STAR Energy: Sustainable and Replicable Off-grid Renewable Energy System for Riverside Communities in the Amazon


British Council - Newton Institutional Links Grants




Universidade Federal do Amazonas


Professor Elena Gaura (PI-Coventry University), Anh Tran (Coventry University), Ross Wilkins (Coventry University), James Brusey (Coventry University) and Associate Professor Rubem Cesar Rodrigues Souza (Universidade Federal do Amazonas), Alessandro Trindade (Universidade Federal do Amazonas).

Project objectives

The aim of this institutional link is to design, implement and monitor a pilot low-carbon based energy solution with a sustainable business model to increase energy security, reduce environmental impact and improve economic and health indicators for one riverside community that can be scaled and replicated in other communities in the Amazon.

The institutional link will build the expertise, knowledge and skills of academics in the renewable energy sector in Brazil and lead to sustained and robust links between Coventry University (CU) and Universidade Federal do Amazonas (UFAM). The expansion of the multi-sectorial UNESCO UNITWIN Network in Humanitarian Engineering (in which CU is the global lead), will facilitate linkages between academia, industry, NGOs and governments.

Research impact

In 2014, only 9% of Brazil's total generation of energy supply was powered from solar, wind and biomass. The government has set a target of 23% of Brazil's energy from renewable sources by 2030 as part its effort to tackle climate change [1]. When fully developed, microgrids supplied by renewable energy will increase energy security, enhance efficiency, places control of the energy supply to the local community, provide economic growth and poverty reduction.

The pilot renewable energy power generation system and community centred business models will be accompanied by energy education packages and training for local communities. The Star Energy project approach is to utilize evidence-based, quantitative and qualitative approaches to devise energy systems that empower riverside Amazon communities to fulfil their needs and aspiration for economic development, environmentally friendly technology and well-being.

Short term (3 years)

  • The renewable energy system delivered will allow communities to live sustainably, and have growing awareness of how to mitigate environmental concerns while achieving their energy driven aspirations.

Midterm (3-10 years)

  • The project will aim to empower communities that aspire to meet their energy demands through renewable technology.
  • The project will create opportunity for productive purposes (home businesses and cottage industries) and foster social and economic development in remote Amazon communities (e.g. frozen fruit pulp business with the provision of refrigeration).

Long term (5-15 years)

  • The aim is to achieve widespread adoption of renewable energy systems with economically viable business models that is scalable and replicated in riverside communities in the Amazon.
  • Through its deliverables and post-project plans, we will contribute to the development of a private sector in renewable energy supply infrastructure in Brazil by rural energy entrepreneurs who market, install, and service these systems.

[1] Brazilian Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) 2015 Accessed June 24, 2016.