Sunshine Crew

Solar collectors focus sunlight in order to heat up fluids such as water or oil that can then be used for creating electricity, provide heating or enable disinfection or sterilization. Such applications could be extremely useful in a humanitarian context, e.g. in remote areas where there is no electricity grid available.

The goal is to produce a prototype of a system of devices combining the capabilities of water heating, room air heating and cooking power, using the sun as the source of energy.

Many solutions already tackle the issues in question and are ready to be applied. We wish to focus on an integrated solution which can be produced locally, is easy to maintain and has high probabilities of being accepted by the local communities. The system should be applied to the weather conditions and typical houses of high-altitude villages in Nepal. There, the average temperature ranges from 0 to 21 degrees in Summer and 0 to 8 degrees in Winter. Solar irradiation is around 366.10MJ/m^2 in the worst month for the region of Simikot.

The objective is to provide the same living comfort in terms of temperature (room temperature of about 15 degrees inside a typical Nepalese 5–6-person single family house ) with 100% renewable energy during the colder period of the year, enough energy for cooking two hot meals/day and constant hot water for a family of 4 people. The materials used should be the ones available locally and the components should be modular for easy adaptations to different houses and possibilities of upgrade. The price should range the same as the local already existing solutions. If the system works in high-altitude villages in Nepal, it is expected to work in many other places.

Project Team

Alex Zahnd

Alex studied Mechanical Engineering and holds an MSc in Renewable Energy and a PhD in Renewable Energy. He worked for development projects in extrusion technology for the food and plastic industry and pharmaceutical production plants in Switzerland. He lives in Nepal since 1996, leading projects in the remotest and poorest mountain communities in the Nepal Himalayas. In 2002 he co-founded the not-for-profit NGO RIDS-Nepal and in 2013 RIDS-Switzerland through which he has since been partnering with over 30 impoverished high-altitude Himalayan village communities for long-term projects. He was elected as a member of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW) in 2007 and since 2012 he is also a Visiting Scholar at UCSD in California USA.

Alexandre Carvalho

Alexandre is an aerospace engineer, graduated from the University of Lisbon, and he is currently a structural engineer trainee at CERN, designing and assessing structures for future updates on the LHC and other projects. He has expertise in engineering calculations, product designing and production methods. He hopes to spend his life working in projects that have a positive impact in the world.

Ekaterina Larsson

Ekaterina Larsson is a Digital Communications freelancer with passion for new technologies, sustainability, CSR and writing of course. Her professional life includes communications and marketing for UNHCR, Bain & Company, Becker Acroma, and recently Impact Hub Stockholm. She has lived and worked in Bulgaria, Switzerland, US, UK and now Sweden. Driven by curiosity and the desire to help people she hopes to help make this world a better place through constructive dialogue and encouraging common efforts.

Fritz Caspers

Fritz Caspers (M’76; SM’91) received the Dipl. Ing in electrical engineering from the technical University Aachen (RWTH Aachen) in 1975 and the Dr. Ing (with honors) from Bochum University in 1982. Since 1982 he is at CERN, started as a “CERN fellow” working since then in different fields of RF-technology, stochastic beam cooling, EMC, electron could and material measurements. He is presently senior scientific staff and author or coauthor of about 350 papers and 30 patents or patent applications.

Hansdieter Schweiger

Mechanical Engineer working on Pixel detector and services upgrade for the ATLAS experiment.

Jose-Luis Preza

José Luis is a software professional currently working at the Central Information Systems of the University of Vienna. He was born and raised in El Salvador, where due to the civil war, he spent his teenage years on the streets. Besides his day job, José Luis is a columnist for several media outlets, a composer and guitarist, and a cooking instructor. He can still breakdance and likes climbing jocote trees.

Kitty Liao

Kitty is an entrepreneur, engineer and innovator. She is a hackathon enthusiast and she has been with THE Port since its launch in 2014. She has 10+ years of experience in low-temperature and multi-disciplinary systems, user-centred design, vaccine cold-chain in hard-to-reach and remote areas, design for low-resource settings, prototyping and project management. She is founder and CEO of Ideabatic, an award-winning social enterprise. She is an Enterprise Fellow at the Royal Academy of Engineering (UK). Kitty enjoys travelling, designing and making her own clothes, cooking and swimming.

Mukul Agarwal

Mukul is pursuing his Bachelor of Technology in Electrical Engineering at SVNIT, Surat. He has keen interest in control systems and embedded programming and is focused on their application in robotics. He recently finished his internship of two months working on the flight control of a Quadcopter at IIST, Trivandrum. Now he is working on implementing it on a ARM-Cortex-M4 based microcontroller. He is eager to learn new things and wants to explore the world.

Nicholas Kee

Nicholas, from Jamaica, has an innate passion for innovation. He started computer programming at the age of twelve. From then, he has been creating games, health related systems and applications for VR and AR technologies. He is also very invested in scientific research creating renewable sources of energy, namely a version of an organic solar cell model (artificial photosynthesis). He’s now running a data and risk analysis startup: Riskkee.

Sujata Majumdar

Sujata is an artist with a background in physics, photography, and ICT. She has been residing in the Netherlands since 2001, where she also works on implementing a new electronic health record at a teaching hospital. In 2014 she was awarded an ICT-Art Connect residency by the EC, for which she co-created the project Desirable Dossiers, with Healthcare ICT experts, patients and practitioners. She wanted to give people a feel for their medical data, indirectly empowering them in the choices they have in healthcare.

Zdravko Kinanev

Zdravko holds master’s degree in construction of buildings and facilities from University of Architecture, Civil engineering and Geodesy – Sofia. Over the last five years he was engaged in design and construction of large scale photovoltaics power plants in Bulgaria, Macedonia and Romania. He loves to design things and makes them happen, to improve them, to see them in his dreams.


Sunshine Crew