Engineers Without Borders UK’s volunteer Stuart has been working with our local partner WindAid, and talks us through some of the sustainable tech he has been working on during his placement with us and how Windaid is delivering projects to their local communities.

Wind turbines

In Playa Blanca a community of 200 people in Northern Peru, WindAid has been working with families to install 22 individual, 1.7m diameter, 500 Watt wind turbines. The villagers had previously used kerosene but this could no longer be sourced and although diesel generators are available, they are extremely expensive to run. The wind turbine and associated equipment are gifted to a family, on the agreement that they pay 30 nuevo soles (£7.40) a month into a community run maintenance fund.

Stuart has been enhancing the design of the systems by developing a remote monitoring systems that allows them to track and measure the turbines to improve their reliability.

The turbines generate enough energy for households to light their homes and recharge small appliances like mobile phones. WindAid is also in the process of setting up a community workshop where members will be able to carry out maintenance and plan to extend the programme to up to 40 turbines in the future.

Solar Panels

In September 2014 the government municipality installed some solar panels in Playa Blanca. However, there was no accompanying training in their use, so many ceased working. WindAid have been able to support these families in understanding how the panels work and maintain them so more are now functioning.

Open defecation is normal in Playa Blanca, and Stuart, alongside Windaid and other volunteers, have been looking at eco-latrines and their viability in the community. They have built a model eco-latrine based on the design of previous Engineers Without Borders UK volunteer Brittney Harris, who was based at our nearby partner Ecoswell. It is hoped that this model will inspire community members to build their own eco-latrines.

In 2015, Engineers Without Borders volunteers worked a staggering 32,054 hours on international projects, such as this one. With your help we are determined to help everyone everywhere have access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene. To find our more about our work go to our impact. To find out more about Windaid visit their website.