Today we were invited at the primary school of IST in Upanga (Dar Es Salaam) to explain more on locally build wind turbines. How come so? One teacher saw William Kamkwamba of Malawi in a TED-talk some time ago. The story of ‘the boy who harnessed the wind’ is really impressive. As a small boy with not enough money in the family to go to school, he learns himself to build a windmill. Because he has absolutely no budget, the whole machine is build from scrap yard material. It is very inspiring to read the story, which is of course the reason that a TED-talk was devoted to him.
And then a couple of weeks ago, this teacher saw the initiative of ‘I Love Windpower’ on the internet. There are some similarities with William in the way that we emphasise usage of local material and local knowledge. When comparing the Piggott-turbine with the turbine of William, there are also differences: the Piggott-turbine is more expensive because it cannot be made completely from the scrapyard. Some component you really need to buy, although you can choose second hand components to cutting cost. In return for this higher price, you get much more electricity from the Piggott-turbine than from the William-turbine. Anyway, the teacher invited me to give a presentation at their school.
So today around noon, the lecture room was filled with about 80 form four kids. They were really enthusiastic about the subject. Moreover I found their questions quite intelligent, when you consider that they are only 10 years old. Some weeks before they visited a solar-PV installation. So they were even comparing the wind energy with the solar energy technology in their questions! If these kids represent the new generation, then they might be able to tackle the enormous worldwide problem of running out of fossil fuel. After the presentation, some kids were making plans to build their own wind turbine.