Investigation, development and testing of a low cost Solar Heat Barrow (SHB) and purifier
Le Roux, Daniël Francois
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Many rural communities in South Africa do not have running water or electricity. The fetching and heating of water is therefore a time consuming and expensive daily ritual. The use of energy sources such as wood or coal are not readily available and cause environmental pollution. Although solar water heaters are commonly available in South Africa, they are very seldom used in rural areas. Whilst this can mostly be attributed to a high system cost, current designs also do not cater for specific rural problems such as the transporting or purification of water. A prototype model, designed with such an approach in mind, has already been constructed by TEMM International (Pty.) Ltd. The Solar Heat Barrow (SHB) was developed in the 1992 to 2003 period with the intention of combining a number of functions at low cost. Specific requirements were: low cost, a suitable design and materials for manufacture in large volume, sufficiently durable taking into account the harsh conditions of use. suitability for cases where no in-house piped water supply was available, the use of appropriate technology and the improvement of quality of life. The unit combines the absorption of solar radiation, the heating of a relatively small volume of water, the transport of the water from the point of supply and the storage of the hot water until it is used. Untreated water sources such as surface waters (streams, rivers, lakes, etc.) or unprotected open wells are the vehicles for waterborne bacterial diseases such as cholera and typhoid fevers. In the case where water is collected from these sources, the SHB has a build-in Purification Dispenser that purifies the water in the collector against waterborne bacterial diseases. Certain research questions need to be answered. They will be answered by demonstrating the SHB in two communities where no in-house piped water supply is available and by establishing the socio-economic response of the users. The research questions are as follow: What are the responses of the users concerning the SHB, in comparison to those of a control group, regarding its operation, durability, utility and satisfaction of needs? What is the daily use of hot water and the reduction in energy use and cost? To what extent will the target community purchase the SHB at the full or subsidised commercial price? Is there a business case that can be developed for the large scale production, marketing, financing and Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME) development of the SHB? It was decided to choose a community in the Valley of Thousand Hills in KwaZulu Natal as the demonstration site. The name of the community is Mabedlane. It is a remote rural area 20 km's north of Botha's Hill and is situated along the Umgeni River. The community is dependent on the river for domestic water. Most families are headed by women. The area has low levels of infrastructure, poor roads, a high unemployment rate and poor health facilities. The first survey, which was conducted before the test period started, showed a very positive response from potential users. From 112 questionnaires that were given to the people of Mabedlane, all indicated that they were interested in a product that can transport and heat water for domestic use. The socio-economic study has shown that the price per unit needs to be adapted as 85% of the people who participated in the survey indicated that they would only pay less than R100 for the product. 15% indicated that they would pay between Rl00 and R200. From the second and third questionnaires it was clear that the users were satisfied with the heating performances of the SHB. The community was very interested in purchasing a SHB. They have realised that a SHB will improve their standard of living and regard it as a necessity in their day to day activities. It is apparent that people, who will benefit from a SHB most, are those who will not be able to pay the full retail price. Therefore, new business strategies have to be researched when implementing the SHB to the target market in South Africa. The idea of considering ways to sponsor/fund the SHB must also be investigated.
- Engineering