At Folkecenter a very powerful invention was developed: the Sun Generator. This device transforms DC electric current which is coming from PV panels into AC, which thus can be used for electrical devices (you can experience that next to the main building where the“Café Solaire is located). Plans are to further develop the Sun Generator up to a capacity of 3-5 kW, which means that the device has the potential of bringing important amounts of electricity to rural communities and villages in Africa and in other developing countries, fact which will eventually reduce poverty. Thanks to electricity, there are much more possibilities both for working and for increasing life quality in families.
Here at Folkecenter you can find an exhibition of stoves which were developed for households in Africa, because families often use open fire in the house, which is dangerous and extremely harmful for their health. Furthermore, the Sun Generator can also be used for cooking, providing a completely fire- and smoke-free environment.
Folkecenter also has a test-room which is ¼ of a typical classroom in Africa. There, tests are made on how to illuminate the room in the most efficient way with LEDs, so that the lowest electricity consumption is achieved. Furthermore, by using LEDs we avoid the use of oil lamps which emit poor light and a high amount of harmful substances. These oils lamps need not only to be replaced in classrooms but also in households, where these lamps are used for reading, writing or simply illuminating the room. Folkecenter is currently conducting research on all these applications.
Folkecenter offers the possibility to join the Trainee Program, which is open to everyone who has an interest in renewable energy, no matter what the educational background of the person is. In this program people can learn about renewable energies within a period from couple of weeks to six months or more. Furthermore, additional organized and on-demand educational activities are carried out thought the year. Nordic Folkecenter also offers know-how transfer in both developed and developing countries with the aim of spreading the knowledge about renewable energy technologies.
All these programs are accessible to everybody, with no discriminations.
In Africa, women and children, mainly girls, stay at home as they must fulfil their duties in the household; this also means collecting wood for the fire at home to prepare the food, which is the basis to survive. Children, especially girls, are therefore not able to go to school; by providing families with efficient technologies, like stoves and the Sun Generator, the amount of wood to be collected reduces or disappears completely, which results in less or no time spent for this activity. The time can, instead, be used for going to school. Furthermore, technological know-how is not only passed over to men but also to women, helping them to be more equal regarding energy production and consumption. On top of that, Folkecenter also encourages women to participate to its educational programs, by providing reduced participation fees.
Folkecenter does its best to increase the share of renewable energies worldwide and to spread it, especially to regions which are in need of clean energy and which are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Energy efficiency, solar, wind and biofuels solutions are just some examples of technologies transferred by Folkecenter. People can learn or get trained in solutions which are already proven to be working, so that they can move away from harmful fuels and improve their living conditions by mean of renewable energies. All this, in a democratic way.
Small and middle scale enterprises (SMEs) play a big role in the society, which is why Folkecenter has different cooperation with them. The centre helps them to find financing, conduct market analysis, build and test prototypes and test them as well. Also, SMEs can participate in one of the education programs to build up knowledge about renewable and sustainable energy, which can then be used in their daily operations. The support of micro SME, (2-20 employees) helps to keep a balance between big and small companies, so that the last ones have a chance to survive, make profit and be part of the market.
With the program “Light over Africa” Folkecenter makes a big contribution in reducing inequalities as it helps to illuminate households and schools but also, metaphorically, heads. The program does not only enable children to learn, but also adults; due to work, the latter are mainly able to take courses only at night, when there is little light available. Folkecenter proposes a solution which combines solar energy, LED technology and batteries (or power banks!) to address this problem. LEDs only demand few Watts, making these installations very affordable and efficient (a whole class can consume as little as 9 W, which is 1/10 of a conventional bulb consumption). Furthermore, Folkecenter spreads the knowledge and technology to developing countries via training courses, which reduced inequalities as people can build and understand the technologies on their own and take advantage of this knowledge. Thus, also developing countries have the possibility to improve their people’s living and working conditions.
Folkecenter brings awareness to climate change and renewable energies as a necessity to reduce its impact on people’s lives. This is done by education (cf. Quality Education), political work, participation to international meetings (COP15-COP24) and cooperation with communities in Denmark as well as abroad. Cooperation in developing countries are mainly made through local NGOs. We currently have Folkecenters in Mali, Uganda, Chile and more are planned.
Here at Folkecenter there are many different nationalities represented. Not only people from Denmark or Europe participate to the Trainee Program, but from all over the world. There is no continent where there came no trainees from and we are proud to say that almost every country in the world has visited Folkecenter! By enabling the trainees and employees to work and live in such a diverse working environment, Folkecenter makes a big contribution to reduce prejudices and very common stereotypes between different cultures. Everybody has the possibility to get in touch with new cultures, build up new friendships and contacts all over the world. Being more open-minded and seeing that yes, we are all diverse, but at the same time equal, helps reducing the fear for the “other”and improves the sensation of a united and equal world.
As it is hard to reach all the goals alone, cooperation with other institutions and organisations is necessary. Folkecenter partners not only with organisations in Denmark, but also abroad. Also, the Folkecenters in Mali, Uganda and Chile enable the network of people working together, allowing them to have an even bigger impact. This helps to progress faster thanks to the information shared between the participants and the help offered to each other.