Applications of Energy in Global Development

Mixing char and charcoal dust in Soroti, Uganda at Appropriate Energy Saving Technologies (AEST).
Mixing char and charcoal dust in Soroti, Uganda at Appropriate Energy Saving Technologies (AEST).

Engages students in advancing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 7, which seeks to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy systems, through community-based approaches.



Applications of Energy in Global Development is hands-on and project-based. Students work in teams to develop technologies to address the needs of social enterprises. Students are guided through the design cycle and expected to develop working prototypes by the end of the semester. Students are encouraged to travel over the January Independent Activities Period to work closely with our community partners on piloting, testing, and refining prototypes developed during the semester. The class includes lectures on the product design cycle, guest lectures from social entrepreneurs, and hands-on prototyping sessions.


Teams focus on off-grid energy projects focused on lighting, cooking, indoor heating, agricultural productivity, or other solutions to advance fieldwork with pre-selected community partners. Teams work along various stages of projects, considering needs assessment, technology and business model identification, and implementation strategies. Project work includes combinations of analysis, design, prototyping, and implementation. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.


Optional January site visits may be offered to test and implement projects. Some funding available at the discretion of the instructors.


None. Enrollment limited to 20 students.


Eric Verploegen, Instructor


Read about one student’s experience working in Uganda and Kenya on a project that was a part of this class: 
Following up on Intro to Energy class projects in Uganda and Kenya


Course Information

Semester Offered
Lecture Location
Lecture Times
Units (credit hours)
Class Size
Course #
EC.712 / EC.782 (G)