Renewable Energy Generated by the Impacts of Natural and Accidental Disasters (REGINA)
Explain your idea in details:
The main objectives of REGINA are focused on two sustainable development goals: (A) convert “energy” from water hazards to renewable energy (SDG7) (B) self-activated disaster warning mechanism based on the level of disaster (SDG11) More specifically, the REGINA Units will be developed in riparian areas where disaster-affected communities with limited access to energy and poor disaster prevention and resilience practices reside. The main idea is to generate and provide clean energy, given FREE during a water-based hazard, while the local populations are alerted to evacuate their location for their own safety. Our concept is mainly based on the flow from floods and torrents that will initiate small scale power generators automatically, capable of producing sufficient electricity to power shelters and other safe zones for a specific period of time (batteries in safe zones will also store this energy for later use). Furthermore, “smart” gauges will be able to observe the water level of rivers and when critical levels are reached, they will self-activate multiple warning mechanisms (e.g. sirens, lights, voice messages on speakers) to inform the people for their evacuation. Again the innovation and advantage is that gauge will be self-powered by the water flow. Under normal conditions, the REGINA will behave as a small scale hydropower generator that produces electricity from the river flow for the needs of the communities (e.g. providing power for schools, medical units, agricultural purposes, safety, livelihood, etc.). Waterproof cables will transfer the electricity from the generators to the requested locations.
Expected impact of your idea on sustainable development
The REGINA is an innovative method of transforming catastrophes/accidents into a “power-opportunity” through small scale hydroelectric generation units for populations that do not have stable access to electric energy and suffer from natural hazards. The goal is to test first in Central America (Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua). The generated power will be sufficient to support small and/or isolated communities in rural areas with low or no access to energy sources, especially after disaster occurrences. Furthermore, the REGINA will promote disaster mitigation, prevention and response mechanisms, such as disaster education and training programs, DIY resilience techniques, emergency behavior, evacuation map use, etc., to the affected communities for strengthening their resilience against such threats. Last but not least, the involved populations will be educated and trained on how to recover from the impacts of disasters, as well as to be involved in ecotourism and agricultural activities, in order to improve their quality of living. Based on the progress and available funds, the REGINA Units will afterwards be developed in riparian ecosystems of East/Southeast Asia (Laos, Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea) and Europe (Greece, Cyprus, Norway, Italy, etc.)*. The REGINA project is expected to be low cost and applicable in a plethora of countries that suffer from water hazards. This research is unique and pioneering and hopes to change our way of thinking in regards to natural hazards. *Please note that there might be some modifications in the countries’ list
Plans for implementation and sustainability
This project promotes not only sustainability, but also innovation in a pioneering way by linking risk management and disaster mitigation to generate renewable energy. Central America is a region that is highly vulnerable to the impacts of Climate Change; therefore, the vision of this project focuses on efficient risk management, promotion of small scale renewable energy, mitigation of the effects of food insecurity, as well as a more active involvement of local communities to enhance their own resilience. The core team and other major partners will be involved in and supervise all the responsibilities and project stages, suggest study area(s), and examine thoroughly information regarding climate change vulnerability and natural disaster response. Currently, efforts are made to select pilot communities in riparian areas (Guatemala). After finalizing the required procedures and agreements with communities and municipal government(s), investors, sponsors and other funding sources will be approached.
Spyros Schismenos (09.05.1986) is a researcher of the Research Center for Soil & Water Resources and Natural Disaster Prevention, National Yunlin University of Science and Technology in Taiwan. He is a member of the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth (UN MGCY) and an Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) Young Scientists. He is also the Focal Point of UNESCO Chair on Conservation and Ecotourism of Riparian and Deltaic Ecosystems (Con-E-Ect) for the Wider Region of Asia and Pacific. Finally, he is also pursuing his MSc in the Analysis and Management of Manmade and Natural Disasters of the Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Institute of Technology (EMATTECH) & Hellenic Fire Academy/School of Fire Officers in Greece. The core team also includes: Miss Fátima Castaneda, IRDR Young Scientist and a PhD student in Sustainable Development at Universidad Galileo in Guatemala, specializing in the promotion of clean energy, climate change and sustainable development in Central America. Professor Dimitrios Emmanouloudis, Vice President of EMATTECH and UNESCO Chairholder of Con-E-Ect. Assistant Professor George N. Zaimes, Department of Forestry and Natural Environment Management (EMATTECH) and Deputy Chair of the UNESCO CHAIR Con-E-Ect. Additional researchers, experts and colleagues from Europe, East and Southeast Asia, North and Central America, that will also assist implementing this idea. The goal of REGINA is to become an innovative “smart” tool for converting clean energy from water flow during extreme events, observing water levels and act as a warning system for water-based disasters in order to protect both the environment and those in need.