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Optimisation of existing hydropower schemes previously set up by Warwick University students

Warwick students have worked on pico hydro schemes in Uganda in the summer vacations of 2009, 2010 and 2011 and are due to return in 2012. In each year a hydro scheme has been installed and has run for a period although last year's is yet to be fully completed. The 2009 scheme continues to run despite serious technical problems and is very encouraging because of the Ugandan community's doggedness at keeping it going. The 2010 scheme is more problematic and continues to be a challenge in terms of both technical and human factors.

The 2012 project is to revisit these sites and continue interaction with the communities and the hardware to work towards success. There will be face-to-face public meetings and we will also try local radio exposure, which worked with the 2009 community to increase understanding. Students and CEO have visited and talked to members of the community, local politicians and other leaders and this process will continue in the 2012 scheme. There are technology challenges too; last year's group made significant progress here with light-bulb reliability and voltage regulation.

Colin Oram has been a Teaching Fellow at Warwick since 1987 and has a PhD from Cranfield in wind turbine aerodynamics. He has been interested in engineering in developing countries all of his life and first worked overseas as a VSO in Vanuatu in 1971. He has worked on building technology, animal traction, irrigation pumping and motorcycle transport as well as small hydro power. He is a Trustee and Director of DTW Ltd, a charity based in Cambodia and a manufacturer of high quality machinery and equipment used in development.

Final report (currently Warwick University staff only - draft edit)

(Video clip) Final report - see video below