While the federal government of Lesotho is making a significant effort to improve the quality of education, the quality of the rural school environment leaves a lot to be desired because there is no grid electricity or running water far from the capital. Therefore, the rural schools lack some of the most basic facilities, especially in the highlands where about 37% of Lesotho's populations live. To make matters worse, the winters are harshest in the mountains, so children spend their school days huddled in blankets at average temperatures around -5°C. Over the last few years, winters have begun as early as April and ended as late as October.
The EVCO heating unit will provide enough heat to make the school environment one where children can focus on their learning and not on their physical discomfort from cold temperatures. EVCO's heating innovation is a technology that will capture otherwise wasted heat from generators and use it to provide classrooms with hot water for space heating, cooking, or cleaning. This service is provided at a fractional sacrifice of electricity output from the generator, and at no additional running cost. The innovation was designed by team member, Stephen Samouhos, and is currently under a provisional patent (patent # 60,777,454; Waste Heat Powered Potable Water Distiller). One of EVCO's community partners with whom the team has joined forces is currently engaged in deploying solar-derived electric power equipment in the area. EVCO's technology will be seamlessly integrated with their existing package in order to co-generate electricity and hot water from sunlight. Two members of the EVCO team will travel to Lesotho and install a simple, low cost retro-fit heat exchanger device to existing school diesel generators and solar thermal power devices. Through this pilot stage effort, EVCO will take the first step toward the provision of heat needed by a school in Lesotho during the bitter cold season.
Final Proposal (PDF)
Final Presentation (PDF)