Dr. Mechtenberg has been researching in Uganda since 2009 with her colleagues in Fort Portal at Mountains of the Moon University and Ugandan Martyr’s University Fort Portal Campus and in Kampala through Makerere University and Ugandan Small Scale Industries Association. This research has led to the creation of the non-profit, Empower Energy Design. Through Empower Energy Design, Dr. Mechtenberg and her partners have formed energy teams and are working on the co-design of energy devices. Currently, they are working on a concentrated solar power  (CSP) trough, thermal electric cookstoves and biogas, but have built and implemented gravity lights, hand pumps, foot petals, merry-go-round, and cattle-go-round generators as well as wind turbines and hydroelectric generators. The paradigm implemented focuses on Design by Africans, empowering the local community professionals through energy education, engineering design, and entrepreneurship. Her Ugandan research students are working on different research projects. For more information about Ugandan-based student research projects, please visit the Lab’s website!


Counsellors, Annelise Gill-Wiehl and Luke Maillie, will be traveling to Shirati, Tanzania this summer to build energy teams with their in-country partners (ReachShirati and  Shirati Hospital) and the University of Dar es Salaam. For more information about Tanzanian-based student research projects, please visit the Lab’s website!


Doyinsade Awodele is the research head for partnerships in Nigeria within the Lab (she herself is from Nigeria). Her research initiative is focused on Nigeria healthcare. The research-based framework of the efficient or lack thereof of the electricity systems takes into account their connection to the central grid and common back-up energy systems like solar panel and diesel generators. The data will evaluate the need for sustainable healthcare systems which allow for new performance metrics in healthcare facilities, specifically in terms of electricity-based reliability. For more information about Nigerian-based student research projects, please visit the Lab’s website!


University of Notre Dame

Prof. Abigail Mechtenberg  |  |  208 Jordan Hall of Science

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