The e-TBI project will be carried out by the newly established Innovative Global Energy Solutions Center (igesc)* located in the Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center (AERTC) building at Stony Brook University. The development plan for e-TBI will consist of four tasks: physical infrastructure, IT infrastructure, education, and economic development, which will be completed within three years.
Physical (Energy and Water) Infrastructure
TBI-Turkwel, located to the west of Lake Turkana, is relatively more developed than TBI-Ileret located to the east of the lake (see Existing Facilities and Resources at TBI). Currently, neither facility can meet the demands of growing research activities. Each facility offers slightly different renewable energy resources, e.g., east side: solar, biomass, wind and geothermal; west side: solar, biomass and geothermal. The goal is to establish a robust energy and clean water infrastructure through the most cost-effective and sustainable technologies, designed to overcome the challenges of the local environments, enabling e-TBI to become an incubator for new ideas and their translation into practical water and energy solutions. In specific, e-TBI aims to develop a 20KW energy generation station and robust drinking and waste-water treatment facilities suitable to host a population of 100 people for each TBI site year round.
Information Technology Infrastructure
Currently, TBI does not have a reliable information technology (IT) infrastructure. The applications of computers, networks and telecommunications equipment, in the context of research, energy management, telemedicine and economic development are severely insufficient. For example, each research expedition at TBI can easily generate from 100 GB to 10 TB of digital data, however, such data are extremely vulnerable to damage due to inadequate IT infrastructure. The aim here is to develop a reliable IT infrastructure with emphasis on the adoption of sustainable wireless technology that can store, retrieve, transmit and manipulate data. The robust wireless network not only can help the local communities facilitate economic development activities, but also will enable the establishment of tele-medical services to TBI and the local communities.
The educational goal of e-TBI is to establish an energy and environmental education center in northern Kenya. With an experiential education focus, e-TBI intends to disseminate its experience in working in developing countries, garnered through its on-the-ground facilities and extensive connections in East Africa, in order to create a world-class virtual consortium that will lead the way in addressing the Water-Energy Nexus in a multidisciplinary, systems-based approach.
The economic and business component of e-TBI aims to stimulate entrepreneurship, enable local businesses, empower women, and facilitate investment by financial institutions. To engage our East African partners and ensure that e-TBI addresses problems that have high priority in the region, demonstration projects (e.g., construction, transportation, IT, energy, water and food technologies) with emphasis on technology transfer, local capacity building and entrepreneurship training in the region will be solicited. The e-TBI economic development solutions will be based on the best available science and engineering technologies, combined with a holistic perspective to promote solutions that are culturally and regionally appropriate, and economically feasible.