OUR PAST 

PROJECTS

Kara Tepe

2018: Lesvos, Greece   

That year a group of master students from different faculties and nationalities designed and installed a 5kWp solar PV system in a classroom in the Kara Tepe camp in Lesvos, Greece the summer of 2018. 

Moria 

  2019 : Lesvos, Greece

It took seven months of preparation before the team traveled to Greece to install the solar PV system, during this time the team completed the required technical training, designed the solar PV system, raised the required funds (the most difficult part) and make sure the components were safely shipped to the destination. During 3 long and sunny weeks, the team worked against the clock to install 90 solar PV modules, 2 inverters, and the necessary cabling and electrical protection devices.  


We estimate that the project is displacing the use of 9,000 liters of diesel per year, which saves about €12,600 (based on the local price of diesel), that can be used by the NGOs to improve other areas of the camp. This corresponds to a reduction of the camp's CO2 emissions by around 24,000 kg of CO2 per year.

3 cups

Blueberries

3 cups

Flour

1 cup

Sugar

1½ cups

Butter

90 solar panels

During 2019 more than 70 thousand people risked their lives when crossing the Mediterranean sea to seek asylum in Europe, just to find themselves stranded for long periods of time in refugee camps on the Greek islands with very poor living conditions and limited access to basic services.

  
This situation was no different in 2017 when the Energy Club at TU Delft was looking for ways to help in this crisis by using the knowledge developed at the university and came up with the idea of Energy for Refugees (EfR). EfR was then born to help refugees by providing affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy (UN Sustainable Development Goal 7).

That year a group of master students from different faculties and nationalities designed and installed a 5kWp solar PV system in a classroom in the Kara Tepe camp in Lesvos, Greece the summer of 2018.

  
After the first project, a new board was selected and started working towards the same goal, this time it was possible to collaborate with Eurorelief, an NGO in charge of the main section of the Moria refugee camp in Lesvos, Greece (the largest refugee camp in Europe).


The second EfR project consisted of the design, funding, procurement, and installation of a 25kWp solar PV system to reduce the frequency and the duration of black-outs (mainly increased in the winter as the heating demand increases). 

Moria 

2020 : Lesvos, Greece 

The 2020 year team was the largest yet in EfR and developed projects with two camps: the Moria camp in Lesvos, Greece and the Calabar camp in NIgeria. Their primary humanitarian focus at these camps, based on the communication they received from the camp residents, was addressing the safety and gender-based violence issues at these camps.   

In continuation, technical solutions were designed to address the afore mentioned issues at the Moria camp in Lesvos Greece. The team collaborated with EuroRelief, an on-ground NGO at the camp location. This project was also centered on a solution based on PV lights. The main objective of this project, was to replace malfunctioning or broken PV lamps installed by the previous teams, replace lamps that were connected to a local grid and in addition to this design a validation of light routes in the camo in order to improve safety within the camp. This aimed to reduce sexual and gender-based violence within the camp.  Their technical solution comprised of modular solar panel lamps, that were fully self-sustainable.  

When the global pandemic hit, the team has to shift the focus of the project as they were no longer permitted to visit the camp sites. To deal with this complication, they worked closely with a Greek contractor specialized in PV light installations to review their technical designs and ensure that implementation could still be possible despite the travel restrictions.  

As the global pandemic evolved, some COVID-19 cases were detected within the Moria camp; this gave the Greek authorities motivation to ban freedom of movement, effectively turning the it into a concentration camp. Due to desperation, the refugees themselves set fire to the camp in an attempt to force the hand of the government to provide them with better living conditions. Since the technical solutions developed by the 2020 team were completely based on the internal structure and layout of the camp, which no longer existed, the project had to be cancelled.  

Initially, the team had been working towards a solution for the camp in Abuja but due to a lack of on-ground NGOs at Abuja, the camp in Calabar was pursued. Although Calabar also did not have any on-ground NGOs present to collaborate with they did have the African Development Initiative (ADI) that was willing to help the team implement their solution. The technical solution for Calabar also included modular solar PV lamps, but in addition to this, the possibility of a water pumping system was explored. As it was, the women in Abuja had to walk 30 minutes to retrieve water. A pump to bring the water above-ground into a tank was designed and local vehicles organized to transport the water back to the camp.  

 

The Abuja camp was divided into four quarters, with three quarters comprising of men and one of women and children. This created a dilemma regarding the distribution of the team's solution; inequity in distribution would create a high risk of internal camp conflicts however there was a clear quarter of the camp that needed to be prioritized. ADI conducted interviews and surveys within the camp to discern what the best approach would be, and the conclusion was to prioritize the women and children's quarter. Lamp distribution and installation were prioritized in this quarter of the camp while still providing the remainder lamps to the other quarters.  

With regard to the water pumping solution, when a water test was carried out at the camp, extremely high lead levels in the water were exposed and it became clear that pumping it would be encouraging consumption of water which was not safe for the residents. Therefore, this solution was discarded. Unfortunately, 6 months into the project, due to the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria became classified as a red zone country and internal TU sponsors moved against the team traveling to Nigeria. This sadly brought the project to a halt. 

Calabar 

2020 : Delta State, Nigeria 

AMID COVID-19

When both projects were cancelled, a combined project X was explored, with the two teams working together. Solutions within the Netherlands and Europe were explored and the focus shifted to fund raising to enable the next year’s team to continue developing a modular solution that fell within the regulations imposed due to COVID.  

EfR received a lot of grants which were withdrawn due to the priorly mentioned complications as they were tied to implementation of the project, this meant that we lost up to 20k euros in potential funds. 

EfR FEATURES

RECENT

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Recently we had the opportunity to do a second episode with the Cone Podcast. In this episode, our Team Leader Willemijn Peters, and one of the team engineers, Siemen Brinksma, elaborate on how Energy for Refugees is tackling the refugee crisis with the current constraints posed by COVID-19. Our current technical solutions, catering to these constraints, are discussed and explored. Curious? 

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2019

Energy for Refugees heads back to Lesbos

Marjolein van der Veldt

DELTA

2019-05-01

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2018

Energy for Refugees installs solar panels on Lesbos

Communications

TU DELFT

2018-08-09

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2019

Humans of TU Delft:

Bertram Peterson

Heather Montague

DELTA

2019-10-28

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2018

Deze studenten installeren zonnepanelen voor vluchtelingen op Lesbos

Gastauteur

Duurzame Student

2019-05-03

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2019

SEI Team Member, Bertram Peterson helped solar power a refugee camp in Greece

Maria Pia Day

Solar Energy International

2019-07-29

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2018

Solar panels

for refugees

Roos van Tongeren

DELTA

2018-05-22

OUR DONORS

All of the work we have done is thanks to the wonderful people and organisations who made a contribution to us! Here's a list of our current donors: