TU’s Sustainable Engineering for Needy and Emerging Areas (SENEA) club continues its humanitarian work with communities and families around the world. Approximately 20 students participate in group activities year-round; and in the summer of 2015, mechanical engineering graduate student David Wright led a small mission to Mongolia.
Wright, his wife, Carmen, and mechanical engineering senior Blake Fusick visited a community within the city of Darkhan, Mongolia, in August to install a new solar water heater. The device was retrofitted to the community’s current electric heating system to preheat the water.
“Their electric water heater was slow and expensive to operate,” Wright said. “We designed and manufactured a stand for the solar panels on-site, using local materials were used for the plumbing, stand and water tanks.”
Solar panels were shipped to Mongolia for the project, and the system’s electronic control unit and pumps were donated by Harvest Solar of Tulsa. Wright said the community of native Mongolians and U.S. citizens working as farm hands reports the solar water heater is functioning above expectations.
“The system completely replaced their electric water heater most days during the summer,” he said. “Residents are able to take six hot showers back-to-back in the middle of the day and still have hot water at night.”
SENEA remains in contact with the Darkhan farming community and is gathering data on the heater’s winter performance.