A lack of water and energy is at the heart of the major challenges to meet basic needs in remote communities. Technologies engineered for the developed world may not account for unique local factors in communities in developing countries where they are deployed. The result is often failure. Dr. Amy Bilton, Director of the Centre for Global Engineering (CGEN) at the University of Toronto, presented this seminar on the design, validation, and manufacture of water and energy technologies in the developing world. The talk drew on examples from CGEN’s work in sustainable aeration technologies to improve small-holder aquaculture production, improved irrigation technologies, drinking water, and sustainable sanitation. This is a look at the potential impact of appropriately designed water and energy technologies.
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Dr. Amy Bilton is an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering and the Director of the cross-disciplinary Centre for Global Engineering (CGEN) at the University of Toronto. Her research group, the Water and Energy Research Lab (WERL), focuses on developing innovative water and energy technologies which are geared towards global development. She has worked with industry and NGOs around the world, most notably in India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Mexico, and Nicaragua. She completed her PhD and MS in Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT and her BASc in Engineering Science (Aerospace) from the University of Toronto. Prior to her time at U of T, Amy has also worked as a Systems Engineer at Pratt and Whitney Canada and Honeywell Aerospace.
Dr. Jesse Austin-Breneman is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan. He earned his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 2014 from MIT. He also holds a S.M. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and a B.S. in Ocean Engineering also from MIT. Previous to his academic career, he worked as a development engineer in Peru, working with rural communities on alternative business opportunities and with local doctors’ groups on medical device development. He also spent two years as a high school mathematics teacher in Boston, MA.
He currently is the director of the Global Design Laboratory. The group focuses on developing design processes and support tools to help multi-disciplinary design teams think at a systems-level when performing complex system design tasks. This includes investigating the best way to incorporate system-level interactions between stakeholders in emerging markets into the design decision-making process.
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