The frequency and severity of
crisis situations, such as natural disasters and violence, are of utmost
concern in our current political climate. The increasing incidence of natural
disasters has resulted in 19% of the Earth’s land area and 3.4 billion people
at high risk to experience at least one natural disaster 1. The number of individuals
forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence or
human rights violations in 2016 reached a record high of 65.6 million, many of
which currently reside in refugee camps 2.
Specific geographic areas are at
high risk of being affected by natural disasters. Geophysical hazards, such as
earthquakes and volcanoes, often are clustered along fault line boundaries 1.
Hydro-meteorological processes, such as floods, cyclones and hurricanes,
strongly affect the eastern coastal regions of most continents 1. Areas
subject to both geophysical and hydro-meteorological hazards are at large in
East and South Asia and in Central American and Western South American 1.
This geographic distribution is displayed in the top three countries most
exposed to three or more hazards. Taiwan, China leads with 73.1% of the total
area exposed to three or more hazards, followed by Costa Rica then Vanuatu with
36.8% and 28.8% respectively 1.
Similarly to natural disasters,
refugee camps follow a distinct geographic distribution. Due to the current Syrian
conflict, Turkey hosted the largest number of refugees in 2016, a total of 2.9
million 2. Pakistan held the second largest refugee population with 1.4
million, followed by Lebanon with 1 million 2. Uganda reported the highest
number of new refugees in 2016, 68% of which come from South Sudan 2.
When in a state of emergency,
whether that be due to the occurrence of a natural disaster or forced
displacement, individuals immediately experience a lack of electrical energy
and clean water. Limited drinking water poses a serious mortality risk to the
entire population, while medical intervention is inaccessible due to the
absence of energy. DEPDU Inc. proposes a Deployable Emergency Power
Distribution Unit (DEPDU) that provides durable, uninterrupted and locally
sourced emergency power production and water sanitation for those impacted by
emergency situations. By taking the geographic locations above into account,
and catering the source of energy used to the environmental conditions
experienced, energy production can be optimized.
This design proposal offers a
solution to the question, “How can locations struck by natural disasters,
refugee camps and war torn areas be provided with a locally sourced form of
energy and clean drinking water?” DEPDU Inc. has passionately decided to take
advantage of the opportunity to find a solution to this problem. The proposed
report focuses on the large scale distribution of DEPDU’s to provide an optimal
emergency source of power and water sanitation to the geographic areas of
The purpose of this literature review
is to focus on distribution of refugees, energy requirements of refugees living
in camps and disaster relief efforts, and a review of low-cost water
purification methods. An accurate representation of refugee camp distribution along
with an accurate baseline energy requirement is necessary for the scope of this
project to ensure that chosen power sources are viable for use in typical
Distribution of Refugees
For the purpose of this report,
refugees will be defined as individuals forcibly displaced from their homes due
to persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations 2. According to the UN High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR) the sum of refugees globally amounted to 65.6 million
individuals, of which 10.3 million were newly displaced, amounting to an
increase of 300,000 individuals when compared with 2015 2. Of the 3.5 million
refugees living in planned/managed camps in 2015, more than 80% were seeking
asylum in Africa within 30º latitude of the equator 3. Of the 5.64 million
refugees living in self settled camps, over 90% were also seeking asylum in
Africa within 30º latitude of the equator 3. When compared with data from end-2008,
only 64% of refugees living in camp were seeking asylum in Africa 4.
Energy Requirements of Refugees and Disaster
An outline of baseline energy
requirements is necessary for both disaster relief and refugee scenarios. In
the case of a refugee camp there are both household services and critical camp
services. Critical camp services consist of healthcare clinics, schools, street
lighting, and administrative services 5. As per the UNHCR, there should be
one primary health facility per 10 thousand individuals, containing
consultation facilities, basic curative care, oral rehydration therapy, simple
equipment and sterilization facilities, and water and sanitation equipment 6.
Basic household services can be reduced to lighting and mobile phone charging 7,
with basic lighting being defined as 300 lumens of light for 4 hours per night 8. These needs can be summarized by 15W of
electricity for 4 hours per household per night 9. When scaled to a refugee
camp of 10 thousand individuals, with an average household size of 5 this
amounts to approximately 200 kWh of daily demand 9.
Low-cost Water Purification Methods
Current water desalination
methods fall into two main categories: membrane processes account for 63.7% of
global capacity and thermal processes account for 34.2% of global capacity 10.
Less common processes include: multistage flash distillation, multi effect
distillation, vapor compressor, and electrodialysis 10. When membrane
processes are considered, reverse osmosis (RO) of seawater is the most commonly
used. The main advantage of RO processes is that they require no thermal
energy, instead relying on mechanical energy supplied by a high-pressure pump
11. Commercial scale RO plants are composed of four major sections: seawater
intake system, pre-treatment, RO permeators, and a post-treatment section 11.
Scope and Objectives of Design
The primary focus of this project
is to construct an emergency power production and sanitation unit designed to
provide uninterrupted, locally sourced power for medical purposes as well as
clean drinking water for emergency and crisis applications. DEPDU will provide
both a primary and a backup power source that is optimal for the geographic
locations discussed in section 1.1 Problem Description. The primary and backup
power sources will be in the form of solar energy and solid material combustion
respectively. DEPDU will be capable of being air dropped to remote and
potentially dangerous locations. In completing this project, DEPDU will provide
individuals facing crises with improved health, increased safety, and a
decreased carbon footprint.
The energy supplied by DEPDU aims
to power medical tents and provide clean drinking water. The provision of power
to medical tents allows said facilities to utilize the equipment that they feel
is necessary to improve patient’s health and lower the mortality rate. This is
especially important in areas of natural disasters and violence where frequency
and severity of illness and injury are often elevated. The provision of clean
drinking water also will result in an elevation in the population’s health and decreased
factors such as lack of adequate heating in both refugee camps and areas of
natural disasters can pose a serious health risk in countries with cold
conditions. For instance, in Lebanon and Iraq refugee camps in 2014, many children
died due to exposure to winter conditions 15. Also smoke inhalation, caused
by open fires in poorly ventilated areas pose many health problems. The World
Health Organization estimated that in 2012, indoor air pollution was the cause
of 20,000 refugee’s premature deaths 15. DEPDU will be able to eliminate both
of these threats to public health by providing an energy source that can be
used to provide heat if need be, and eliminate the need for open fires.
Specifically in refugee camps,
lack of a reliable energy supply significantly impacts individual’s safety.
Women and children are often faced with violence when venturing outside the
camp to collect firewood. Said violence includes verbal and physical
aggression, theft and rape 15. Medecins Sans Frontieres reported treating 500
female rape victims in Sudan refugee camps within only five months 15. Open
fires used as a source of energy in refugee camps and natural disasters pose as
safety risks as they can result in fires spreading quickly through these
densely populated areas when conditions are dry 15. Lastly, lack of power in
refugee camps can lead individuals to attempt power theft, which poses an elevated
risk of electrocution and possibly death 15. Providing an easily accessible
source of power will result in individuals not needing to look for firewood or
turn to power theft, thus increasing the population’s safety.
Patterns of energy use among both
displaced individuals and those affected by natural disasters result in
considerable environmental damage. The annual CO2 emissions produced by all
refugee camps in 2014 simply for cooking was nearly 5 million tonnes 15.
Deforestation is also a major problem in many countries with high
concentrations of refugee camps 15. In areas struck by natural disasters it
is also extremely common to use firewood for warmth, boiling water and cooking.
An estimated 49 thousand football fields of forest are deforested each year to
produce energy to refugee camps 15. Providing a form of renewable energy will
significantly reduce the carbon footprint resulting from lack of available
energy in refugee camps and areas of natural disasters.
1.4 Constraints and Criteria
Design solution must be less than specified maximum
In order for transportation and deployment of
DEPDU, it must follow specific dimensions. The width and height must both be
less than 9ft or 2.74m, and the length must be less than 40ft. or 12.19m in
order for air dropping to be possible 16. Ideally, DEPDU will provide a much
more compact solution, as available space is often limited in areas of natural
disaster and refugee camps.
Design solution must be able to be air dropped.
In order for this design to be easily deployable
to dangerous locations, DEPDU must be able to be air dropped out of an AC130
aircraft. In order to be able to be air dropped DEPDU must follow the above
size constraint as well as include a shock absorbing design component to limit
damage upon drop.
Design solution must follow all standards and codes.
Standards and codes that concern the design
process and implementation of DEPDU must be strictly followed. The Professional
Engineers of Ontario (PEO) Code of Ethics must be followed at all times by all
engineers. The Code of Ethics is especially important in this application as we
are providing a service to individuals who are in compromised situations. DEPDU
Inc. must also follow all regulations under the exported goods regulations
highlighted in section D20-1-1 of the Memorandum, Export Reporting as our
product is being exported from Canada to various countries in need. Lastly, as
our system will be equipped with a battery that is potentially explosive the
Transportation of 1992 Dangerous Goods Act must be followed during
Design solution must supply uninterrupted power.
In order for this design to supply reliable
power, the production of power must be uninterrupted. In order for power
production to be uninterrupted the system must be able to seamlessly switch
between primary and secondary power sources based on the present environmental
Design solution must be able to provide a specified quantity
of power and water.
The DEPDU system must be able to support the
average number of people in majority of refugee camps. Based on refugee camp
populations in 2017, an average of 10,000 individuals are located in each camp
9. In order to provide acceptable living conditions that contribute to
adequate quality of life, 200KWh of energy must be produced every day as well
as 20 thousand litres of water 9. Similar population size also applies to
locations of natural disaster.
Design solution must minimize possible dangers.
The DEPDU system should be manufactured with
safe materials and follow all up to date standards and codes. Potential hazards
to individuals in natural disaster and refugee camp locations must be
identified and addressed with mechanisms such as safe guards and fail safes.
Furthermore, possible dangers must be made well known to the population through
the use of proper labeling and signage on the system.
Design solution must be easy to use.
The DEPDU system must be designed in such a way
that allows the average individual to effectively operate the system. A guide
containing operational instructions and contact information for any assistance
needed will be provided. Maximizing the ease of use of the system will lead to
having a more desirable product that is more helpful to individuals in need.
Design solution must be easy to maintain.
Once assembled, the DEPDU system must be easy to
manage and maintain. This ensures that the system has a long operational life
span. A guide containing maintenance information and assistance for trouble
shooting problems must be provided to the customer to improve product
knowledge. Contact information for assistance will also be provided. Maximizing
the ease of maintenance will allow the system to operate optimally.
Your Bibliography: 1M. Dilley, R. Chen and U.
Deichmann, Natural disaster hotspots: a global risk analysis.
Washington, D.C: World Bank, 2005.
Your Bibliography: 2″UNHCR Global Trends
– Forced displacement in 2016″, UNHCR Global Trends – Forced
displacement in 2016, 2018. Online. Available:
http://www.unhcr.org/globaltrends2016/. Accessed: 28- Jan- 2018.
Your Bibliography: 3UNHCR Statistical Yearbook 2015, 15th ed. Geneva: United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 2018, pp. 182-185.
Your Bibliography: 4UNHCR Statistical Yearbook 2008, 1st ed. Geneva: United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 2018, p. 53.
5T. Corsellis and A. Vitale, Transitional settlement. Oxford: Oxfam GB, 2005.
6Handbook for emergencies, 3rd ed. Geneva: United Nations High Commissioner
for Refugees, 2007, pp. 371-373.
7Practical Action., Poor People’s Energy Outlook 2016. Rugby: Practical
Action Publishing, 2016.
8Practical Action., Poor People’s Energy Outlook 2012. Warwickshire, UK:
Practical Action Publishing, 2012.
9J. Sacino and T. Fernando, “Estimating the Energy Demand of Refugee
Camps”, in 2017 CEED Seminar, University Club of Western Australia, 2017,
10N. Ghaffour, T. Missimer and G. Amy, “Technical review and evaluation
of the economics of water desalination: Current and future challenges for
better water supply sustainability”, Desalination, vol. 309, pp. 197-207,
11A. Malek, M. Hawlader and J. Ho, “Design and economics of RO seawater desalination”,
Desalination, vol. 105, no. 3, pp. 245-261, 1996.
Your Bibliography: 15G. Lahn, Heat
light and power for refugees. Place of publication not identified:
Chatham House, 2015.
Your Bibliography: 16″Factsheets : C-130
Hercules”, Web.archive.org, 2018. Online. Available:
Accessed: 29- Jan- 2018.