DIL Explore Projects

DIL Explore grants are open to researchers across the DIL network and support early-stage, exploratory research that combines technology innovation with social and economic research to solve international development challenges (ie, the emerging field of development engineering); and/or international travel hat supports development engineering projects through research, fact-finding or new partnerships. Learn more about currently funded DIL projects:

DIL Explore Travel Grants Awarded Spring 2016

Remote Tracking of Grain

Location: Tanzania
Principle Investigator: Brian Dillon, Public Policy, University of Washington
Traveling Team Members: Jessica Rudder, PhD Student in Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Davis; Colin Martin, Electrical Engineering, University of Washington”

The goal of this project is to develop a new method to measure grain flows, using a lightweight tracking device that we can attach to 50 or 100kg bags of food grains. The DIL Explore program is supporting travel to the pilot study area by students in engineering and agricultural economics, to meet potential research partners and conduct feasibility testing with existing technologies. Our long‐term goal is to better understand inter‐temporal and spatial variation in food prices, food insecurity, and rural‐urban linkages, by asking: How quickly does grain flow between markets in response to arbitrage opportunities? Which rural areas are the major net food suppliers to urban areas? And, how far does the average kilogram of grain travel?

Power Quality Monitoring

Location: Tanzania
Principle Investigator: Duncan Callaway, Energy and Resources Group, UC Berkeley
Traveling Team Member: Veronica Jacome, PhD Student in Energy and Resources Group (ERG), UC Berkeley

This project seeks to explore low‐cost methods for measuring electricity reliability in East Africa by combining high‐resolution, less scalable power quality sensors, with low‐resolution scalable

Green Tech for Disaster Relief

Location: Nepal
Principle Investigator: Kristiana Raube, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley
Traveling Team Member: Juno Fitzpatrick, Masters in Development Practice Candidate, UC Berkeley

In 2015, Nepal suffered a 7.8 and 7.3 magnitude earthquake. The quake resulted in over 1,000 health facilities, mostly village health posts in hard‐to‐reach areas, were destroyed. We Care Solar’s 35lbs. solar suitcase offers an immediately deployable solution for districts that still lack access to basic healthcare and electricity. However, We Care Solar are yet to develop their disaster strategy, An impact assessment is required to understand how the Solar Suitcase can meet the current and future needs of emergency responders to minimize the negative health implications of disaster on maternal morbidity.

Affordable Tractors for Smallholder Farmers

Location: India
PI: Aprajit Mahajan, Agricultural and Resource Economics (ARE), UC Berkeley
Traveling Team Member: Kate Pennington, PhD Student in Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Berkeley

This project will evaluate the impact of the Mahindra Yuvraj, a small tractor designed for plots of five acres and less, on welfare outcomes in rural India. Priced to be competitive with bullocks, affordable technologies like Yuvraj have the potential to radically transform Indian agriculture and reduce rural poverty by making yields less dependent on climate

Onchocercoma Detection Using Impedance

Location: Cameroon
PI: Michel Maharbiz, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, UC Berkeley
Traveling Team Members: Amy Liao, PhD Student in Biomedical Engineering, UC Berkeley; Christina Bulman, Assistant Specialist, Sakanari Lab, UCSF

This project proposes to develop a non-invasive tool using impedance spectroscopy and current stimulation that will be useful 1) in monitoring drug efficacy following administration of a macrofilaricide to treat onchocerciasis, 2) in clinical diagnostic and treatment settings, and 3) for epidemiological surveillance and elimination programs to assess the viability of adult worms within onchocercomas.

The Pink Key

Location: India
PI: David Levine, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley
Traveling Team Member: Stephen Harrell, PhD Student in Development Economics, UC Berkeley

The team will develop a specialized “Pink Key” to monitor both traditional stove and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) usage. They will also test different incentives including conditional cash transfers to incentivize increase usage of LPG and decreasing usage of biomass fuels among pregnant women who received an LPG connection in rural India.


Location: Uganda
PI: Moses Musaazi, Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering, Makerere University
Traveling Team Member: Mutebi Ibrahim, Electrical Engineering, Makerere University; Edward Kiyimba, Electrical Engineering, Makerere University; Edmand Aijuka, Electrical Engineering, Makerere University

Kamata is an anti-electricity theft device designed to identify any individual who tries to steal power, cuts off that power  and reports them to the power distribution authority control center including the meter number, customer name and location, time of theft attempt and the method used, and the customer can be remotely switched back from the control center after the theft case has been resolved between the two parties.

DIL Explore Travel Grants Awarded Spring 2015

DIL Explore Travel Grants Awarded Spring 2015

Bombay Real-time Air Sensing (BRAS)

Location: India
Principal Investigator: Dr. Bhaskaran Raman, Computer Science, IIT-Bombay
Team Traveling Member: Kalyananaraman Shankari, PhD Student in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), UC Berkeley

Real-Time Air Sensing (Raman)-01The Bombay Realtime Air Sensing (BRAS) project will build an IIT‐Bombay managed real‐time air quality monitor network and make the collected data available through social media and mobile apps. This  deployment is intended to spark discussions around establishing an air quality index (AQI), building a model to predict future AQI and establishing policies to mitigate the effects if the predicted AQI is too high. To that end, the monitors will be deployed at local colleges and universities, increasing awareness of air quality issues in the decision makers of tomorrow, while also providing valuable pedagogical exposure to open data collection and real‐world predictive modelling.

Impacts of Electricity Reliability

Location: Tanzania
Principal Investigator: Dr. Catherine Wolfram, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley
Traveling Team Members: Veronica Jacome, PhD Candidate in Energy and Resources Group, UC Berkeley

Impacts of Electricity Reliability (Wolfram)-01The goal of this project is to continue a partnership with the Zanzibar Electricity Company (ZECO) and establish collaboration with village leaders to gather vital information for a longitudinal study on the impacts of poor power quality and reliability. Veronica Jacome, a PhD candidate in the Energy and Resources Group, will meet the general manager and power systems engineer with ZECO for a series of meetings beginning December 2015. The team will identify villages for future survey and optimal locations for monitoring the Unguja electricity grid.


Tea Plantation Water Harvesting

Location: India
Principal Investigator: Dr. Susan Amrose, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UC Berkeley
Traveling Team Members: Luke Hellgren, Graduate Student in Energy, Civil Infrastructure, and Climate, UC Berkeley; Alexandra Alden, Masters in Development Practice Candidate, UC Berkeley; Minghui Zhang, Graduate Student in Environmental Engineering; Nehama Rogozen, Masters in Development Practice Candidate, UC Berkeley

Tea Plantation Water Harvesting (Amrose)-01Climate change has had a drastic effect on tea plantations in Assam, India: variable rainfall and periods of drought have led to decreased crop yields and are disproportionately affecting small tea growers (STGs), who produce 30% of Assam’s tea. This team has designed a rainwater catchment pond and drip irrigation system to be implemented on the Chota Tingrai tea estate in Assam as a pilot test, and have planned a business rollout and funding model for the system. This technology has the potential to revolutionize the tea industry and to ensure further success of the sector. The team will continue to advise Mana as they implement this technology over the next year, and help them expand their business plan after this first phase in order to ensure development impact on a large scale for the 65,000STGs in Assam.

Communication, Resiliency and Isolated Communities

Location: Pakistan
Principal Investigator: Eric Brewer, Environmental Engineering and Computer Science, UC Berkeley
Traveling Team Members: Kashif Ali, Postdoctoral Researcher with the Technology and Infrastructure for Emerging Regions (TIER) Group, UC Berkeley; Naniette H. Coleman, PhD student in Sociology, UC Berkeley

Communication, Resiliency, & Isolated Communities (Brewer)-01The Technology and Infrastructure for Emerging Regions (TIER) research lab has developed a low‐cost, solar‐powered communication alternative to deliver mobile services (voice, SMS, mobile money) to ultra‐remote communities not serviced by conventional cellular operators. A pilot deployment of the technology (“the intervention”) will occur in Shimshal Valley, Pakistan in summer 2015. The team will study various aspects of this modern communication intervention on way of life, community and gender roles, social interactions, political engagement, economic opportunity (agriculture, shepherding, portering), independence/interdependence ofthe village(s) and crime/security in this isolated rural community.


Location: India
Principal Investigator: Dr. Jennifer Bussell, Public Policy and Political Science, UC Berkeley
Traveling Team Members: Asim Fayaz, Masters in Development Practice Candidate, UC Berkeley

Datay is an end‐to‐end data solution for NGOs and governments that makes it easier to collect data in the field and use it all along the decision‐making chain. Different from competitors such as TaroWorks or Open Data Kit who primarily provide data collection functions, Datay completes the whole data loop by also providing mobile and web data visualizations for all actors, including the field workers, and generates competition through gamification and smart performance cues to drive better performance.


Refugee Enumeration

Location: India
Principal Investigator: Dr. Jesse Driscoll, Political Science, UC San Diego
Traveling Team Members: Michael Seese, PhD Student in Political Science and International Affairs, UCSD; John Porten, PhD Student in Political Science, UC San Diego

RefugeeEnumeration-01Refugee populations are highly vulnerable to a host of socio–political, economic, and public health threats. Despite their vulnerability, these communities remain woefully understudied across the social sciences, and in other fields, such as public health and development economics. The primary impediment to the study of refugees, their welfare, and their effects on host communities, is the lack of accurate, highly granular data on refugee populations, demographics, and migratory patterns. This study aims to contribute to a solution to the pressing concern through a series of survey experiments designed to minimize attrition and non‐response to sensitive questions.

Modular Microgrid-Baselining and Installation

Location: Uganda
Principal Investigator: Dr. Dan Kammen, Energy and Resources Group, UC Berkeley
Traveling Team Members: Dr. Jalel Sager, lecturer and researcher, Energy and Resources Group, and Director and Co-founder, CAL-RAE; Austin Cappon, Network Coordinator and Co-founder, CAL-RAE; Jonathan Lee, Lead Engineer and Co-founder, New Sun Road.

Modular Microgrid (Kammen)-01This team, affiliated with CAL-RAE at Berkeley and the Energy and Resources Group, works on energy access in developing nations, and has previously used DIL explore grant funds for travel to Vietnam’s Mekong Delta (January 2014), which allowed it to work with a poor community and local officials to design a microgrid system that meets social, economic, environmental and technical criteria. Following the Vietnam experience, working with its partner New Sun Road, a California social benefit corporation, the team recognized a need for small-scale, modular microgrid systems—simply replicating large grid structures on a small scale with renewables was too costly an approach for many developing communities. It developed the “modular microgrid” system with New Sun Road in Fall 2014 and constructed a prototype system. The project team will travel to Uganda in June 2015 to perform baseline social research and install the innovative microgrid it has developed.

India’s Smart Meter Rollout

Location: India
Principal Investigator: Dr. Catherine Wolfram, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley
Traveling Team Members: Louis Preonas, PhD Student in Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Berkeley; Fiona Wilkes, PhD Student in Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Berkeley

In many developing countries, the electricity sector is beset by severe economic inefficiencies, resulting from burgeoning electricity demand, poor transmission infrastructure, and lack of information on energy consumption. Smart meters both enable households to better target their energy conservation efforts, and allow electricity distribution companies to collect better information on their customers. This project team hopes to study Bangalore’s recent smart meter rollout, one of the first programs of its kind in India. The goal is to analyze how electricity consumption patterns and their response to power outages are affected by this technology, which is relatively new to the developing world.

Ethics, Researchers, and Sensing

Location: Nicaragua
Principal Investigator: Dr. Eric Brewer, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, UC Berkeley
Traveling Team Members: Javier Rosa, PhD Student in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, UC Berkeley
Ethics, Researchers, Sensing (Rosa)-01International development projects emphasize the measurement and evaluation of development projects using objective sensor based measurements. However, the study of participant perception and international researcher capabilities regarding these monitoring tools is still not very well explored and leaves opportunities for greater user and researcher engagement. The travel would allow the team to conduct interviews with researchers and participants to evaluate their expectations and use of sensors in existing projects. The gathered requirements will be used to guide the design of information technology support systems for these type of studies, including recommendations for OpenDataKit extensions. Additionally, insights into participant perceptions of sensing and their invasiveness will be used to inform IRB review boards on expectations for consent and privacy. For example, understanding participant perceptions of data might lead to less stringent guidelines for the use of automated monitoring equipment or more training in process of gathering of consent. Questions will be developed and tested to create an instrumenwhich will inform researchers on user perceptions of sensing before deployments of sensing technologies potentially avoiding any misunderstandings and sensitives


Location: Haiti
Principal Investigator: Dr. Travis Lybbert, Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis
Traveling Team Members: Rachel Bernstein, M.S. Candidate in Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis

Lotto-to-Save (Lybbert)-01-01Lottery play is the most familiar and frequent financial transaction for the Haitian working poor. This project will explore how passion for lottery can be harnessed to open more productive financial services. Preliminary research will model financial strategies and lotto behavior in order to characterize the opportunity for lottery‐linked micro‐savings leveraging existing mobile money platforms.

DIL Explore Travel Grants Awarded Spring 2014

DIL Explore Travel Grants Awarded Spring 2014

Automatic Pothole Detection

Location: Uganda
Principal Investigator: Dr. Engineer Bainomugisha, Computer Science, Makerere University


More than 1.2 million people die every year and between 20-50 million people are severely injured from road accidents, 90 percent of which occur in low and middle-income countries. Poor road infrastructure and road damages (such as potholes) is one of the major contributing factors to road crashes, injuries, fatalities, mechanical failures and traffic jam menace. In the absence of early identification methods and timely repair of road damages, small road damages can easily grow into large and deep potholes requiring more resources to fix and posing a great danger to road users.

The project leverages the increasing availability of a rich set of sensors that come embedded in today’s mobile devices for participatory road infrastructure monitoring. The project involves design, development and deployment of an innovative solution that employs participatory mobile sensing techniques to automatically detect and report road damages. This project is exploring the use of sensors (GPS and accelerometer) embedded in mobile phones to opportunistically gather data about road surfaces as motorists drive about with the mobile phone in their vehicle. The data generated is aggregated into an open data repository, analyzed and used to develop a visual mapping of road damages that acts as a warning to motorists and also inform authorities of the roads that need urgent attention. Participatory road infrastructure monitoring campaigns will be set up in Kampala (Uganda’s largest and capital city) with a selected number of motorists.


Rapid Sickle Cell Diagnositcs

Location: Ghana
Principal Investigator: Dr. Paul Wright, Mechanical Engineering, UC Berkeley
Traveling Team Members: Samuel Tia, PhD, Bioengineering; Akwasi Apori, PhD, Bioengineering

sketch_0007_Levels-1-copy-7-2Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a troubling public health priority across equatorial Africa, resulting in an annual loss of over 5.6 million disability adjusted life years. In sub-Saharan Africa, where 75% of the 300,000 annual SCD births occur, it is estimated that 50-90% of children born with SCD do not survive into adulthood.

Working with partners in Ghana, the team will perform feasibility and end user needs assessments for a low-cost, rapid and portable biomolecular screening device with customizable applications for point-of-care diagnostics, focused on sickle cell disease in West Africa. Gathering quantitative data will inform the design process and establish relationships, while learning from key opinion leaders in Sickle Cell diagnostics and treatment across West Africa.

Rapid Point of Care Device for Infant HIV Diagnostics

Location: Kenya
Principal Investigator: Dr. Amy Herr, Bioengineering, UC Berkeley
Traveling Team Members: Rachel Gerver, PhD Student, Bioengineering

While rapid HIV diagnostic tests have recently become available globally, they are insufficient for diagnosing HIV in infants due to the presence of maternal antibodies that can persist for up to 18 months. This project will utilize existing microfluidic technology  in the Herr lab to develop a point of care device that will detect the presence of HIV viral proteins for HIV diagnosis in infants in low resource settings.

Rachel Gerver visited HIV clinics and central testing labs in Kenya as part of a pilot study to gain a better understanding of workflows and resources in the care of infants with HIV positive mothers. This will aid in the lab’s development of an appropriate tool for advancing rapid point of care infant HIV diagnostics and to understand factors that could help or hinder future device adoption.

Smartphone Ethnography for Development

Location: South Africa
Principal Investigator: Dr. Margaret Crawford, Architecture, UC Berkeley
Traveling Team Members: Lindsay Blair Howe, PhD Student, Urban Sociology


20 years after apartheid, Johannesburg continues to exemplify socio-spatial inequality, remaining one of the most unequal countries worldwide according to the World Bank’s Gini coefficient. The assertion is that solutions to urban poverty relying on formal, top-down planning mechanisms fail to address the everyday patterns of their residents: for example, where they live, work, shop, spend their leisure time, and how they travel between these places.

The project will reveal these informal networks for the first time by combining information technology with ethnographic methodology through a crowdsourcing application, which tracks anonymous acceleration and GIS data with smartphones to determine the modes and locations of transportation taken by residents of informal settlements in Johannesburg. This makes it possible to visualize mobility patterns for future urban development strategies that more successfully address these populations.


Location: India
Principal Investigator: Dr. Tapan Parikh, School of Information, UC Berkeley
Traveling Team Members: Seema Puthyapurayil, Masters Student, Information Systems and Management; Eric Zan, Masters Student, Information Management and Systems; Priya Iyer, Masters Student, Management Information Systems

sketch_0010_Levels-1-copy-11Sahay in Hindi translates to ‘help’. This solution is an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) approach that connects workers in the household informal sector (domestic help, cooks, drivers, security guards, etc.) in India with employment opportunities. The DIL Explore grant will allow the team to augment existing research by conducting a pilot of the program in the city of Ahmedabad, India. The time in India will be spent setting up the infrastructure, recruiting participants and conducting follow up research for the same.

DIL Explore Travel Grants Awarded Fall 2013

DIL Explore Travel Grants Awarded Fall 2013

Quantifying the Impact of Biotechnologies on Cacao

Location: Indonesia
Principal Investigator: Dr. Matthew Potts, Environmental Science, Policy and Management, UC Berkeley
Traveling Team Member: Lisa Kelly, PhD Candidate, Environmental Science, Policy & Management

Cacao production is often marked by the sudden onset of pests and diseases, driving high production losses and threatening the livelihood security of 5-6 million smallholder farmers that source 90% of all cacao globally.

This project will focus on how novel biotechnologies are affecting the livelihood security of cacao farmers by piloting a robust qualitative and quantitative research program in Indonesia.


Designing a Business Model for Toilet Waste

Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Principal Investigrator: Dr. Kara Nelson, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UC Berkeley
Traveling Team Members: Ryan Jung, 2nd year MBA student; William Tarpeh, PhD Candidate, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Ryan Jung and William Tarpeh will be working together to develop a sustainable business model for the treatment of potentially pathogenic waste from on-plot and in-home toilets in Nairobi, Kenya.

Through pilot testing of several prototypes with users, the team will identify key inputs, and develop a framework for designing and evaluating business models for household toilets.



UC Berkeley-Global Brigades Collaboration for Water Research in Panama

Location: Panama
Principal Investigator: Dr. Isha Ray, Energy and Resources Group, Berkeley
Traveling Team Members: Dr. Charlotte Smith, Faculty Lecturer, School of Public Health; Rucker Alex, MA Candidate, City & Regional Planning; Laura Telep, MPH Student; Claire Quiner, MPH Student

In Panama, community water systems serving less than 1,500 inhabitants are under the auspices of the Ministry of Health and often operated by non-governmental organizations such as Global Brigades (GB).  The UC Berkeley team is establishing a collaboration with Global Brigades.




An Assessment of the Indian Poultry Market

Location: India
Principal Investigator: Dr. Amit Arora, CTARA, IIT-Bombay

This study will analyze the current practices used in different poultry sheds in India in order to explore the current status and potential for technology improvements fo the poultry market. The ambient conditions in the poultry shed influenced the productivity of the bird in terms of the number of eggs and kilograms of meat it produces over its lifetime.

Feed efficiency directly affects the owner’s profit margins, with nearly 70-80% of expenditures going to feed cost. The other important factor in poultry production is the ambient temperature of the poultry house. This study will explore the impacts of different heating techniques and other differences between large and smaller scale poultry production to assess the status of the industry.


The Southeast Asia Renewable and Adaptive Energy (SEA-RAE) Network

Location: Vietnam
Principal Investigator: Dr. Dan Kammen, Energy and Resources Group, UC Berkeley
Traveling Team Members: Jalel Sager, PhD Candidate, Energy and Resources Group; Austin Cappon, Director of Operations, SEA-RAE Network; Jonathan Lee, Lead Technical Advisor, SEA-RAE Network

The SEA-RAE network will pilot an integrative social and financial model to bring a new energy system to an island community in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. Currently, the lack of modern energy services on the island acts as an obstacle for community and individual goals and projects. SEA-RAE intends to empower communities by way of electricity; tailoring the system’s design to meet the unique user needs and climate of the region.


Urban Sanitation Management

Location: India and Bangladesh
Principal Investigator: Dr. Kara Nelson, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UC Berkeley
Traveling Team Member: Sharada Prasad, PhD Student, Energy and Resources Group

Sanitation in South Asian cities has not been catching up with urbanization, migration, and growth in population. This mismatch has led to an increase in households connected to septic tanks and thereby necessitating the management of fecal sludge in those septic tanks.This project will analyze the existing practices of fecal sludge management in the cities of India and Bangladesh.


Income-Generating Development Data Collection Platform

Location: Worldwide
Principal Investigator: Dr. Tapan Parikh, School of Information, UC Berkeley
Traveling Team Member: Robert On, PhD Candidate, School of Information

Data for development is sparse and oftentimes expensive to procure. SmartAsks is a proposed platform that would provide income opportunities to the poor while collecting and generating data to be used for development.

This system has three primary goals: 1) Provide information task income opportunities for the poor, 2) create an easy and inexpensive platform for collecting data from the poor, and 3) generate a behavioral value-of-time welfare indicator for the poor.


Developing Solar Photo-Voltaics for Thai Communities

Location: Thailand
Principal Investigator: Dr. Dan Kammen, Energy and Resources Group, UC Berkeley
Traveling Team Member: Noah Kittner, MS/PhD Student, Energy and Resources Group

This project will initiate a research collaboration with the Energy Research Institute at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand.  The team will work with government, utility, and industry stakeholders to inform an analysis of energy storage and grid-integration needs for community solar projects.


The NOx Box: Low-Cost On-Demand Sanitation of Medical Instruments

Location: Uganda
Principal Investigator: Dr. David Graves, Chemical Engineering, UC Berkeley
Traveling Team Members: Connor Galleher, undergraduate student, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering; Matt Pavlovich, PhD Student, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Connor Galleher and Matt Pavlovich are developing a frugal disinfection device, the NOx Box, intended for low-cost and on-demand sanitation of medical instruments, and other contaminated surfaces. The NOx Box is particularly well-suited to the developing world and other low-resource settings because it requires only air and electricity to create a disinfectant.

Testing in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering laboratory of David Graves has shown that at least 99.99% of bacteria are inactivated within 5 minutes of device operation, and the current challenge is to improve the laboratory prototype into a device that works robustly in the field, according to the specifications required by eventual users.

DIL Explore Travel Grants Awarded Summer 2013

DIL Explore Travel Grants Awarded Summer 2013

Cutting-Edge Cookstove Emissions Measurement

Location: Australia
Principal Investigator: Dr. Ashok Gadgil, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UC Berkeley
Traveling Team Member: Kathleen Lask, PhD student, Applied Science and Technology

This grant will seed a collaborative effort between the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, UC Berkeley, and the University of Adelaide to evaluate the effects of cookstove design modifications on combustion emissions using laser diagnostic techniques.

If successful, this project would provide cutting edge technology in the field of cookstove development. The long-term effort would aim to develop an inexpensive and robust diagnostic system for cookstove emissions measurement. This will provide designers and researchers in the field with much needed diagnostic tools and information, allowing new potential for guidance to future cookstove designs and combustion mediation.

Sustainable Fluoride Remediation

Location: India
Principal Investigator: Dr. Ashok Gadgil, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UC Berkeley; Dr. Susan Amrose, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UC Berkeley; Dr. Martin Mulvihill, Chemistry, UC Berkeley
Traveling Team Member: Kaya Cherukumilli, PhD Student, Environmental Engineering

Worldwide, approximately 200 million people are drinking water with toxic levels of naturally occurring fluoride. Although many technologies have demonstrated high levels of fluoride removal in a lab setting, few technologies have been successfully deployed in the field. The team will explore potential options for sustainable flouride remediation in the Nalgonda District of India.

Katya Cherukumilli will define the extent of the flouride contamination, and examine the success and sustainability of current efforts and technologies available locally. Katya seeks to understand current flouride treatment gaps, the scale-up potential of these techniques, and to build relationships with local stakeholders.

Cost-Effective Arsenic Remediation Models

Location: India and Bangladesh
Principal Investigator: Dr. Ashok Gadgil, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Dr. Isha Ray, Energy and Resources Group, UC Berkeley; Dr. Joyashree Roy, Economics, Jadavpur University
Traveling Team Member: Caroline Delaire, PhD student, Environmental Engineering

Over 60 million people in South Asia drink groundwater naturally contaminated with arsenic. Chronic exposure can lead to death and many other negative health and economic impacts, especially for the poor households in the region. The solution is two-fold, requiring a low-cost and efficient arsenic remediation technology as well as an inclusive, cost-effective, wide-reaching and sustainable distributional model.

In order to design a best approach for implementing the technology and behavioral adaption in the area, Caroline will conduct a study of social drivers for and barriers to the purchasing and consumption of safe water in a target community in West Bengal, India. Research plans include surveying 300 to 500 households in order to analyze different household water purchasing and consuming choices.


Low-Cost Voltage Monitoring of Indian Electricity Grids

Location: India
Host: Matt Podolsky, Research Scientist, Technology and Infrastructure for Emerging Regions (TIER)
Traveling Team Member: Priya Jadhav, CTARA, IIT Bombay

The Indian power grid reaches 90% of villages, however rural consumers face several problems. The quality of the electricity supplied is questionable, with voltage fluctuations leading to motor burnout, as well as load shedding and unscheduled power cuts. Quality electricity plays an important role in the potential economic development of these rural areas.

Priya proposes to design, prototype and deploy a low-cost voltage monitoring device that will monitor voltage and harmonics content of grid supply in partnership with CTARA and Prayas Energy Group (PEG). She plans to set up the devices at 5 different locations initially, gathering missing data that will be useful for regulatory commissions. The project will conclude with a technology and system demonstration which can be adopted at a larger scale by government bodies.