Two remote villages in the mountains of Nepal will soon enjoy reliable electricity courtesy of a team of Hartford, Connecticut, Public High School students and a $5,000 grant from Pratt & Whitney.
The project, dubbed Nepal 2.0, includes more than 20 high school students at Hartford's Academy of Engineering and Green Technology designing and building two wind-solar units for villages near the Tibetan border. The students spent the past school year working on the project. The system's components are currently being shipped to Nepal, and the system is expected to be operational by the end of September.
"The reliable electricity the system produces will help power two schools and a birthing center," said Dayl Walker, Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA) Education Foundation's program manager at Hartford Public Schools. "The use of a portable ultrasound machine at the birthing center will help save the lives of mothers and babies."
Walker said the project has been beneficial for Academy of Engineering and Green Technology students because it lets them practice real-world math, critical thinking and writing skills.
"For example, one of the many engineering challenges was designing components that could be carried on the back of a yak," she said.
Academy of Engineering and Green Technology students agree this project has helped them develop valuable engineering skills. Khalil Bradley, who will intern this summer at Pratt & Whitney, said he learned trigonometry to calculate the proper angles for solar panel frames.
Aaronda Hill, who will intern at United Technologies Aerospace Systems this summer, said this project taught her that "one step or one crazy idea can make a huge difference in the world and in the lives of many people."
The Nepal 2.0 project is just one way Pratt & Whitney, United Technologies Aerospace Systems and UTC as a whole support the Academy of Engineering and Green Technology. "United Technologies, including Pratt & Whitney, is one of our biggest supporters, and has supported this school since its inception," Walker said. "UTC has made a significant difference in the opportunities for the students including mentors, internships and engineering-based projects."
The recent magnitude 7.8 earthquake in Nepal had Academy of Engineering and Green Technology students especially concerned about the wellbeing of the villages they'll support with Nepal 2.0.
"The kids were very upset to hear about it and wanted to help," Walker said. "They did fundraising at the school and at corporate buildings in Hartford and raised over $3,000 to buy children's ponchos for the monsoon season, medicine and a donation to AmeriCares."
Following the recent earthquake, Pratt & Whitney pledged its support by contributing $10,000 in direct disaster relief to the American Red Cross.