e.quinox is not just about electronics and batteries. Our team consists of both engineers and scientists – taking part in different teams within e.quinox, from technical to finance, from marketing to business strategy. e.quinox's team members have the chance to tackle real world problems while applying their skills learnt at university. They can also see their hard work resulting in an impact on peoples’ lives in Africa, an opportunity that is usually very rare to university students!
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In corporation with the Tujifunze Project, a small team of e.quinox went to Tanzania to install an energy kiosk there.
Founded in Canada, the Tujifunze projects aim is to build a small nursery school in Mwanza, which lies on the southern coast of Lake victoria. Our energy kiosk should not only provide the classrooms and teacher's accommodation with electricity but ideally generate enough revenue to pay the shopkeeper and the two teachers.
New to this project were the electrical installations for lights and power power sockets around the site. Part of the team arrived in mid August to get started with the electrical wiring. Due to shipment problems, the container with our equipment arrived about one month after schedule. Hence we had to prepare the work as good as possible to finish on time. In the end the goods arrived four days before we left and we could already make great use of our battery box lights as adding some night shifts was inevitable.
For equinox this is the largest system with around one kilowatt of power output (8 x 120 W solar panels). This design should provide power for two classrooms, two offices, accommodation for three people as well as recharge the battery boxes for the energy kiosk. Though it cannot support any high power devices, such as a kettles, as the power inverters (that convert the energy stored in the batteries to supply the mains) have an output of 750W.
Opening the kiosk was a big success and there seems to be a huge need for lights in the area south of Lake Victoria. Within two days our shopkeeper Zackarias signed up about 50 customers.
The battery box is an essential part of our electrification solution. This approach allows for a centralised power production facility, our energy kiosks, and distribute the electricity for consumption using the boxes. This reduces significantly the infrastructure cost associated with a conventional grid.
Our first battery box offered 12V DC to run appliances such as light bulbs, radios and mobile telephones. However, during our implementation phase in September 2009 we notices that interfacing some of the appliances proved to be very difficult. We noticed that 12 V DC with our specialized plug proved to not allow the degree of flexibility conventional grid offers. It is important to remember that the target market are people that earn least in the world and their expected load profile can be estimated to be 40Wpeak.
To extend the variety of appliances that can be used with the box, an inverter was integrated. Having a standard 230V AC plug allowed our customers to use AC lighting as well as all other standard low power appliances. The second generation box was decreased in size and weight to increase handiness.
Problems concerning the inverter and the AC lighting in the second generation lead to a third box that combines the advantages of the previous models and minimises the weaknesses. Returning to the DC lighting uses less energy and the inverter is switched on only if needed.
Click here to find out more about the new battery box design we are working on at the moment.
e.quinox aims to find the blueprint of rural electrification. If you are doing a similar project and would like to know more about what we do, please use either the form below. We look forward to hearing from you and we shall reply as soon as we can.
We also welcome any sponsors and partners, both financially and technically terms. Working with our partners in the past few years has been essential to our success in the past few years and we hope organisations with this area of expertise can provide us with knowledge and support. Please contact us with your interest.
We appreciate any media coverage – we have a repository with high resolution photos and videos. For access and more information about our implementation, please contact us below.
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