Hydropower Project Review 2012
In the summer of 2008, DHE installed two hydropower sites in a village called Banda. We returned in the summer of 2011 to do general repair-work and to install a locally-fabricated turbine. In 2012, DHE collaborated with e.Quinox, a student group from the Imperial College London, to install DHE’s third hydropower site, in the village of Rugote.
Local villagers take advantage of a DHE-developed business model, which makes use of electricity from a turbine to charge car batteries, which in turn can be sold to villagers to power lights and charge cellular telephones. Small businesses and local entrepreneurship, such as barbershops and cellphone charging stations, have opened up because of the newfound access to electricity. Many other aspects of village life have been impacted by the lighting that the batteries provide, from schools and churches to homes and town administrative centers.
In the summer of 2013, DHE plans to repair a micro-grid that is powered by a hydropower site in a village called Musange. Our aim is to make the turbine in-country, using entirely local materials; we also plan to repair the civil works on the current systems already employed.
However, making a turbine in-country requires significant on-campus research. This year, we are focusing on creating turbines using a process called sand casting, in which we pour melted aluminum into molds that serve as the cups for the turbine. After perfecting our turbine design on campus, we will bring it to Rwanda in the summer of 2013 to re-electrify the village of Musange.