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GlobalResolve work earns international award

March 04, 2010

An international, multidisciplinary student team organized through the College of Technology and Innovation’s GlobalResolve initiative recently won the Mondialogo Engineering Bronze Award for a project designed to replace wood and coal cooking fuel in Ghana with clean-burning ethanol gel fuel similar to Sterno©. Their project was chosen to receive one of 32 awards from a field of nearly 1,000 submissions.

Mondialogo, a joint initiative of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) and Daimler, was founded to promote intercultural exchange. The Mondialogo engineering awards honor proposals addressing the most important challenges of today’s world – eradicating poverty, promoting sustainable development and responding to climate change.

ASU students are continuing to work with students from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) to implement the award-winning proposal. It involves the design of a still for producing ethanol from locally grown crops, a stove that uses the gel fuel, and the use of local materials such as enzymes and gelling agents in fuel production.  Project members hope that manufacture and sale of the ethanol fuel and stoves will serve to stimulate the local economy. 

“This award will allow us to strengthen our partnership with KNUST and further support the work of graduate students at that university,” said Dan Killoren, a doctoral student at ASU and organizer of the ASU team. 

The prize money, € 5,000 (US $7,387) will be used to fund further development and implementation of the project in Ghana.

Two team members from KNUST traveled to Stuttgart, Germany, last fall for the Mondialogo Engineering Award Symposium, where, along with winning teams from 28 countries, they presented their project to a jury of international engineering experts.

According to the winning proposal, there is an acute need for cleaner cooking methods in Ghana. Most of a Ghanaian household’s energy consumption is accounted for by cooking fuel, and more than 90 percent of cooking fuel is either wood or charcoal. Fuels such as kerosene and natural gas comprise only about 5 percent.

The smoke from cooking fires contributes to respiratory infections, which are a major worldwide health problem. According to World Health Organization data, more than two million people die every year from acute respiratory infections; pneumonia alone accounts for more than 20 percent of deaths among children younger than five.

“Using clean-burning ethanol as a fuel for cooking promises to reduce respiratory illness as well as greenhouse gas emissions in Ghana,” Killoren said.

Written By Kari Stallcop

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