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Extended Project Brief - AWG December

Posted by Ryan White Dec 23, 2016

The Social Enterprise

Project Everest is an organisation dedicated to implementing sustainable solutions to solve world’s most complex issues through designing and developing lean social enterprises. It is important to remember that we are not a charity. We are a social business geared towards our goals of bringing about social change, rather than working solely for profit. Broadly, social enterprises seek to incorporate the financial sustainability of a business with the positive social impact provided by charitable organisations.

Project Everest is further dedicated to helping realise the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Of these goals, Project Everest has been working on goal six, Clean Water and Sanitation: ensure availability and sustainability of water and sanitation for all.

The transaction nature of social enterprise helps to ensure that solutions to problems are valued and needed by the prospective beneficiaries. In other words, if people value solutions enough to pay for them, albeit very little in absolute terms as they are required to do with social enterprise, the solutions themselves can be considered to solve social issues that beneficiaries actually want solved.

This contrasts to charity models of humanitarian relief whereby prospective beneficiaries are given goods and services free of charge. The practice of giving freely, as altruistic and fulfilling as it may be, is inherently vulnerable to solving solutions to issues that are only perceived by Western charitable organisations and donors, often termed “White-man problems”.

Project Everest is currently working on the prototype stage of the AWG. AWG’s are devices that condense ambient water vapour into safe drinking water and typically operate on the megalitre per day scale. They involve complex treatment processes and incorporate a vapour-compression cycle to condense water vapour in low-humidity environments, such the Arab States. The large scale of these existing, typically state-sponsored, devices make regular maintenance financially viable.

Design Thinking Cycle

The current stage of the AWG is between ideating and prototyping. It incorporates both stages as there are lots of different alternatives which are still being explored and developed. Currently, the December 2016 trekkers continued work on the ‘Thermoelectric Compression’ prototype (improving it from previous handovers) and explored a completely new alternative in the ‘Vapour-Compression’ refrigeration prototype, by purchasing a fridge and putting aluminium rods through it. A brief ideation and “paper prototyping” was done on the desalination solar still basin alternative and information has been put up for access.

Throughout early 2016, a team of Project Everest social entrepreneurs embarked on the empathise, define and ideate stages of the design thinking process before realising the necessity for an ‘Atmospheric Water Generator’. After all this consideration, it was determined that a significant proportion of the local populations were dependent on water supplies that are inconsistent and dirty - this encompassed the define stage. This meant that a need for technology related to providing “off-grid” drinking water was there, for urban communities, households and individuals.

Atmospheric Water Generator

Project Everest is currently developing a minimum viable product for sale in Timor-Lesté that will improve water security across the island nation. Eventually as sales accrue sufficient profit, Project Everest hopes to scale to a number of other countries. The aim is to sell AWGs to the most socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals and households, with an aim to scale to 750 million beneficiaries in the long term. This is approximately the number of people who do not have access to safe drinking water. Over the month, the AWG team achieved different goals in relation with the prototype and ideating stage of the design thinking process. The Thermoelectric Cooling device was designed and tested multiple times. The Air Vapour Compression was designed and tested. Finally, in relation with the ideating stage, research on alternatives was successfully completed. 

It is envisioned that a low-cost, PE-developed AWG that is capable of condensation of sufficient volumes of water for human consumption will improve access to safe drinking water in Timor-Lesté; a country plagued with inconsistent supplies of drinking water.

Goal 6 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals is clean water and sanitation for all. Students from UNTL have been trialling with us, gaining an understanding of the project and also Project Everest. Some students have been using their degree backgrounds to help with the report and marketing plan, whilst others have offered their translating services. Many have degrees in electronic design, a resource which was not utilised as much as it should have been.

Proposed Nature of Operations

An example of a typical day as a trekker in Timor-Leste:

Morning meetings starts at 8:02am sharp. The aim of these meetings is to set daily, weekly and monthly goals depending on the day and the week. Each daily goal should aim to address a weekly goal and each weekly goal should aim to address a monthly goal. Work finishes at 6pm with a 1.5 hour lunch break to escape the heat in the middle of the day. It provides enough time to get into town and back or go to the beach and back. For the AWG team most of the time will be spent on prototyping and ideating followed up by lots of report writing. Occasionally, you may organise meetings or conduct surveys with the public to gauge perception of the prototypes. Recap and Review begins from 6.05pm where each team debriefs the whole group on their achievements, success and failure of the day. Weekends are off project time and you can go travelling or drinking. I recommend both. You have 3 weekends, make sure you use them wisely. In some occasions, it will be required to work over hours to achieve the necessary outcome. Examples include night experiments.

Desirable prior learning

  • Please read and make sure you understand the handover report, especially the prerequisites and general information. Go through the references and links if you need more information. It is critical you have a good understanding about how the concepts work.
  • Prepare your stomach.
  • Expect the unexpected.
  • Prepare for an incredible month.

This post was edited on Jan 6, 2017 by (Account removed)

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Comments (1)

Wilkinson Paul says... 2 months ago

In a cooling buildup type atmospheric water generator, a blower circles refrigerant through a condenser and after that an evaporator loop which cools the air encompassing it. This brings down the air temperature to its dew direct, making water to condense. dissertation help | Dissertation Time

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