An engineering student design team at Virginia Tech is creating a photovoltaic system to provide a medical clinic in Kenya with a desperately needed source of power. Donations from IBM, Renesola, and Grundfos Pumps, working together with the Virginia Tech Foundation, have provided the students on the Renewable Energy Senior Design Team with about half of the materials necessary to build the system.

The Getongoroma Medical Clinic, built and operated by Foundation Ministries of Kenya, provides medical treatment and education for thousands in the surrounding area. Most Kenyans walk to this clinic, located west of Nairobi near the border of Tanzania. The addition of electric power will significantly expand the capability of the clinic to serve the local residents. Electric power will provide clean well water, refrigerated vaccines, testing mechanisms for HIV and other diseases, an x-ray facility, and other medical needs.

"Currently the clinic cannot offer emergency treatment at night or keep vaccines for more than a few hours. Additionally, the clinic cannot provide any major medical services such as testing or treatment for aids, malaria, and dengue fever, three very large problems in this area," explains Mark Showalter, a Virginia Tech graduate of mechanical engineering (ME) who works part time in the industrial and systems engineering department. As the assistant adviser to the team project, he added, "The nearest electrical grid is a 45-minute drive from the clinic."

The design team selected solar power because the remote location has an abundance of sunlight. Showalter credited IBM with donating silicon wafers, the material used in making solar panels. Renesola, a Chinese company, donated solar wafers and paid another company to make the panels. Grundfos Pumps, a Danish manufacturer of pumps, donated the groundwater pump to work in conjunction with the solar panels.

Today, the student team has just about finished the assembly of the photovoltaic system and plans to ship the entire installation to the medical clinic in Kenya. Their system should provide about 24 kilowatt hours of solar energy to the clinic daily, exceeding the 18 kilowatt hours it needs each day to function. The team is still looking for other suppliers to donate batteries, electronics, and a shipping container.

An engineering student design team at Virginia Tech is creating a photovoltaic system to provide a medical clinic in Kenya with a desperately needed source of power. Donations from IBM, Renesola, and Grundfos Pumps, working together with the Virginia Tech Foundation, have provided the students on the Renewable Energy Senior Design Team with about half of the materials necessary to build the system.

The Getongoroma Medical Clinic, built and operated by Foundation Ministries of Kenya, provides medical treatment and education for thousands in the surrounding area. Most Kenyans walk to this clinic, located west of Nairobi near the border of Tanzania. The addition of electric power will significantly expand the capability of the clinic to serve the local residents. Electric power will provide clean well water, refrigerated vaccines, testing mechanisms for HIV and other diseases, an x-ray facility, and other medical needs.

"Currently the clinic cannot offer emergency treatment at night or keep vaccines for more than a few hours. Additionally, the clinic cannot provide any major medical services such as testing or treatment for aids, malaria, and dengue fever, three very large problems in this area," explains Mark Showalter, a Virginia Tech graduate of mechanical engineering (ME) who works part time in the industrial and systems engineering department. As the assistant adviser to the team project, he added, "The nearest electrical grid is a 45-minute drive from the clinic."

The design team selected solar power because the remote location has an abundance of sunlight. Showalter credited IBM with donating silicon wafers, the material used in making solar panels. Renesola, a Chinese company, donated solar wafers and paid another company to make the panels. Grundfos Pumps, a Danish manufacturer of pumps, donated the groundwater pump to work in conjunction with the solar panels.

Today, the student team has just about finished the assembly of the photovoltaic system and plans to ship the entire installation to the medical clinic in Kenya. Their system should provide about 24 kilowatt hours of solar energy to the clinic daily, exceeding the 18 kilowatt hours it needs each day to function. The team is still looking for other suppliers to donate batteries, electronics, and a shipping container.

Image Caption

Linda Marshall, left, a partner and director of IBM's DoD Systems Integration Executive Global Services, shakes hands with Stefan Duma, professor of mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech. Deborah Hamilton, middle, is the associate director, corporate and foundation relations, college of engineering, Virginia Tech. IBM is a vital partner, along with Renesola, and Grundfos Pumps, on the Virginia Tech engineering project to provide electricity to a remote medical clinic in Kenya.

LINKS:

http://www.vt.edu

http://motionsystemdesign.com/msd_news/solar_cells_0209/index.html

http://motionsystemdesign.com/mag/sights_0808/index.html

http://motionsystemdesign.com/news/energy_efficiency_standards_0309/index.html

LINKS:

http://www.vt.edu

http://motionsystemdesign.com/msd_news/solar_cells_0209/index.html

http://motionsystemdesign.com/mag/sights_0808/index.html

http://motionsystemdesign.com/news/energy_efficiency_standards_0309/index.html