Archive for February, 2010

Weekly Power Up!

  • Sanaa, Yemen could be first capital to run out of water. Green Empowerment projects protect watersheds that replenish aquifers.
  • A portable “rose wind turbine” for the Rose city. Quiet, stylish and efficient – this is perfect for car camping or a day at the beach. Go green with style!
  • Leave it to Princeton to increase the efficiency of converting mechanical to electrical NRG using Human or Ambient Energy with nanoribbon tech.
  • An interesting inspriation leads to a great device – inspired by leeches, this charger pops out when the device is done charging.

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Caitlyn Peake, a PSU environmental science graduate and current AsoFenix intern highlights the inauguration of the new micro-hydroelectric project in El Roblar Nicaragua.

Local residents view the turbine

After five years of discussion, planning and work El Roblar has electricity.  To inaugurate their micro-hydroelectric project the community organized a celebration featuring traditional dancing, poetry, music, food and guest speakers.

The community made over 250 nacatamales to serve at the inauguration

In attendance were some of the people and organizations that played an integral part in the success of the project including: the local mayor for the region, Jamie Muñoz and the AsoFénix staff, Cáritas, the National Agrarian University and Suni Solar.

A family uses a mechanized sugar cane cutter

El Roblar is located in the mountainous region around San José de los Remates, Boaco, Nicaragua.  The community is a steep hour and a half walk from the nearest town and had no hope of ever receiving energy from the national grid because it is not accessible by road.  However, the community has reliable and abundant sources of water, which has enabled them to utilize a micro-hydro turbine to provide them with energy.  The systems which has a 17 kilowatts potential supplies energy for 32 houses, the local chapel and the school.

Guests visit the turbine in the machine house

Due to the electrification of the community, families now have access to clean, bright light to study, work and cook by.  In addition, having electricity allows families more access to information and communication through cell phones, radios and television.

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Brandon Gast, a Portland State University International Studies student, shares his experiences on a PSU Capstone trip to Nicaragua.

Nicaraguan Landscape

For our first day in the field we visited the village of El Roblar.  We were able to take a look at past projects including a micro-hydro electricity generator, which provided power to an estimated 200 residents.  We saw first hand the positive results of work done by the NGOs AsoFenix and Green Empowerment.  The highlight for me was being able to spend the night in the house of one of the locals.

Journal Entry –  Dec. 28th 2009

“ My wake up call this morning was Juan Antonio bringing his calf through the ‘living room’ out to the calf’s mother at 4am.  You don’t see that every day.”

The bulk of our work was carried out in the villages of Bramadero and El Jocote.  These villages are located in the dry highlands in central Nicaragua so the emphasis of most of the projects is definitely on water conservation. In fact, right before we arrived in the area, AsoFenix had had to drop down the pump for their solar water pump in Bramadero in order to reach the water level.  The rainy season had been much drier than expected unfortunately which served as a stark reminder of the gravity of our work.

Our primary purpose for being there was to test water and soil samples to gather   baseline data for future projects.  We also installed two weather stations to monitor the day-to-day conditions for the two villages.  Nobody has collected this kind of information before in this area so hopefully our work will go a long way to better understanding what is needed to help in these poor rural areas.  We’re just laying the foundation — others will need to follow in our footsteps to continue the work.

Brandon Gast

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