MIT Scholars Bring Solar Power to Remote African Clinics

August 9, 2012 / 1 Comment

How about powering remote Africa with the sun? MIT scholar Matthew Orosz has done exactly that. He and his team have developed a solar-powered system to provide electricity in remote African clinics.

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Interior Africa, as of now, uses electricity to light lamps and run medical devices in clinics courtesy of expensive imported diesel fuel. Orosz spent two years in the African nation of Lesotho and found that the people had been suffering due to lack of resources to get adequate diesel fuel to power devices.

On his return to MIT, he was determined to change this situation. His efforts to find out a unique technology to provide a clean solution of electricity and heat became successful with the development of the technology called solar ORC system.

This unique technology developed by a team of MIT students along with him uses a mirrored parabolic trough to arrest the sunlight, thereby heating fluid in a pipe along the centerline of the mirror.The hot fluid can be used to provide heat and hot water. A chiller stage if added to the system can produce cooling effect too.

The team now produces these systems under the STG International name with the hope that they can provide electricity for 30,000 clinics and 60,000 schools.They need just sunshine as their resource and a model system has been installed in an interior clinic in Lesotho.

The team also plans to set up four more systems at schools and clinics in the same place this year. As these will be owned and operated by local companies, and is expected to prove a source of income and will generate employment too.