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Knowledge management platform for promoting sustainable energy technologies in rural Thai communities

Payakpate, Janjira (2008) Knowledge management platform for promoting sustainable energy technologies in rural Thai communities. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Sustainable energy services aim to meet the energy demands and to improve the living standards of rural communities with the utilization of sustainable energy technologies. Such services are becoming increasingly important due to the reduction of traditional energy resources and the ongoing increase in the demands. The demands are mainly due to the growth of population, domestic consumptions and industrial uses. In addition, increasing awareness of issues such as global warming, carbon emission, peak oil and the need for a sustainable environment has kindled keen interests in sustainable energy around the world. Many projects on sustainable energy services have been launched and particularly in developing countries. In most areas, at least one type of sustainable energy resources is available. In the case of Thailand, in additional to resources such as solar and wind, there are other sustainable energy resources in the forms of biomass and waste residue from agricultural products. However, there exist practical problems hindering the success of many sustainable energy projects. Two key reasons are the lack of in depth knowledge regarding the sustainable energy systems among the local users, and the limited budgets for planning, research and development. Therefore, the need to promote better understanding of sustainable energy technologies is necessary in order to gain better utilization of the energy services and acceptance by the community. One possible solution is the use of a Knowledge Management System (KMS). Based on advanced Information and Communication Technology (ICT), the integration of knowledge management and web technologies has enabled KMS to be developed as an effective tool for the sharing, management and dissemination of valuable knowledge on any particular subject. This combination has the potential to promote the knowledge and initiate relevant activities thereby enabling the acquisition and management of diverse types of information and data. Typical functions and services which could be provided are: checking updated information on sustainable energy resources around a particular area; teaching of sustainable energy systems development and maintenance processes; sharing of best practices and lessons learned etc. With the availability of the internet, a Web-based KMS will be a valuable channel for the gathering, sharing, extracting and dissemination of knowledge about the sustainable energy services for the Thai communities.

This thesis presents the research and development of a knowledge management (KM) platform for sustainable energy technologies. The system is implemented with web GIS server-side application and it is installed at the School of Renewable Energy Technology, Naresuan University, Phitsanulok, Thailand. To assess the effectiveness of the developed system, surveys in the form of pre-questionnaires and post-questionnaires from the users are used. Such information is used to determine the effectiveness of the system and to measure the improvement of the participants' knowledge on the subject. There are three groups of participants involved in this study: local government administrators, researchers and general users. The overall results of the questionnaires reveal that the participants are satisfied with the performance of the KM platform. The results also indicated that the KM platform provides adequate knowledge on the subject and it has a high level of user friendliness. It was found that the participants' knowledge is also increased and the increase is in proportion to the time they engaged with the KM platform. A linear regression analysis of the researchers and local government administrators has shown that the increment of the participants' knowledge has a linear relationship with the learning period on the KM platform with statistical significance. Findings from this study can be used as a guideline and for further development on improving the local Thai communities' knowledge on sustainable energy technologies.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Information Technology
Supervisor(s): Fung, Lance
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