EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD •
the water container in the morning and then
adjusts the flow of water from the vessel
with a control valve. As the water empties
out of the water clock and the container gets
lighter, the weight balance changes, causing
the panel to slowly rotate towards the sun.
By the end of the day, the container will be
empty, and the solar panel will come to rest
facing the sunset.
The SunSaluter also works double duty: the
water that flows from the water clock can be
connected to an optional filtration system,
which then flows into a container, providing
users with up to four liters of clean drinking
water each day. Although it seems diminutive,
it is an important bonus feature of the system
given that 783 million people worldwide have
no access to safe drinking water, according to
the U.N.’s 2012 Millennium Development Goals
report. The amount of filtered water from
each tracker could satisfy the two-liter per day
need for two people; with two panels, a family
of four could conceivably have the minimum
amount of drinking water it needs for survival.
Although the SunSaluter achieves a lot,
the design is so simple tha
tude is needed to build it.
“The point of the SunSaluter design is
that you can build it even if you don't have
any technical knowledge,” Full Goh says.
She adds that the system is intentionally
uncomplicated in design so it can be built
using locally available, low-cost materials. In
some places, this might be wood; in others, it
might be bamboo or recycled metal.
This flexible design aspect is one reason
the SunSaluter is more economical than
other trackers. “One SunSaluter costs us
about $25 [to make], and we don’t mark
up the units by a huge margin,” Full Goh
explains. “Some of our past competitors that
have gone out of business charged upwards
of $600 per panel, because they used com-
SunSaluter’s intended users. “It is also worth
mentioning that these [$100] systems are
automatic, and so the people who are paying
for them can probably afford them,” she notes.
By comparison, the SunSaluter is a frac-an affordable option for those who might not
otherwise be able to purchase one.
BUILDING LOCAL ECONOMIES
The SunSaluter also has another goal: in addition to being an energy poverty solution, Full
Goh’s team hopes that their product will drive
local business creation in areas where there
are often few economic opportunities for
“There are many great technologies, such
as solar lanterns, but the only economic
opportunity around them for local entrepreneurs is distribution, because they’re manufactured abroad,” says Jake Schual-Berke,
SunSaluter’s chief operating officer.
RECAPO, SunSaluter’s Malawian distribu-
Matengula calls SunSaluter a “transfor
tional technology” because of how it supp
communities by increasing solar panel eff
and providing clean water at a lower cost
other available methods. His own organiz
operational capacity has been greatly imp
by using the SunSaluter as well: RECAPO
had no electricity until the organization st
working with SunSaluter. Now, Matengul
his team have a solar panel that is able to
knowledge to build and
can be made with what
low-cost materials are
NIES MAKING PRODUCTS FOR THE
MARKET, WHERE TO MANUFACTURE
SINGLY COMPLICATED QUESTION.
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cooling layer, w
natural teeth. As usual, the poor are threatened most
with the highest rates of oral disease.
Mantlik and her student team have identified Nicara-
gua as the cite for their clinic’s debut, which is slated for
mid-2016 if everything goes according to plan. Nearly
half the people in Nicaragua’s poor rural areas have
never seen a dentist before in their lifetimes. According
all-in-one dental carts with a built
and a small water tank with its ow
the four stations complies with th
American Dental Association and
“They’ll be doing everything from
reconstructive surgery,” Mantlik sai
ABOUT Demand: Demand was launched by ASME
in collaboration with Mechanical Engineering
magazine and reporting from Engineering for
Change to help meet the needs of individuals
and organizations working at the intersection of
technology and global development. All the case
studies in this publication undergo significant
review both by an independent editorial review
board and by ASME editors. Our goal is to deliver
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Demand is published by ASME©
KEI TH WARNER is the
Director of Education and
Action Research at Santa Clara
University’s Miller Center for
Social Entrepreneurship. He
also directs the Global Social
Benefit Fellowship and teaches
in the honors program, School
of Engineering, and Religious
Studies department. He is a
practical social ethicist in the
ALAN SPYBEY manages
the Product Intelligence and
Development department at
KickStart International, which
engages in exploratory market
research and analysis, business
modeling and development
of new technologies. He holds
an MBA from Edith Cowan
University and a degree in
mechanical engineering from
the Open University in the U.K.
ADRIENNE DAY is a writer,
and New York native. She ha
On a recent autumn day at the University of California, Berkeley, Ph.D. student Emily Woods rolled a small black globe between her fingers that left behind dark smudgy traces. She had fished it out of a bag of similar golf ball-sized black spheres, all made of the same charcoal- like substance, and stacked it with a few others in a cookstove to
demonstrate how they can be used for preparing meals. These balls burn just like
charcoal, she explained, but are not made of the traditional materials. They are
made of human waste. That’s right—poop.
co-founded “e.quinox” in 20
BBOXX in 2010, providing a
energy products and service
veloping countries. He is res
4kg total weight
crisis plaguing many parts of the world was not disposing of
at US$35 per toilet
waste, but rather, repurposing it.
01SUNFLOWER PUMP CASE STUDY 04 An intrepid doctor-slash-inventor needed a better way to treat sick newborns and sought help from refrigeration experts. The result? A commercial product unexpectedly
redesigned as an affordable solution to a medical problem.
MOST DEVELOPMENT EXPERTS BELIEVE THAT ENERGY
ACCESS IMPROVES LIVELIHOODS. BUT GATHERING
PROOF IS A CHALLENGING PROPOSITION.
BY JESSICA POTHERING