The IET’s London Network is making a significant donation of £7000 from its Social Fund to e.quinox, the charity established and run by Engineering Students of Imperial College London.
The former IEE London Branch’s Social Fund had been dormant for some time, and it was decided to donate to a worthy cause consistent with the Institution’s aims of promoting the engineering profession and developing students and young engineering professionals.
“We looked at various possibilities, and after careful deliberation decided on e.quinox. We were particularly impressed for several reasons;” says Simon Maddison, past chairman of the London Network & responsible for the fund. “This is an entirely student initiated and run activity. They have been proactively bringing original solutions to rural power in Africa. The credibility of the scheme has become such that it is now officially advising some governments as to power policy. The solutions are highly practical, genuinely sustainable and develop the skills of the local community. We particularly liked the way that a workable business model has been considered from the outset, and that it is ‘open source’, which they encourage to be freely adopted by others around the world”.
Davy Thielens, current Chair of the London Network added “through this donation, not only do we want to support the amazing work of these talented young people, but we believe that together with the IET we can promote their activities around the world through the Institution’s global membership and Industrial partners. We are also very keen to use their initiative to inspire other students and young professionals as a model of what youthful talent and enthusiasm can achieve. We see this as the start of a fruitful long term relationship.”
Rushabh Mehta, chairman of e.quinox said: “This donation will be key in enabling the implementation of the latest innovations engineered by e.quinox in its push towards electrification of rural Africa. The funds will be used to launch the 2nd generation of the standalone system, a fully automated rural electrification solution with the largest distribution radius from solutions provided by e.quinox. This will provide basic power and lighting to over 350 more people in Northern Rwanda while providing a platform to serve many more in the future. All the data collected from this venture remains open source allowing other parties to launch similar projects more expertly, and with maximum impact. The donation allows e.quinox to expand the range of solutions that it provides and help more people light up their homes.”
e.quinox (www.e.quinox.org )
e.quinox is a student-run social enterprise that works to bring sustainable and scalable clean energy solutions to developing countries. e.quinox was founded in 2008 and has grown to provide electricity to an estimated 4,000 people in East Africa, running 5 energy kiosks and one standalone solution. The organisation is completely open-source and aims to develop 'blue-print solutions' that local entrepreneurs or external entities can replicate themselves, which allows e.quinox’s ideas to have an even larger impact on the energy landscape in the developing world. The organisation is founded on innovation and the e.quinox team continues to develop new rural electrification solutions, collecting data from each project and making it available for anyone willing to replicate e.quinox’s ideas.
IET (www.theiet.org )
The Institution of Engineering and Technology ( IET) was founded over 140 years ago, and is one of the world’s leading professional societies for the engineering and technology community. The IET has more than 150,000 members in 127 countries, with active networks of members in 37 countries. To support its worldwide membership it has offices in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific. The Institution promotes the development of the engineering profession, and actively works to support its members in the development of their own careers, particularly students and young professionals.
The London Network has some 12000 members living and working in and around London. As with many IET Local Networks it has a social fund quite separate from its formal activities as part of the IET’s remit as a professional institution. Over many years, the social activities of the membership had built up a significant fund, but use of this had dwindled over the past decade.
The new generation of battery boxes have been manufactured by the team and ready for distribution at Rugaragara Kiosk next week.
These boxes are the third design e.quinox has had for the past 5 years. It has a 12V 7Ah battery, with 2 DC jacks for lights and a USB output for charging mobile phones. The design has been improved from last years' lessons learnt, which leads to a less complicated manufacturing process, and a body made of aluminium, which is lighter but more durable than the previous boxes.
A new PCB and program has also been designed by the team to help contribute to a lower cost and add new features to the box, in particular over-current protection, which should improve the business model of the Energy Kiosk solution by lengthening the lifetime of the product.
A small team of e.quinox members participated in the 3rd Symposium Small PV Applications - Rural Electrification and Commercial Use, which took place in Ulm, Germany. The event was very educational for the team and it was impressive to see that so many other organisations tackling the problem of rural electrification, trialling a wide variety of solutions, both in academia and industry.
The conference provided e.quinox with a valuable opportunity to contribute to the discussions and also learning from mistakes of others. The team also made some good networking links, which shall prove useful to e.quinox's future.
We would like to thank Imperial College London’s Energy Futures Lab Centre for Doctoral Training Network, who provided financial support enabling our team to this conference.
To read the paper, please click here.
We are excited that Imperial College London has written a story about the recent donation we received from IET London and Hilti, which was also featured on the homepage for 24 hours. At the time of writing, the article is the 2nd most popular news item on the website. We hope this will not only make a wider audience aware of e.quinox's work and solutions, and bring rural electrification to more areas in the world, but also state how student engineering can help solve challenges we face around the world.
To read the full story, please click here.
Hilti is an international world leading company that provides power tool and fixtures equipment to the civil engineering industry. Last year e.quinox members got in touch with contacts at Hilti to help with the provision of specialist tools necessary to build our Rugaragara kiosk. Hilti kindly donated to e.quinox two specialist kits of drilling equipment which allowed for the successful implementation of the kiosk. This year Hilti has generously donated thousands of pounds of cordless tools including drilling and cutting tools that will allow us to carry out further civils work to improve the kiosk.
“Hilti donated some tools to e.quinox for the construction of the hydro kiosk last year and we were very impressed with the results. When e.quinox got back in touch this year, we only thought how we can help them further. It was a no brainer and therefore this year we not only provide our products, we will also provide services for the equipment. These people are changing lives, and this is the least that we can do” said Pavlos Gklavinas from Hilti at the lunch-time handover event.
e.quinox would like to extend a massive thank you to Hilti and we look forward to nurturing a strong and close working relationship over the coming years as we also work closely with their engineers to improve our technical engineering solutions.