire	
  would	
  warn	
  against	
  the	
  Candide	
  delusion.	
  And	
  indeed,	
  
with	
   all	
   its	
   virtues,	
   push-­‐pull	
   is	
   not	
   without	
   its	
   problems:	
   the	
   broad	
   use	
   of	
  
Napier	
  grass	
  causes	
  the	
  spread	
  of	
  a	
  disease	
  hitherto	
  marginal,	
  and	
  desmodium	
  
is	
  attacked	
  by	
  its	
  own	
  variety	
  of	
  borer.	
  Nothing	
  is	
  more	
  inventive	
  than	
  life,	
  with	
  
positive	
   effects	
   that	
   human	
   endeavors	
   can	
   take	
   advantage	
   of,	
   and	
   negative	
  
ones	
  that	
  they	
  must	
  try	
  and	
  circumvent.	
  In	
  this	
  case,	
  researchers	
  are	
  back	
  to	
  
work,	
  trying	
  inter	
  alia	
  to	
  identify	
  and	
  transfer	
  resistance	
  genes	
  among	
  various	
  
strains	
  of	
  desmodium.	
  
	
  
	
  
Mille	
  et	
  une	
  fontaines:	
  providing	
  drinking	
  water	
  in	
  Cambodia	
  
	
  
7
Aiming	
  at	
  the	
  provision	
  of	
  safe	
  drinking	
  water	
  in	
  rural	
  Cambodge.	
  	
  Mille	
  et	
  une	
  
fontaines	
  has	
  been	
  designed	
  independently	
  from	
  Husk	
  Power	
  Systems,	
  but	
  
their	
  structures	
  have	
  striking	
  similarities,	
  that	
  reflect	
  converging	
  assessments	
  of	
  
similar	
  circumstances.	
  In	
  both	
  cases	
  :	
  
	
  
.	
  entrepreneurship	
  is	
  a	
  driving	
  force	
  (see	
  Rambicur	
  et	
  Jaquenoud	
  2013)	
  
.	
  technology	
  is	
  characterized	
  by	
  innovative	
  sobriety	
  	
  
.	
  production	
  is	
  centered	
  on	
  	
  preexisting	
  communities	
  of	
  consumers,	
  a	
  village	
  or	
  	
  
	
  	
  	
  a	
  small	
  cluster	
  of	
  villages	
  
.	
  the	
  articulation	
  between	
  (i)	
  local	
  plants	
  run	
  by	
  local	
  technicians-­‐managers	
  
	
  	
  	
  recruited	
  from	
  the	
  local	
  communities	
  and	
  trained	
  in	
  the	
  	
  Mille	
  et	
  une	
  
	
  	
  	
  Fontaines	
  «	
  Academy	
  »	
  (similar	
  to	
  the	
  HPS	
  «	
  University	
  »)	
  and	
  (ii)	
  a	
  central	
  	
  
	
  	
  body	
  for	
  dealing	
  with	
  problems	
  that	
  cannot	
  be	
  solved	
  at	
  local	
  level	
  and	
  for	
  	
  
	
  	
  	
  sustaining	
  the	
  geographic	
  expansion	
  of	
  the	
  system	
  (60	
  plants	
  in	
  2011,	
  120	
  in	
  	
  
	
  	
  	
  	
  2013	
  and	
  250	
  in	
  2015-­‐6),	
  is	
  carefully	
  designed	
  and	
  monitored	
  	
  	
  	
  
.	
  interactions	
  with	
  consumers	
  are	
  also	
  closely	
  monitored.	
  In	
  the	
  case	
  	
  of	
  	
  Mille	
  
et	
  une	
  fontaines,	
  the	
  priority	
  in	
  this	
  respect	
  is	
  to	
  convince	
  the	
  villagers	
  that	
  
getting	
  safe	
  drinking	
  water	
  is	
  worth	
  paying	
  a	
  price	
  that,	
  however	
  modest,	
  is	
  not	
  
negligible	
  for	
  them.	
  HSP	
  has	
  similar	
  concerns.	
  
	
  
	
  
Conclusion	
  
	
  
In	
  defining	
  and	
  implementing	
  objectives	
  in	
  the	
  above	
  situations,	
  it	
  appears	
  
that:	
  
	
  
.	
  entrepreneurship	
  is	
  a	
  driving	
  force	
  ,	
  embodied	
  in	
  small	
  teams	
  of	
  pioneers	
  or	
  	
  
	
  	
  	
  in	
  local	
  R&D	
  organizations	
  
	
  
.	
  technology	
  is	
  “as	
  simple	
  as	
  possible,	
  but	
  no	
  simpler”	
  -­‐	
  to	
  paraphrase	
  Albert	
  	
  
	
  	
  Einstein’s	
  recommendation	
  about	
  the	
  use	
  of	
  mathematics	
  by	
  his	
  students	
  in	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  
physics	
  -­‐	
  with	
  special	
  attention	
  to	
  the	
  specificities	
  of	
  the	
  problem	
  at	
  hand	
  and	
  	
  	
  
	
  	
  	
  the	
  reliability	
  of	
  the	
  system	
  designed	
  
	
  
.	
  implementation	
  is	
  centered	
  on	
  preexisting	
  communities	
  of	
  consumers	
  or	
  	
  
8
	
  	
  producers	
  and	
  on	
  underused	
  locally	
  available	
  human	
  and	
  material	
  resources	
  	
  
	
  
.	
  there	
  is	
  a	
  duality	
  between	
  the	
  running	
  of	
  the	
  local	
  means	
  of	
  production	
  and	
  
the impulse and supervision from the core of entrepreneurship, with
interactions closely monitored.
	
  
	
  
References	
  
	
  
Icipe (2011), Push-pull: A model for Africa’s green revolution, Report.
	
  
Islam, S. and M. Ahiduzzaman, « Green electricity from rice husk : a model for
Bengladesh », chapter 6 in Mohammad Rasul, ed. (2013), Thermal power plants
– Advanced applications, InTech Open Access Publishing.
Mowery, D., R. Nelson and B. Martin (2010), “Technology policy and global
warming: Why new policy models are needed”, Research Policy, 39: 1011-
1023.
Rambicur,	
  J.-­‐F.	
  et	
  F.	
  Jaquenoud	
  (2013),	
  «	
  Pour	
  une	
  nouvelle	
  économie	
  de	
  l’eau	
  
potable	
  »,	
  Le	
  Journal	
  de	
  l’Ecole	
  de	
  Paris,	
  102	
  :	
  25-­‐31.	
  
Von	
   Hippel,	
   E.	
   (2005),	
   Democratizing	
   Innovation,	
   Cambridge,	
   Mass.:	
   M.I.T.	
  
Press.	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  

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Claude Henry,IDDRI Sciences Po Parigi - Columbia University New York

  • 1. 1       INNOVATION  FOR  SUSTAINABLE  DEVELOPMENT  UNDER  CLIMATE   CHANGE   ENERGY,  FOOD,  WATER     Claude  HENRY,  Sciences  Po  Paris  and  Columbia  University  (June  2015)         Introduction   Why  should  we  muster  the  best  of  our  resources  -­‐  both  human  and  material  -­‐   in  order  to  implement  a  more  sustainable  and  equitable  form  of  development?     .because  billions  of  our  fellow  humans  live  in  unacceptable  poverty     .because  the  condition  of  our  planet  worsens  at  such  a  pace  that  all  forms  of   life,  including  ours,  will  come  under  the  most  serious  threats  during  the  present   century,  be  they  biodiversity  erosion,  water  and  fertile  soil  scarcity,  energy   obesity  and  climate  change.  Current  generations  are  –  at  an  unbearable  pace  -­‐   squandering  the  heritage  of  natural  capital  in  their  hands.     It  will  not  be  easy,  to  say  the  least,  to  switch  from  the  present  development   trajectory  to  a  significantly  more  sustainable  one.  Success  requires  mobilizing   the  resources  and  strengthening  the  will  of  human  societies:  scientific,   technical  and  managerial  resources  on  one  hand,  behaviors  and  institutions  on   the  other  hand.  More  of  the  required  methods  and  instruments  than  currently   appreciated  are  available;  and  among  those  that  are  not,  some  of  the  most   critical  ones  might  be  developed  in  time  (electricity  storage,  carbon  capture   from  ambient  air,  biological  rather  than  chemical  technologies  in  agriculture,   etc.).       However  mobilizing  science  and  technology  would  be  of  little  value  if  sweeping   changes  are  not  made  as  regards:  the  channels  for  science  and  technology   dissemination;  the  incentives  orienting  individual  and  collective  behaviors;  the   design  and  conduct  of  institutions  for  the  governance  of  common  concerns,  at   all  levels  from  local  to  worldwide.  These  changes  require  huge  efforts  –  and   right  now  mankind  obviously  doesn’t  seem  prepared  to  make  enough  of  them  
  • 2. 2 –  but  they  are  not  incompatible  with  economic  growth,  albeit  growth  with  a   quickly  shifting  content,  some  activities  being  developed  very  fast,  others  being   dramatically  downsized.     Science  and  technology  appropriate  conception  and  dissemination,  behavioral   innovations,  proper  institutional  design,  are  of  special  significance  and   potential  in  developing  countries.  This  I  will  illustrate  for  three  different   resources  in  three  different  countries,  energy  in  India,  food  in  Kenya,  water  in   Cambodge.  To  be  in  coherence  with  this  session’s  topic,  I’ll  only  briefly  allude   to  water  and  food;  I  nevertheless  want  to  stress  that  the  concerns  and   approaches  are  similar.     As  emphasized  by  Richard  Nelson:  “technological  solutions  to  global  problems   must  be  deployed  throughout  the  world  by  many  different  actors  in   decentralized  ways”  (2010);  see  also  von  Hippel  (2005).  This  is  particularly  true   as  regards  the  provision  of  adequate  energy  to  all  people  on  earth  while   containing  climate  change.  It  is  also  true  for  meeting  other  essential  needs,  in   priority  food  and  water  availability.     Let  us  thus  consider  how  to  carry  and  support  decentralized  initiatives  for   designing  and  deploying  systems  -­‐  with  their  various  components,  technical,   social,  economical  -­‐  meant  at  sustainably  meeting  fundamental  needs  in   developing  countries.  We  base  our  discussion  on  three  remarkable  endeavors   aimed,  in  the  same  spirit,  at  electricity,  food  or  water  provision  to   disadvantaged  communities,  in  ways  that  are  renewable  and  sustainable;  the   convergences  in  the  three  approaches  are  illuminating.  We  put  special   emphasis  on  the  following  factors  that  sustain  innovation  and  development:     .    entrepreneurship   .    technical  versatility     .    managerial  skills  and  social  awareness   .    education  and  knowledge  dissemination  along  appropriate  channels.       Husk  Power  Systems:  providing  electricity  in  rural  India    
  • 3. 3 In  2007,  an  Indian  engineer,  Gyanesh  Pandey,  who  had  graduated  in  electrical   engineering  at  Rensselaer  Polytechnic  (Troy,  NY,  USA),  and  who  at  the  time  had   a  gratifying  job  in  Los  Angeles,  decided  to  head  back  to  his  native  Bihar.  Bihar  is   mostly  rural  and  is  one  of  the  poorest  states  in  the  Indian  Federation.  More   than  80%  of  households  there  are  deprived  of  access  to  electricity,  a  proportion   that  both  reveals  and  breeds  poverty.  Those  who  can  afford  them  use   inconvenient  and  costly  kerosene  lamps  that  generate  indoor  pollution;  diesel   generators,  also  polluting  and  costly,  are  used  to  pump  water  for  irrigation  and   sustain  artisanal  and  commercial  activities.     Pandey  himself  doesn’t  come  from  a  well-­‐off  family,  and  when  a  child  suffered   from  the  lack  of  proper  lighting.  By  2007  he  was  determined  to  try  and  muster   his  technical  skills  to  remedy  the  situation  in  his  home  state.  After  a  few   unconvincing  attempts  with  solar  cells  and  biofuels,  he  came  to  the  idea  of   using  rice  husk  to  generate  electricity.  He  teamed  with  a  local  entrepreneur   and  with  two  Indian  graduates  from  Virginia  University’s  Darden  Business   School.  Husk  Power  Systems  was  started  in  2009.     In  Bihar  rice  is  the  dominant  crop;  husk,  i.e.  the  envelope  of  the  rice  grains,  is   thus  abundant.  It  is  good  neither  for  burning  in  stoves  (because  of  its  very  high   content      in  silica)  nor  for  returning  nutrients  to  the  soil  (because  of  its  low   content  in  nutrients).  However  it  can  be  decomposed  by  fermentation  in  a   gasifier.  Because  it  had  very  few  uses,  75/80%  of  the  2M  tons  obtained  each   year,  as  byproduct  of  the  rice  crop,  were  rotting  in  landfills.  The  resource  is   thus  plentiful,  and  its  use  as  precursor  of  fuel  doesn’t  harm  any  other  activity   food  production  in  particular.     At  Husk  Power  Systems  small  simple  gasifiers  are  fed  with  husk.  The  gas  is  then   burnt  to  drive  a  turbine,  from  which  electricity  is  produced  in  a  standard  way.   Typically  a  32kw  plant  consumes  50kg  of  husk  per  hour.  The  components,  from   which  these  mini  power  plants  are  made,  are  not  tailor-­‐made;  they  are  bought   in  such  conditions  that  costs  are  minimized;  however  their  arrangement  into  a   specific  equipment  is  innovative,  with  its  quest  for  simplicity  and  efficiency  in   using  an  unusual  fuel.    
  • 4. 4 Typically  the  investment  cost  is  about  $  1300  per  kw,  partially  paid  for  by   consumers  and  partially  by  modest  grants  from  the  Indian  Federal   Government,  the  International  Finance  Corporation  and  foundations  like  the   Shell  Foundation  and  the  Fondation  Alstom.  The  variable  cost  is  about  $  0.15   per  kwh,  and  is  covered  by  consumers  in  counterpart  for  the  delivery  of     enough  electricity  for  one  or  two  low  consumption  bulbs  and  mobile  phone   recharges;  what  consumers  pay  is  about  half  the  expense  of  a  kerosene  lamp.   At  a  modest  additional  price,  electric  stoves  can  also  be  powered.    Electricity  is   distributed  through  local  mini  networks,  i.e.  simple  wiring  of  a  few  villages   totalling  up  to  4000  inhabitants,  for  whom  it  becomes  possible  to  extend  home   activities,  in  particular  student  work,  beyond  daylight  hours.  For  artisanal  and   commercial  activities  it  represents  a  less  polluting,  more  convenient  and   cheaper  source  of  energy,  making  them  more  productive.  Each  local  network   allows  the  saving  of  about  40.000l  of  kerosene  and  20.000l  of  diesel  per  year;  it   also  saves  firewood,  and  for  women  the  time  and  effort  of  collecting  firewood.   Last  but  not  least,  one  of  the  greatest  benefits  is  the  reduction  of  indoor   pollution  and  the  health  hazards  such  pollution  provokes.     At  the”  Husk  Power  University”  (in  German  it  would  more  accurately  be  called     “Technische  Schule”),  most  students  are  recruited  locally.  They  are  trained   either  as  “plant’s  junior  mechanic”-­‐    with  the  perspective  of  being  put  in  charge   of  operation  and  maintenance  of  a  single  plant  (an  eight  weeks  course)  or   “senior  mechanic”  and  middle  manager  for  a  number  of  plants,  with  the  ability   to  face  more  intricate  problems  than  those  dealt  with  at  plant  level  (  a  six   months  course).     Husk  Power  System  is  more  than  a  technical  innovation,  however  valuable  it  is   in  this  respect.  It  integrates  into  the  economic  life  of  the  communities  involved   a  local,  abundant  and  underutilized  raw  resource.  It  also  promotes  local  talents.   And  providing  an  essential  service,  it  transforms  the  economic,  social  and   health  conditions  of  the  communities  it  serves.  Within  four  years,  almost  100   plants  and  networks  have  been  set  up  with  cumulative    improvements  in   service  and  costs.  The  pace  of  development  is  accelerating  and  inroads  have   been  made  into  a  neighbouring  state,  Utar  Pradesh;  there  is  interest  in   Bangladesh  as  well  (see  Islam  and  Ahiduzzaman  2013).  Pandey  himself  
  • 5. 5 concludes  that  the  main  lesson  of  the  endeavor  is  about  how  to  create  a   system  providing  an  essential  service,  adapted  to  the  needs  of  poor  people,  out   of  the  material  and  labor  resources  that  are  readily  available  locally.         Push  pull  systems:  protecting  crops  in  Kenya     This  biology-­‐based  method  of  protecting  maize  in  East  Africa  is  the  product  of  a   joint  project  (see  Icipe  2011)  at  the  International  Centre  of  Insect  Physiology   and  Ecology  (Icipe,  Kenya)  and  Rothamsted  Research,  UK,  one  of  the  longest   running   and   most   productive   agricultural   research   stations   in   the   world,   established   in   1843   and   known   for   a   long   time   as   Rothamsted   Experimental   Station.   The   targets   are   maize   stemborers,   i.e.   larvae   of   various   moths   that   attack  maize  -­‐  the  main  crop  in  East  Africa  -­‐  from  the  inside  of  the  stems;  if   unchecked,   stemborers   reduce   yields   by   20-­‐40%;   sometimes   up   to   80%.   As   research  progressed  a  second  target  popped  up  by  chance,  or  more  accurately   by   recognition   of   an   unexpected   side   effect:   striga   hermontica,   a   weed   extremely  difficult  to  eradicate  by  conventional  methods  as  it  parasitizes  the   maize,  the  yield  losses  ranging  from  30  to  100%  in  the  infested  fields.     Pesticides   are   not   very   effective   to   reach   larvae   inside   the   stems.   An   all   too   common   reaction   is   for   the   farmers   to   increase   the   quantities   applied;   that   results  in  more  harm  to  soil  biodiversity  than  to  pests.  And  yet  the  stakes  are   high;  according  to  Icipe  (2011),  ”preventing  crop  losses  from  stemborers  could   increase  maize  harvests  by  enough  to  feed  an  additional  27  million  people  in   the  region.”  This  sounds  like  a  strong  motivation  to  try  and  find  effective  ways,   if  not  to  eradicate  the  pest,  at  least  to  keep  the  stemborer  populations  within   limits  so  they  cause  little  harm,  while  minimizing  negative  effects  to  soil  and     environment.   Research   led   to   identifying   a   tree   (that   it   is   a   tree   that   fixes   nitrogen  from  ambient  air  is  a  bonus),  silverleaf  desmodium,  for  the  push,  and   two   varieties   of   grass,   Napier   grass   and   Sudan   grass,   for   the   pull.   The   reseachers  considered  a  few  candidates  for  push,  and  a  stunning  400  varieties   of  grass  for  pull.  Desmodium  and  Napier/Sudan  grass  were  selected  for  several   interrelated  reasons:    
  • 6. 6 .  Desmodium,  that  is  intercropped  with  maize,  repels  female  moths  and  thus   deters  them  to  lay  their  eggs  on  the  maize  lines.  That  worked  as  anticipated.     What   was   not   anticipated   is   that   their   roots   emit   in   the   soil   a   chemical   substance  that  checks  the  growth  of  the  striga  weed;  in  the  experimental  fields   with   maize   and   desmodium,   the   progressive   disappearance   of   striga   was   observed  with  a  measure  of  surprise  and  then  great  satisfaction.        .  Napier/Sudan  grass,  which  is  planted  along  the  borders  of  maize-­‐desmodium   parcels,  emits  volatile  chemical  substances  that  attract  female  moths  and  make   them  lay  their  eggs  there;  the  grass  is  also  home  to  various  predators  of  the   eggs,   or   of   the   larvae   coming   out   of   these   eggs;   these   are   ants,   earwigs,   spiders,  and  a  remarkable  variety  of  tiny  wasps  that  parasitize  eggs.  Another   reason  why  Napier/Sudan  grass  was  selected  is  that  it  provides  valuable  fodder   for  livestock.      Adoption   by   50,000   smallholders   (by   2012)   has   resulted   from   an   effort   of   associating   farmers   to   the   experiments,   and   from   broad   knowledge   dissemination   and   demonstration   of   results.   Adoption   takes   place   at   an   accelerating  rate  that  makes  the  million  adopters  by  2020  a  realistic  objective.   This  is  mainly  the  effect  of  demonstrated  increases  in  yields:  control  yields  on   maize  monocrop  fields  are  typically  between  1  and  2  tons/ha/year;  on  push-­‐ pull  fields  they  are  between  4  and  5,  moreover  with  less  volatility.     At  this  point,  Voltaire  would  warn  against  the  Candide  delusion.  And  indeed,   with   all   its   virtues,   push-­‐pull   is   not   without   its   problems:   the   broad   use   of   Napier  grass  causes  the  spread  of  a  disease  hitherto  marginal,  and  desmodium   is  attacked  by  its  own  variety  of  borer.  Nothing  is  more  inventive  than  life,  with   positive   effects   that   human   endeavors   can   take   advantage   of,   and   negative   ones  that  they  must  try  and  circumvent.  In  this  case,  researchers  are  back  to   work,  trying  inter  alia  to  identify  and  transfer  resistance  genes  among  various   strains  of  desmodium.       Mille  et  une  fontaines:  providing  drinking  water  in  Cambodia    
  • 7. 7 Aiming  at  the  provision  of  safe  drinking  water  in  rural  Cambodge.    Mille  et  une   fontaines  has  been  designed  independently  from  Husk  Power  Systems,  but   their  structures  have  striking  similarities,  that  reflect  converging  assessments  of   similar  circumstances.  In  both  cases  :     .  entrepreneurship  is  a  driving  force  (see  Rambicur  et  Jaquenoud  2013)   .  technology  is  characterized  by  innovative  sobriety     .  production  is  centered  on    preexisting  communities  of  consumers,  a  village  or          a  small  cluster  of  villages   .  the  articulation  between  (i)  local  plants  run  by  local  technicians-­‐managers        recruited  from  the  local  communities  and  trained  in  the    Mille  et  une        Fontaines  «  Academy  »  (similar  to  the  HPS  «  University  »)  and  (ii)  a  central        body  for  dealing  with  problems  that  cannot  be  solved  at  local  level  and  for          sustaining  the  geographic  expansion  of  the  system  (60  plants  in  2011,  120  in            2013  and  250  in  2015-­‐6),  is  carefully  designed  and  monitored         .  interactions  with  consumers  are  also  closely  monitored.  In  the  case    of    Mille   et  une  fontaines,  the  priority  in  this  respect  is  to  convince  the  villagers  that   getting  safe  drinking  water  is  worth  paying  a  price  that,  however  modest,  is  not   negligible  for  them.  HSP  has  similar  concerns.       Conclusion     In  defining  and  implementing  objectives  in  the  above  situations,  it  appears   that:     .  entrepreneurship  is  a  driving  force  ,  embodied  in  small  teams  of  pioneers  or          in  local  R&D  organizations     .  technology  is  “as  simple  as  possible,  but  no  simpler”  -­‐  to  paraphrase  Albert        Einstein’s  recommendation  about  the  use  of  mathematics  by  his  students  in             physics  -­‐  with  special  attention  to  the  specificities  of  the  problem  at  hand  and            the  reliability  of  the  system  designed     .  implementation  is  centered  on  preexisting  communities  of  consumers  or    
  • 8. 8    producers  and  on  underused  locally  available  human  and  material  resources       .  there  is  a  duality  between  the  running  of  the  local  means  of  production  and   the impulse and supervision from the core of entrepreneurship, with interactions closely monitored.     References     Icipe (2011), Push-pull: A model for Africa’s green revolution, Report.   Islam, S. and M. Ahiduzzaman, « Green electricity from rice husk : a model for Bengladesh », chapter 6 in Mohammad Rasul, ed. (2013), Thermal power plants – Advanced applications, InTech Open Access Publishing. Mowery, D., R. Nelson and B. Martin (2010), “Technology policy and global warming: Why new policy models are needed”, Research Policy, 39: 1011- 1023. Rambicur,  J.-­‐F.  et  F.  Jaquenoud  (2013),  «  Pour  une  nouvelle  économie  de  l’eau   potable  »,  Le  Journal  de  l’Ecole  de  Paris,  102  :  25-­‐31.   Von   Hippel,   E.   (2005),   Democratizing   Innovation,   Cambridge,   Mass.:   M.I.T.   Press.