First impacts of the pilot $500,000 supercomputing competition to promote carbon drawdown in the Global South
See Through News projects differ from many other forms of environmental activism because of their relentless focus on measurable results, and rejection of vague goals like ‘raising awareness’ or ‘public education’ for their own sake. Here are two updates from the winners of our pilot $500,000 supercomputing competition to speed up carbon drawdown in the Global South on how their projects are progressing 6 months after the Competition deadline.
Johnson Jayeola (Nigeria): Fring Rural Cookstove Research Project, Sept 2023 Update
Details of Johnson’s project can be found in this article. In 3 weeks, he conceived, designed, organised and implemented an ambitious project that involved uploading data from remote rural locations in 36 of Nigeria’s poorest areas to an app his team created for the purpose, and preparing the data for cloud computing, a task he’d never done before.
Here’s Daniel’s update:
Several research studies have been carried out on the impact of firewood used for cooking on public health and the environment. There is however, very little data-based research on replacing firewood with alternative, clean energy for cooking.
In March 2023, I proposed a research project that won the strongly-contested global See Through Carbon Competition, awarding US$500,000 of super-computing donated by UK cloud computing management platform YellowDog, receiving local and international coverage.
By the April 10th 2023 deadline, my team (Fring Integrated), Plogging Nigeria (Volunteers) and Sodiq Jinad (IT Expert) leveraged the super-computing award for our research project. Our objectives were to gather and analyse high quality data which would:
- increase carbon drawdown
- reduce morbidity rates
- arrest deforestation
We conducted our field research in 36 villages across Nigeria, which are already suffering from climate-related issues, from deforestation to poor air quality, high respiratory-related morbidity, and forced relocation following storm damage to their homes and farmland.
Within a week of our project’s approval, we developed a data collection app. I assembled a team of 48 volunteers, who were trained in:
- using the app to gather data from households using firewood, gas and hybrids in the mapped population area
- methods to strategically sensitise (educate) rural residents about the effect of carbon and climate change.
Our volunteer data-gatherers discouraged our research subjects from continuing with the usage of firewood to cook and encouraged them to consider switching to a clean zero-carbon powerstove.
Fring Integrated collaborated with an organisation that provides sustainable alternative cooking systems, fuelled by sustainable, net-zero wood pellets.
Our research system collected and collated data in real time, on 5 cooking instruments (firewood plus 4 comparators) over:
- 1 country (Nigeria)
- 6 geo-political zones
- 12 States
- 20 Local Governments
- 36 Communities
with the bulk of the data coming from Nigeria’s South West region.
Headline findings were that across all our sampled regions, communities and states, the main cooking fuels were firewood and gas, but we were able to generate a detailed, complex, granular analysis.
Our app enabled us to collect and collate the data in time to apply the supercomputing processing awarded by the Competition, to generate outputs including:
- Descriptive statistics of the data
- Count of cooking instrument with respondents
- Survey distribution by region
- Data visualisation of cooking instruments across geo-political zones
- Data visualisation of cooking instruments across local governments
- Data visualisation of cooking instruments across sampled states
- Data analysis, results and discussions
Our research project has generated a unique, precise and accurate dataset that is now:
- playing a critical technical role in guiding informed decisions on the targeted provision of household clean alternative energy for cooking
- providing evidence-based advice for a range of government departments and NGOs in supporting rural residents across Nigeria
Daniel Zepeda Rivas (Mexico/UK): Zero Carbon Building in Changing Climates Project, Sept 2023 Update
Daniel’s project, described in this article, marries two huge datasets, one on the carbon intensity of local buildings around the world, the other about future weather extremes in those locations.
Thanks to the Competition, he was able to subject both to massive cloud computing analysis, resulting inf 36TB of output data, which he’s now reviewing before making all the results available online for free as a ‘handbook’, with an accompanying design tool.
This dataset will enable anyone, anywhere in the world, who’s building a new building, to know the optimal process and materials to minimise carbon impact, and maximise climate resilience.
Here’s Daniel’s update:
- The analysis of results from the simulations is finished. We verified the results, tried different approaches, and the data and the format were selected according to the requirements of FCBS [Fielden Clegg Bradley Studios, a leading sustainable architecture practice] and UCL [Universtity College London]’s supervision. Additional essential support was provided by UCL personnel as well as practical feedback from FCBS to ensure its applicability.
- The handbook is coming on schedule. A few meetings were held to determine the specific data to include from the analysis in the handbook and the tool. Since there was a substantial amount of information produced during the analytic work, the initial ideas evolved, and both sides, UCL and FCBS, provided their comments and requirements, the specific data to be shown was agreed upon and is now in the final production stage. The handbook is planned to be digitally published during the next spring.
- An Alpha version of the design tool has been produced. This version covers 500 locations globally (thanks to See Through Carbon´s support), instead of the 40 initially planned. This version has a summarised database with all the necessary data to work. The file contains everything needed to create a beta version on a different programming platform according to FCBS requirements.
- The $500,000 USD that was allocated to the project was fully utilised the best way possible. This additional funding allowed us to overcome the technological challenges we were facing and expedite the process, resulting in a more robust and comprehensive analysis. This was made possible through the support of FCB Studios, See Through Carbon and YellowDog, as well as with the invaluable contributions of several UCL academics who provided their expertise.
- The project received outstanding support from additional UCL researchers. During the second half of the project, multiple experts in various fields provided guidance and support to help achieve the ambitious goals. The 36 terabytes of data generated as an output from the simulations have been produced, analysed, and stored. Additional support was given to create and manipulate the database created.
- Additional funding was obtained to continue the development and distribution of the outputs. Additional funding was obtained through UCL to continue the development of the outputs of the project as well as the coordination with third parties such as software developers, web designers, etc.