The MBRACE project would not be possible without the incredible work of the following partners:
Casa Pueblo is a community resilience NGO located in Adjuntas, Puerto Rico. Casa Pueblo was founded in 1980 to organize the people of Adjuntas against mining explorations in the central mountains of Puerto Rico. Since then, Casa Pueblo has expanded its community resilience projects to include solar energy, local coffee production, forest schools, and a radio station. The overall mission of Casa Pueblo is to make Adjuntas a reference community for Puerto Rico and the Caribbean of what a sustainable, resilient, and democratic community can look like. Their work on community resilience after hurricane Maria has been featured by National Geographic and renowned journalists like Amy Goodman and Naomi Klein.
Casa Pueblo, especially Arturo Massol Deyá, Alexis Massol González, and Tinti Deyá Díaz, has been a key partner in the MBRACE project since its inception. They have worked with UM student cohorts to install a biomass gasifier within their existing solar microgrid, as well as model renewable microgrid solutions for powering commercial buildings throughout Adjuntas.
University of Puerto Rico, Utuado
The 2018 UM student cohort collaborated with partners from UPR Utuado to build a gasifier prototype as well as a kiln for drying biomass feedstock. Additionally, they ran experiments together using the co-produced biochar to test its efficacy in enhancing soil fertility and plant growth. The team acknowledges and thanks Javier Lugo, Carlos Semidei, Andre Sanfiorenzo, Mariangie Ramos, Olgaly Ramos, and Harrywilliam Gonzalez for their mentorship and support.
Sustainability Without Borders (SWB)
SWB is an interdisciplinary student organization founded by Dr. Jose Alfaro in 2014, sponsored by the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) and the Center for Sustainable Systems (CSS). SWB has become a vehicle for global and engaged learning for both undergraduate and graduate students in departments across the University of Michigan.
SWB’s mission is to establish ethical partnerships between UM students and communities that increase sustainability through knowledge sharing, capacity building, and engaged learning experiences. SWB’s vision is to create a network of sustainability practitioners around the world to create a bottom-up movement towards sustainability solutions. The MBRACE project has served as a project within SWB’s portfolio since it began.
Makerworks is the largest community workshop located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. They provide space, tools, and classes dedicated to supporting community members in making things. The staff has been incredibly supportive of the MBRACE project. Several gasifiers for the project, including the one operating at Casa Pueblo, have been constructed at Makerworks under the guidance of their staff. They have provided space at their facilities for running experiments on the gasifiers, and have taught several UM student members how to safely operate a variety of metalworking tools.
Graham Sustainability Institute
The Graham Institute at the University of Michigan catalyzes and facilitates sustainability-focused collaborations involving faculty, students, and external stakeholders. The MBRACE project falls within the Graham Institute’s Emerging Opportunities Program, and is mainly funded by a grant awarded from the Graham Institute.
Graham page on MBRACE
William Davidson Institute
The William Davidson Institute (WDI) at the University of Michigan is a non-profit research and educational organization that applies business skills in low-and-middle-income countries to drive economic development and improve social welfare. WDI is a generous funder and provider of in-kind support to the MBRACE project.
Jose Alfaro is one of the core faculty members from UM involved in the MBRACE project. The research within his lab focuses on topics such as industrial symbiosis, circular economy, and sustainability and development.
Ivette Perfecto is one of the core faculty members from UM involved in the MBRACE project. The research within her lab focuses on topics such as agroecology, biodiversity, and ecosystem services.
John Vandermeer is one of the core faculty members from UM involved in the MBRACE project. The research within his lab focuses on topics such as theoretical ecology, agroecology, and tropical ecology.
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