URSS - Abstract

URSS - Abstract
2009 saw the installation of the first hydro electric scheme in Bihondo, Rwenzori. A team comprised of 6
engineering students from the university of Warwick worked in conjunction with the local community to
assist in the planning and installation of a hydro-electric scheme. This scheme was put in place to provide
power for a local health centre. Since then, two more schemes have been launched in Mt. Ghessi (2010) and
Mabwe (2011), with further development of all three schemes in 2012. last summer saw the extension of
Bihondo's electricity grid by over a kilometre, connecting three churches, an orphanage and countless
houses. A sedimentation tank was also built in Mabwe to stop sand, carried by the flowing water, damaging
the turbine. The team also built a powerhouse in Bihondo which they were unfortunately unable to fully
install due to lack of funding for a new pipe.
While the projects are/were successful, three main barriers to self-sufficiency were determined:
The turbine was imported from the UK
Insufficient power generated for small scale processing or manufacturing operations
Lack of broad community engagement and technical knowledge
This year’s team aims to address these issues by investigating the capabilities of locally manufactured microhydro turbines and by holding numerous technical workshops and outreach programs for the communities
to ask questions, give suggestions and voice concerns. Therefore community involvement is one of our main
objectives throughout the project. We plan to raise enough funding in order to purchase and transport a
new 240 meter long water flow pipe, for installation in Bihondo. Before the launch of the 2014 project, the
Mt Gessi scheme was not operational due to vandalism and poor upkeep. We therefore plan to install a new
concrete flow channel, turbine and generator as well as the associated transmission wiring around the
school site.