There is an incoming call on Skype. It's Dan-Eric Archer, who is waiting for his passport in Ankara, Turkey, and who cannot cycle on towards Kenya. While waiting, he checks up various details needed for a thesis in the Master's Programme in Sustainable Energy Systems.
His body is still in good shape, despite having cycled up to now halfway to Kenya, after starting from Trondheim, Norway. And he is not hanging around. He crossed Romania in two days. The journey continues soon through Syria, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Sudan, Southern Sudan to the final destination Lamu, an island off the Kenyan coast.
After his arrival in Kenya in November, he will work as a volunteer to build a sewage system for a school for children growing up in Africa's largest slum, Kibera. This is a project that has been realised thanks to a group of Swedish students. They set up the group ”Enda Vägen” (”The Only Way”) to raise funds and to drive the school project forward.
The school's sewage system is constructed in collaboration with Engineers Without Borders, an organisation that has an office at Chalmers. He has prepared well at home, partly through his MSc in Mechanical Engineering with a master's in energy technology and partly by being involved in projects for small-scale biogas production.
As a member of the organisation, Dan-Eric Archer wants to contribute to sustainability using his engineering expertise.
"Engineers Without Borders is a good thing,” he says.” As a Chalmers student, one should have enough confidence after completing one's studies to be able to make a difference by contributing skills and knowledge in development projects, and not simply by donating funds. It is also more fun and more rewarding.
“We will build a small-scale biogas plant to take care of the school's sewage and kitchen waste and turn it into biogas. The gas can then be used for cooking and as agricultural fertilizer.”
After this project, Dan-Eric will cycle to the Kenyan coast and Lamu Island to work on his thesis, which is a theoretical study of the energy systems and energy use on the island.
”I plan to find out what conditions apply locally and propose an energy system that suits the needs of Lamu Island and which is sustainable in the long term.”You can follow Dan-Eric's trip on his blog
which is about cycling, energy issues, food, agriculture, and perhaps heavy metal.Engineers Without BordersEnda Vägen (”The Only Way”)Master's programme in Sustainable Energy System
The photo above is shot in May 2011, when Dan-Eric Archer and his friend Erik Wallnér prepaired for a cycle tour through Sweden.
Text: Åsa Ekvall
Photo: Torgil Störner