The Energy Justice Conference and Tech Expo saw leading experts in the field of energy speak on campus.
The Energy Justice Conference and Tech Expo at CU’s Wolf Law building, took place from Sept. 17-18 and covered a wide range of topics in global energy.
Monday night’s talk highlighted a number of alternative energy technologies including: efficient stoves, photovoltaic lights and the need for efficient agriculture practices.
According to the conference website, “worldwide, almost 3 billion people have little or no access to beneficial energy resources for cooking, heating, water sanitation, illumination, transportation or basic mechanical needs.”
Speaker Jason Prapas, a mechanical engineer and Ph.D student at Colorado State University works with clean technology development on an international scale.
Prapas engineers cook stoves that efficiently burn biomass while eliminating many of the negative effects of the open-flame stoves used all over the world including, air pollution, inefficient combustion of wood and increased costs of operation due to inefficiency.
Prapas said that this pollution causes annual deaths.
“Three billion people use biomass and traditional stoves and we have over 2 million deaths due to air pollution per year,” Prapas said.
His solution to the pollution that is being produced includes producing cook stoves that reduce fuel use, have less smoke, are durable and simpler to operate.
The conference brought together people and speakers from all over the world with Colorado’s very own social entrepreneurs, NGO workers and professionals working towards sustainable international development.
Another speaker, Jessica Alderman, leads the branding and marketing operations of Envirofit, a company that sells sustainable technologies. She explained the importance of adapting these Appropriate and Sustainable Energy Technologies (ASETs) to the needs of the people who use them.
Alderman explained that Envirofit uses local production and carbon finance credits, grants given for the carbon offsetting of its products, to keep stove costs relatively low.
“Currently our stoves go for just under $20,” Alderman said. “It’s actually cheaper than the cost to manufacture.”
Another global issue related to energy raised at the conference concerns blackouts. Stephen Katsaros, CEO and “Chief Inventor” of Nokero (no-kerosene) spoke about his work providing affordable photovoltaic innovations like reading lamps, cell phone chargers and solar-operated LED lights throughout the developing world.
Katsaros said that there are many challenges in creating this products, including economically.
“[The challenge is in] designing a company that can do this at an appropriate price,” Katsaros said.
He said he wanted to employ media to gain support for his products.
“It doesn’t get to the base of the pyramid, it generates revenue for the people who need them most,” Katsaros said.
While the problems of energy justice are complex, the solutions are far reaching. The purpose of ASETs are to address these issues in a practical way that combines peoples’ needs, business solutions, innovation and distribution.
Conference coordinator Yazan Fattaleh said that talking about global energy is a new way to tackle the energy crisis.
“With a topic so large, it’s a new way to think about it,” Fattaleh said. “It’s so easy to get depressed reading news about the Middle East or the poverty stricken world in India or China. You can think what is our world coming to? Energy poverty lens corrects the problem you are trying to fix.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Lilli Dellheim at Lilli.firstname.lastname@example.org.