ITT's work has been featured in the news for pioneering innovative technologies across multiple sectors. We have also been invited to share our perspectives on novel approaches to solving some of today's most critical challenges.
While the social technology ecosystem is highly innovative, many efforts fail to achieve scale or impact. This research note examines the experience of fifteen technologies across the health, agriculture, energy and household/appliance sectors. Across these technologies—the way they were funded, their business models, and their successes and challenges to date—a number of clear themes emerge, with important implications for how innovators and funders, alike, can make more thoughtful decisions as the ecosystem matures.
The model’s technical success rests on improved microgrid technology, notably The Institute of Transformative Technology’s purpose-built utility-in-a-box (UiB), an innovation that not only protects sensitive equipment from the harsh heat of Indian summers and its torrential monsoons, but compresses these into a box stored beneath a solar panel, saving valuable square footage. It reduces build-time from months to a matter of weeks, with a significant cost reduction that makes the systems more commercially viable.
To roll out that many systems, TP Renewable Microgrid will leverage a model developed by Berkeley-based Institute for Transformative Technologies called “Utility-in-a-Box”—a relatively low-cost, easy to install modular mini-grid system that has been tested in the Indian states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
In response to the global COVID-19 crisis, ITT and the Global Development Incubator (GDI) have launched a partnership to curate, design, and promote effective solutions to the COVID response in low-income countries.
Malcolm Gladwell talks with Dr. Shashi Buluswar in this Solvable Podcast about fighting global poverty with the Institute for Transformative Technologies.
Hosted by the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship as part of the annual Skoll World Forum, arguing for the motion were Tanya O’Carroll from Amnesty International’s global technology and human rights programme, Dr Mariarosaria Taddeo of the Oxford Internet Institute and Sean Hinton of Open Society Foundations. In opposition were Tom Adams of 60 Decibels, Chi Nnadi of Sela Technologies and Shashi Buluswar of the Institute for Transformative Technologies.
In recent years, the rapidly growing presence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in virtually every aspect of life in the industrialized world has led to important questions on how AI can help achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). There is a significant knowledge gap between the AI community and the development community, which needs to be closed in order to separate fact from hype, and to ensure resources are dedicated to initiatives with a meaningful likelihood of impact. Shashi Buluswar, CEO of ITT and Zia Khan, Vice President for Innovation at the Rockefeller Foundation debate the issue.
In short, no—at least when it comes to lower-income countries and populations, and not in time for the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Frontier technologies are driving the fastest pace of change ever seen. Harnessing their power to achieve sustainable development is critical, but it has to be done right.
India has made reasonable progress in improving access to last-mile healthcare over the last decade. However, the improved access has not reached the 29 states equally, writes Krisha Mathur, who looks after ITT’s India Healthcare portfolio.
Going from village to village in India to promote the use of toilets that use worms to break down fecal matter, the team from the Institute for Transformative Technologies (ITT) found young girls to be their biggest champions.
New testing by the Institute for Transformative Technologies (ITT) finds Lithium-Ion (Li-ion), Aqueous Hybrid Ion (AHI) and Advanced Lead Acid (ALA) batteries all have strengths, but cost will be king.
The Indian government has already announced steps to support 10,000 mini-grids by 2021. The country is also quickly becoming the world leader in solar irrigation as well. Efforts are already underway within India to drive down the both the capital and operational costs of mini-grids and create a “Utility-in-a-Box.”
Sanjay Khazanchi, chief executive, Access to Electricity (India), Institute for Transformative Technology (ITT), told Energy-Storage.News that at present lithium-ion-based storage solutions are not widely used in mini-grids in India primarily due to cost reasons. The industry is waiting eagerly for the prices to drop but this could take some time.
Africa, Indian governments aim to leverage solar PV, mini-grids in joint bid to eradicate energy poverty
Off-grid solar and renewable energy technology and systems innovations such as ITT’s “Utility-in-a-Box” (UiB) have the potential to make a significant contribution in terms of enhancing India’s capacity to realize its ambitious universal electricity access, renewable energy, climate change action and sustainable development goals.
The Institute for Transformative Technologies’ (ITT) “Utility-in-a-Box” (UiB) is making its debut in India as three private-sector energy services companies (ESCOs) embark on testing and subsequent field trials of the solar-renewable energy mini/microgrid platform in rural communities.
The solar photovoltaic (PV) system was designed by the US- and Mumbai-based Institute for Transformative Technologies (ITT) and is to be tested by private-sector Indian energy services companies TARA Urja, Mlinda and OMC Power.
Prototypes of an integrated, standardized “Utility in a Box” (UiB) are being deployed in rural India, with the goal of significantly reducing the cost of mini-grid systems and contributing more significantly to India’s goal of national electrification by 2019.
Enduring solutions prove themselves under tough conditions. If Ecoult’s UltraBattery can cut the dependence on diesel in rural India, where it is being tested by the Institute for Transformative Technologies, then it may be able to do the same in Africa and South-East Asia.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency delivered a grant for $4.1M to Ecoult, to help the company improve its flagship product. The UltraBattery, a hybrid lead-acid battery with an integrated supercapacitor, is the core technology behind Ecoult’s UltraFlex, which is currently under test at the Institute for Transformative Technologies (ITT) in India. ITT is evaluating multiple energy storage systems as part of its rural electrification program.
New technology for batteries will soon electrify India’s off-grid power facilities. The Institute of Transformative Technologies (ITT) is currently working on three different battery types in the hope of reducing cost and increasing the lifespan of batteries.
Shashi Buluswar and his colleague Subarna Mitra tell E4C that through the ‘50 Breakthroughs’ research process, they found that most of the “innovation ecosystem” was focused on a number of small issues; that many big pressing questions were not being addressed.
Universal access to electricity will be realized when people have electricity-powered services for basic needs, beyond just a fan and light bulbs. Decentralized solar PV mini-grids are promising for cost-effective rural electrification but continue to be limited by a large affordability gap exacerbated by acute shortage of funding.
They say the poor will always be with us, but does that have to be true? Global poverty rates are dropping fast, and new technologies may help end extreme poverty in this century.
WASHINGTON: ‘Impact Inventing’, a form of innovation designed to change the lives of masses living in poverty around the world, found itself in the spotlight of the Lemelson Foundation’s 20th anniversary conference held in Washington recently.
Water will be the defining problem of the next 50 years. After spending the past two years delving into critical technological advances that my team of scientists, researchers and I believe are vital to moving the needle on poverty, we agree that it’s probably the single most important issue that needs to be solved.
There are so many projects in global health that sometimes it’s hard to figure out which ones are the most important. So Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory set out to list the 50 breakthroughs that would most transform the lives of the poor, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Shashi Buluswar, an author of the study, spoke with Morning Edition’s Renee Montagne.
Three years ago, I was a consultant providing strategic advice on international development. My clients included foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, and large institutions like USAID, the World Bank, and UN agencies.
Which major breakthroughs in technology have had a transformative effect on the lives of the world’s poorest? Vaccines for polio and other serious diseases; HIV anti-retrovirals; mosquito bed-nets with powerful insecticide infused into its fabric. All have transformed lives by dramatically reducing disease.
Shashi Buluswar, CEO, LIGTT Institute, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Berkeley, USA Think beyond mobile: There have been some very exciting technologies using mobile phone systems. However, there has not been much outside the mobile space. I’d love to talk about what kinds of things are required in health and agriculture beyond mobile technologies.