My mission is to create a design project that will make use of alternative energy sources to help people living off the power grid with specific needs in sub-Saharan Africa.
According to World Resources Institute in 2000, 27.2% of the world’s population did not have electricity in their homes. International Energy Agency points out that 80% of people living without electricity live in rural areas of the developing world, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa, South and East Asia. In 2000, only 24.2% of the people living in Sub-Saharan Africa had electricity in their homes. 32% of the countries in this region have more than 90% of their homes without electricity.
The area is one of the focal points of the world’s biggest organizations, yet the lack of electricity in the area makes their job very difficult. Medical supplies to fight with deadly epidemics, and agricultural supplies to ease plantation and fight hunger spoil without refrigeration, existing lighting methods using kerosene result in child poisoning and are highly affected by the oil prices, community knowledge is weakened without communication devices, and clean and uncontaminated water is very hard to be reached without electronic pumps. These factors are lowering the impact of the help in the area and slowing down the improvements. Therefore, using the sustainable methods to generate electricity in the area and raising awareness for this issue is essential to yield from every effort put into helping Africa despite the harsh natural conditions of this area. The contacted New York City based non-profit organizations are Energy Vision, Keep A Child Alive, William J. Clinton Foundation and Millennium Villages.
Design sketches for three possible solutions (sketches):
- A project that includes elementary school kids (age 6 to 12) to bring home the necessary light source. A backpack that they use to carry their school supplies in can have rechargeable batteries that can be plugged into the school during class time. The school building’s function is doubled as a solar energy plant. The centralized energy makes it more available. The project uses photovoltaic panels and high efficiency rechargeable batteries.
- A water carrying system can use solar-thermal energy to sanitize and turn it into drinkable water. Water comes to a safe cleanliness level at the heat of 65°C as it is being carried from the source to the home and the shade from the panels protect the user. The project uses solar-thermal panels to heat the water, plastic for casing and glass for the water container.
- A water sanitation facility that incorporates the principles of a solar cooker, a water tower and a thermostat. Heat is collected and directed straight onto a large, communal container of the local water that is not drinkable, heating the whole body of water to 65°C. When the entire container has reached the sanitary temperature, the facility daily provides drinking water for the whole community. The facility is made of all metal parts: the mirrors, the container, and piping.