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AAS Imagine '09: Sustainable Development Powered by Social Innovation and Space Exploration by Evan Thomas


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AAS Imagine '09: Sustainable Development Powered by Social Innovation and Space Exploration by Evan Thomas

  1. 1. Developing Another World Evan Thomas, Ph.D. Sustainable development powered by social innovation and space exploration
  2. 2. Background <ul><li>Project Manager, Aerospace Engineer, NASA-Johnson Space Center </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Life Support and Habitability Systems Branch </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Basic research in sustainable life support systems </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Founding volunteer Project Manager, Engineers Without Borders-USA </li></ul><ul><li>Founding Executive Vice President, Manna Energy Limited </li></ul>Disclaimer: Involvement with EWB-USA and Manna are completely independent of service to NASA, and are conducted without using NASA time or resources. Any statements made about these organizations are simply for the purpose of illustrating similarities with technical challenges and ways of developing solutions, and represent only my own opinion, and not that of NASA or any other organization.
  3. 3. The Pain <ul><li>Public Health Pain </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1.2 billion people lack access to clean drinking water. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2.4 billion lack access to basic sanitation. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3 billion use biomass for basic energy needs, causing severe indoor air pollution. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sustainability Pain </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Government, charity models call for discrete projects, with no funding to operate and maintain programs. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>World is littered with failed water and energy projects. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Space Exploration Relevance Pain </li></ul><ul><ul><li>NASA and the manned spaceflight industry has often been a beacon of hope and progress. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Now, many individuals, companies and the public struggle to demonstrate the relevance to today’s needs. </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. EWB-USA Model <ul><li>Community involvement is critical to ensure appropriate projects, sustainability, and ownership. </li></ul><ul><li>Community partnership, ‘adopting a village’ approach develops rich learning and development environment, now the UN model for international development. </li></ul><ul><li>Other development work has led to charity culture; fighting against this trend has been the most challenging aspect of EWB work. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Engineers Without Borders-USA Johnson Space Center Chapter NASA Engineers, Scientists, Educators, Astronauts volunteer with retirees, university and high school students to Assess, Design, Implement and Monitor Sustainable Development projects in Rwanda and Mexico With a vision to improving equity in the world and developing synergies between life on Earth and living in Space.
  6. 6. Rwanda Community Meetings <ul><li>Interviewed local subsistence farmers about health, lifestyle, economics, education. </li></ul><ul><li>Most do not feel as though they have enough food to eat each day. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t share food with neighbors. </li></ul><ul><li>Have less than ten dollars cash per year. </li></ul><ul><li>Visit clinics / hospitals only when deathly ill. </li></ul><ul><li>Live day-by-day, not much consideration for the future. </li></ul><ul><li>Effective serfdom in many regions. </li></ul><ul><li>Poverty that led to the genocide has not changed. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Bring Your Own Water Treatment System Unfinished cistern from other NGO project Prototype CAD design Completed BYOW-II at Mugonero Orphanage, August 2007
  8. 8. Appropriateness of model <ul><li>Under these constraints: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Extreme poverty in densely populated regions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discrete projects with little direct accountability </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Attempting community participatory development models may not be the most effective or appropriate ways to have a positive impact </li></ul><ul><li>Alternatives can be considered that take effective elements of community participatory development and combine them with other successful or promising development tools </li></ul><ul><li>Tangible Capacity Building </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Specialization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Policy interaction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Business enterprise </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Social Enterprise for Development <ul><li>Government and charity development models call for discrete projects, where there is limited funding to properly operate and maintain programs. </li></ul><ul><li>Social enterprise can break this trend, by providing professional service to developing communities, building human, technical and infrastructure resources, and delivering a return on investment. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Carbon Credits for Sustainable Development <ul><li>Carbon credits, through the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), enable projects to generate revenue from the production of clean water and efficient energy. Each carbon credit represents one ton of carbon dioxide removed or not emitted to the atmosphere. </li></ul><ul><li>Each liter of water treated is a liter of water that no longer has to be boiled to achieve pathogenic disinfection </li></ul><ul><li>Reduces actual use of firewood (51-74% of Rwandans boil at least some drinking water) </li></ul><ul><li>Suppresses un-met demand for firewood by providing equivalent or better level of service. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Manna’s Model <ul><li>Technology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Simple, robust water treatment system designed to target bacterial contamination and treat a large volume of water. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Constructed and maintained locally. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Business Plan </li></ul><ul><ul><li>First to combine United Nations carbon credit with water treatment. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Water technology offsets the need to boil water with wood. Saved wood fuel generates carbon credits that are sold in international market. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Addressing the Pain </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Robust technology with carbon finance ensures long term economic sustainability and accountability. Revenues maintain and expand systems. </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Rwandan Customers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Subsistence farmers farm less than 1/3rd of an acre </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Phase I is for 16,000 people, Phase 2 for 330,000. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>International Customers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Carbon credits issued to Manna are purchased by international companies to comply with Kyoto Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Development Consultants </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Manna is positioned to establish track record of applying carbon finance for humanitarian projects. </li></ul></ul>First Customers
  13. 13. <ul><li>Six functional systems currently treating water for ~2,000 people since 2006 in Rwanda and Mexico </li></ul><ul><li>10 person staff in Rwanda </li></ul>Implementation
  14. 14. Energy Efficiency <ul><li>Biogas Generators </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Removes contamination from surface water </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promotes better hygiene </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduces use of firewood </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Produces gas that can be used for heating, cooking, cleaning, and running a generator for electricity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Carbon dioxide is a cleaner greenhouse gas than methane </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Improved Cookstoves </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fully combust biomass </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Result in a 60-80% reduction in wood usage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Elimination of black smoke </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Solar lighting systems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide nominal and emergency power to clinics, hospitals and schools. </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Afghanistan <ul><li>Fuel briquettes are more efficient and cheaper than firewood </li></ul><ul><li>Employing orphans, disabled people and widows to produce briquettes and receive education </li></ul><ul><li>Franchise model combined with carbon finance is designed to sustain program without charity dollars </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Sustainability – the capacity to endure </li></ul><ul><li>NASA and industry have taught scientists and the public about our impact on the planet, and the needs of people around the world. </li></ul><ul><li>NASA and industry can also learn about how to sustain human life on other planets from how life is supported in difficult environments here on Earth. </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainable technologies will be able to function for long periods of time in harsh environments, with limited maintenance and resupply. </li></ul><ul><li>Water recovery, air revitalization, habitation, food and power systems may benefit from considering sustainability a design goal. </li></ul>Sustainable Environmental Control and Life Support Systems
  17. 17. <ul><li>Objective: Develop life support system architectures and evolve technologies that considers long term sustainability as key design goal. </li></ul><ul><li>Placing a requirement on sustainability drives design decisions – forces new paradigm. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>LEED-style evaluation criteria for sustainable life support systems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Spin-off / Spin-in evaluations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>When considering planetary use, suggest adapting terrestrial technologies for a hypogravity environment, rather than adapting microgravity technologies. </li></ul><ul><li>NASA has always been interested in robust and high performance life support, and in innovating new approaches and technologies. </li></ul><ul><li>However, after decades of development, funding and organizations are focused on our existing, complex technologies that have evolved for specific reasons and constraints. </li></ul>SECLSS Project Concept (UC Davis)
  18. 18. Performance Robustness <ul><li>Sustainability? </li></ul><ul><li>Trades between performance and robustness are often discussed, but architecture and technology development have more focused on performance. </li></ul><ul><li>SECLSS may help balance the data available for these trades. </li></ul><ul><li>Additionally, ECLSS systems can be operationally verified over a reasonable envelope of expected conditions to better ensure their reliability. </li></ul>Enabling innovative development Some of those constraints and requirements can be revaluated, and integrated with other architecture and technology concepts for serving critical life support needs.
  19. 19. <ul><li>Suggest adapting terrestrial technologies for a hypogravity environment, rather than adapting microgravity technologies. </li></ul><ul><li>Regolith Filter for Lunar Urine Solids in Habitats </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Utilizes lunar regolith, gravity, and solar energy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does not require pretreatment chemicals or microgravity compatibility </li></ul></ul>Sustainable Lunar Outpost Water Recovery
  20. 20. UN Millennium Development Goals NASA technical needs Food and Poverty Education Equality Health Disease Mortality Sustainability Life Support Global Partnerships New Technologies Inadequate food supply Unsafe food supply Lack of income sources Access to education Empowerment Unsanitary conditions Respiratory disease Lack of access to primary care Malnutrition Infectious disease HRP – Inadequate Nutrition HRP – Impaired Performance due to reduced muscle mass, strength, endurance HRP – Reduced Physical Capability due to reduced aerobic capacity HRP – Inadequate Food System HRP – Behavioral Health and Performance ETDP – Environmental Control and Life Support – clothing/fabric cleaning (ELS-16) STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math – Multiple projects (JSC, ISS, CxP, SSP, HRP) ETDP – Environmental Control and Life Support – partial gravity water recovery (ELS-3) ETDP – Protection Systems – dust control (DM-2) ETDP – Environmental Control and Life Support – trace contaminants, dust filtration, post-fire cleanup/monitoring, particulates (ELS-10,11,14,15,AEMC-1,4,6,7,8) HRP – Bone fracture, invertebral disc damage, renal stone formation, cardiac rhythm problems HRP – Inability to treat ill or injured crewmember HRP – Accelerated Osteoporosis, Accelerated Effects of Dust Exposure HRP – Adverse Health Event due to ineffectiveness of medication HRP – Accelerated Health Effects due to alteration in immune response or alteration in host-microorganism interactions ETDP – Structures, Materials and Mechanisms – durability, repair, habitats (SMM-6, AH-1) ETDP – Protection Systems – PV array dust mitigation (DM-4) ETDP – Energy Storage and Power Systems – energy storage. batteries, fuel cells, power mgmt (ES-1,3,4,6) ETDP – Environmental Control and Life Support – water recovery, biocide, water quality monitoring, waste treatment, clothing, (ELS-3,5,7,8,12,13,16, AEMC-3,5, AWT-1) ETDP – Robotics, Operations and Supportability – field/self repair, free-form manufacturing, (SUP-1,4,5) ETDP – Avionics and Software – training support technologies (AFO-3) ETDP – Integrated Systems Health Management – decision support tools (ISHM-4) ETDP – Communications and Navigation – wireless network, high bandwidth communications (CN-1, HBC-1) HRP – Errors due to Inadequate Information HRP – Errors due to poor task design Unsustainable technology solutions Inadequate infrastructure or resources Lack of safe drinking water and sanitation Lack of knowledge sharing Lack of training Lack of distribution
  21. 21. Astronaut Presentations <ul><li>NASA Astronaut volunteered and took leave to participate in EWB activity in Rwanda. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Personal Impact
  23. 23. Questions?