Final Report: Development of Community Power from Sustainable Small Hydro Power Systems – A Capacity Building Project in Bangang, CameroonEPA Grant Number: SU834723
Title: Development of Community Power from Sustainable Small Hydro Power Systems – A Capacity Building Project in Bangang, Cameroon
Investigators: Ileleji, Klein , Ahiablame, Laurent , Busemeyer, Corrine , Hahn, Jessica , Kincaid, Caitlin , Lara, Alejandro , Liston, Julia , Lumkes, John , Miller, Keith , Njuki, Victoria , Pennathur, Samhita , Ransdell, Patrick , White, Austin
Institution: Purdue University
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Project Period: August 15, 2010 through August 14, 2011
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2010) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Energy , P3 Challenge Area - Water , P3 Awards , Sustainability
The primary objectives of this project were to (1) conduct a comprehensive feasibility study of four existing hydropower sites under development; and (2) select one of the sites and design, fabricate and install an operational hydro-turbine in the community of Bangang in Cameroon. This project is in collaboration between Purdue’s Global Engineering Program (GEP) and the African Centre for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology (ACREST) based in Bangang, Cameroon. ACREST is a local non-governmental organization (NGO) effort that is an incubator for appropriate technologies that are developed in collaboration with external partners, and shared with communities around the central African region. The successful completion of this project will impact a number of ACREST activities which cannot be implemented because of the lack of sustainable and adequate electric power. GEP provides the much needed technical expertise of sound engineering solutions to meet the community needs, while ACREST provides a real-world platform for global learning to students.
An in-country preliminary assessment was conducted in May 2010 to better assess the site of the planned small hydro power station and conduct a reconnaissance survey. Phase I of the project was conducted by three subgroups of the team which looked at the environmental impacts, turbine design and the impact of the project on the people and their prosperity. A Banki-Michell (or cross-flow) turbine was designed to deliver 150 kW based on the water head available and by ACREST’s request. A regulating plate was designed in the nozzle to maintain power due to fluctuating flow caused by seasonal rainfall patterns. Computer simulation showed that the output power would vary from 26 kW to 169 kW. The material cost for building the turbine was $431.52, about CFA 200, 325 (using a conversion of $1.00 = CFA464). This cost excludes the materials for construction of the penstock and any labor, which will be provided by ACREST. This cost is within the budget of ACREST. The project embodied all three aspects of P3; people, prosperity and the planet.
The power generated by the designed turbine will serve at least 1,000 homes and create about 100 new jobs in the community. The environment studies concluded that the project will have minimum negative impact on the aquatic life of the stream, the environment and the people of Bangang. The small hydro power generating system will potentially empower children, women and men to improve their life, provide them electricity to justify the purchase of machines that will allow them to be more efficient and competitive in the market. Additionally, electricity in Bangang will provide them with access to information and education tools available in the internet. All this will enable the community to care for their environment in a sustainable manner, be self-reliant and prosperous by using their own resources.