Winds of Change Bring Water to Drought-Prone Area Professor Amy Bilton (MIE) and her students have partnered with residents of Pedro Arauz, Nicaragua, to design and construct a water-pumping windmill, providing critical irrigation during the area’s long dry season. The project was part of a fourth-year capstone design course in the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering. Over the last two years, three different teams of undergraduate students have worked closely with members of the community and Winds of Change — an initiative started by Canadians John Shoust and Rob Scott — to make the windmill a reality. The area has plenty of groundwater and dug wells, but lacks the technology to pump the water efficiently. Hand pumps are not powerful enough to produce the thousands of gallons of water required for crop irrigation, while the use of diesel and electrical pumps is limited by a lack of infrastructure, high cost and difficulties with the importing of goods. By contrast, wind pumps can be built and maintained using locally available materials, and the climate in Nicaragua is windy enough to provide the required energy. During the first two trips to Nicaragua, in fall 2014 and spring 2015, the teams took wind speed measurements, consulted extensively with community members about their resources and irrigation needs, designed the windmill and dug the foundation. In January 2016, Bilton and some of the students returned to Pedro Arauz and built the windmill out of wire, sheet metal and PVC piping in four and a half days.
110 Chapter 9: International Initiatives | Annual Report 2016 | Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering
Published on Sep 16, 2016
This is the annual report of performance indicators for the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering at the University of Toronto.