Seminar Series: Rethinking Water and Energy in Global Development

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.

E4C’s Seminar Series features academic laboratories researching solutions to meet the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. The world’s cutting-edge research deserves a platform with a global audience. Join us for presentations of new findings from investigative teams around the globe each month. And researchers, we welcome your applications to take part in the series. Please send an email to


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.

Comments from the Community


  1. philipprupprecht says:

    Looking forward to your Seminar.

    Kind Regards,
    Philipp Rupprecht

  2. rasa911216 says:

    Thanks for such an interesting seminar! Looking forward to it!

  3. asifakash92 says:

    Nice seminar.

  4. hillk says:

    How do I get into the webinar?

  5. hillk says:


  6. Jana Melpolder says:

    Hello, we hope you were able to join for the event. You can now view it up above if you click on the play button in the icon image. Thank you for your interest!

  7. rakesh says:

    i listened to your webinar on 13th May from India. The merri-go-round water pump was a great idea but it has seemingly failed.
    I woke up today morning with perhaps a possible solution for its revival.

    Not to look like a fool, can you please share the power required / discharge and head of the water pump. is it a geared high speed submerged centrifugal pump or a reciprocating or any other positive displacement pump.
    I would like to share my solution along with its economics if i could get a little engineering idea about it.

  8. carrie.melchers says:

    Thank you for posting the recorded version of this seminar. I know that your webinars typically provide the opportunity to earn PDHs. Does this apply to seminars as well? I was unable to complete the certificate request form based on the seminar title.

  9. Rob Goodier says:

    We no longer offer PDHs with webinars, sorry for the inconvenience.

  10. rakesh says:

    I want to participate as innovator of JALODBUST. My few other related inventions are on the way. I want to meet more people like me or those people and professionals who want to join my journey for ending the greatest malady of human civilization i.e handing our shit to other person to handle.

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