Last year Engineers Without Borders UK provided 3 workshops on international development for the Royal Academy of Engineering. I helped produce and deliver the hands-on materials for the Energy in Development workshop. This year we repeated the workshop as part of an even wider set of workshop sessions.
This workshop was provided for the Royal Academy of Engineering’s engineering leadership award scheme, with 22 undergraduate engineers from a variety of backgrounds. The workshop consisted of lectures, role play sessions and practical hands-on sessions. I gave a short talk on stand-alone power supply systems with a focus on doing installations ‘in the field’. They were then split into groups and each given the challenge of building a solar PV system to power the various loads I gave the group. In each group there was some form of challenge, maybe there were not enough PV modules to power the loads, or the battery was dead or a number of other problems. They looked into the energy balance of the system and produced a wiring diagram of the system. They then set about building and testing their own PV system. We set them up in what little sunshine we had on a day in London in March and reviewed them at the end of the day.
It was a very busy day, so there was no time for taking photos, but hopefully it interested the participants and got them thinking about the complex variety of issues relating to providing access to energy as part of international development.