More than one billion people worldwide receive healthcare in a facility without electricity, and even more obtain healthcare at a facility with unreliable electricity, meaning the clinics are unable to access adequate and/or consistent power. Energy inequities in healthcare have many direct consequences, such as inability to power medical devices, as well as latent adverse health outcomes, including increased mortality and higher incidence of disease.
To address this, we are investigating a vehicle-to-microgrid (V2μG) system that will equip health clinics in low- and middle-income countries with the electricity needed to keep them running, while enabling mobile health services via access to electric bicycles and motorbikes. Currently, we are conducting a local pilot project in partnership with the UW Makerspace and the student organization F.H. King: Students for Sustainable Agriculture to vet and improve the V2μG system’s design before applying it to a global health setting. Simultaneously, we are developing a mathematical framework to optimize the higher-level design of system (e.g., how many kW should the microgrid be capable of producing, how many vehicles are required, etc.) such that in unfavorable weather conditions or during times of disaster, a Minimum Viable Clinic is always electrified, and in favorable conditions, the clinic can offer a full array of health services, both on-site and mobile.