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RealLab Ökoflussplan

ÖkoFlussPlan: Start of Construction Works For “Real Lab” in Kyrgyzstan to Showcase Use of Solar Energy and Sustainable Insulation Materials

The construction of “Real Lab” has been begun – a community house, to demonstrate the use of sustainable energy solutions, and impact of sustainable insulation material in high-altitude and cold climatic region of rural Kyrgyzstan.

The Institute of new Energy Systems (InES) of Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt (THI) is responsible for work package 5 (renewable energies) in the project ÖkoFlussPlan. The main aim of this work package is to provide feasible solutions to integrate renewable energies in rural Kyrgyzstan. In addition to the main scope of the “ÖkoFlussPlan” project, THI planned to construct “Real Lab” – a community house, to demonstrate the use of sustainable energy solutions.

Eindrücke vom Kick-Off © Kedar Mehta – TH Ingolstadt
Figure 1: Glimpses from "Real Lab" kick-off ceremony © Kedar Mehta – TH Ingolstadt

The “Real Lab” follows a multi-dimensional approach to the dissemination of knowledge and awareness about renewable energies in rural Kyrgyzstan. The real laboratory is a 100 m² building that is being built in Ak-Tal, a village in the Naryn region, Kyrgyzstan. On September 30, 2021, the kick-off meeting was held at the local-self governance house to start official construction works for “Real Lab” in Ak-Tal. All involved partners and local residents came together to initiate the construction on-site. Typically for construction start, a capsule with good wishes for all involved parties was embedded in the first piece of the foundation. The capsule-laying ceremony was attended by the deputy district manager Akim Abdymalik Sulaimanov, the head of the local-self-governance of Ak-Tal village Rakhat Aalybaev, Mr. Kedar Mehta, and Mr. Jakob Beringer from THI, involved building agencies (NakStroi, Mr. Edilbek Usupbaev, and Ms. Elnura Kochkunova), represntatives from CAMP Alatoo (the non-profit organization) and Ak-Tal residents. During the opening ceremony of the construction procedure, the head of local self-governance Rakhat Aalybaev mentioned that “the upcoming building and research related to how to reduce the solid fuel usage for house heating will be favorable for local Kyrgyz people. Further to this, he thanked team THI as well as the funding agency (The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research) for the execution of the “Real Lab” in the Ak-Tal region.

As a next step, THI will install renewable energy technologies at “Real Lab” that ensure the supply of the building with space heating, hot water, and electricity. Further to this, The non-profit organization CAMP Alatoo will insulate the “Real Lab” with locally available sustainable insulation material. This is how “Real Lab” will act as a model house in the region. Being an academic partner in the project consortium, Naryn State University shall have a key role in engaging with and taking responsibility for the technical components of the “Real Lab” facility. To maximize the benefits, the undergraduate students from NSU shall be involved in regular research training at the “Real Lab”, which will allow them to explore their knowledge in the field of renewable energy. However, the scope of scientific activities is not limited to the on-site training, but also includes R&D activities, maintenance, and repair of the installed technologies, the writing of theses to assess the performance of the installed system as well as the generation of technical reports, providing insights into the efficiency of the installed energy systems in the Kyrgyz climate. As a partner in the project ÖkoFlussPlan, the self-governance authority of Ak-Tal will support the planned “Real Lab” through various measures. In order to raise awareness for the benefits of renewable energies and building insulation in the Ak-Tal community and neighboring regions, visiting the “Real Lab” will be free of charge for all interested parties. Moreover, the premises shall be used in various ways to benefit the community of Ak-Tal, for instance through enabling community meetings or accommodating the local kindergarten. The local self-governance of Ak-Tal will operate and maintain the “Real Lab” building within and beyond the project duration and is willing to take over ownership after the closure of the project.

“Real Lab” Bauentwicklung und Design © Kedar Mehta – TH Ingolstadt
Figure 2: “Real Lab” building constrution progress and (final) architectural design © Kedar Mehta – TH Ingolstadt

Besides the “Real Lab” kick-off meeting, team THI installs a weather station on-site to record local climatic conditions including air temperature, wind speed, wind direction, humidity as well as solar irradiation. The data will be collected and utilized for the ongoing project purpose as well as students from the Naryn State University use that data for research purpose within and beyond the project.

Die Wetterstation der Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt © Kedar Mehta – TH Ingolstadt
Figure 3: Installed weather station in rural Kyrgyztsan by Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt © Kedar Mehta – TH Ingolstadt