Hambantota is a dry, remote region in southern Sri Lanka. Outside the towns, few families have mains electricity. However, the area has one possible power source strong winds for most of the year. Could this wind be used for charging batteries to provide electricity in homes?
This was the challenge facing Sunith Fernando (a local designer/engineer), Udaya Hettigoda (a manufacturer) and Rohan Senarath (the Energy Programme Manager for Practical Action South Asia). They decided to experiment with small wind-powered systems for charging batteries. Their aims were to develop technology that was:
In their workshop, Sunith, Rohan and Udaya developed a system of blades, which they tested on a pick-up truck to discover the best shape blade for local wind speeds. To complete their wind-powered system, they designed a robust generator without gearing and developed a tower that was easy to erect.