Momentum for Change The Caribbean Maritime Institute: a learning center for renewable energy and potable drinking water

Focus area: Adaptation
Location: Kingston, Jamaica
Established: August 2010

The Caribbean Maritime Institute was launched as a learning center for renewable energy, most specifically wind energy, and produce potable drinking water.

With the use of wind turbines made from recycled material 45-gallon oil drums the system is designed to produce potable water from rain, brackish and sea water that will be purified on-site to minimize distribution losses and increase the efficiency of the water resource system. Additionally, renewable energy sources are used to run reverse-osmosis devices for producing the potable water. This reduces the cost of electricity and water for community use.

In the long term it is expected that the activity will continue to:
- Increase public awareness and training in the production of water through curriculum the integration and observation of the outputs in operation;
- Manufacture low cost wind generators using mainly recycled materials like used oil drums;
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by switching from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy;
- Produce reliable source of potable water - approximately 1000 gallons potable water per day for over 1000 persons at the Caribbean Maritime Institute through the processes of reverse osmosis and renewable energy systems;
- Reduce waterborne diseases and the effect on the school attendance, medical cost and student performance;
- Save electricity costs by reducing fossil fuel imports to Jamaica; and
- Reduce the use of plastic bottles.

Mitigation / Adaptation

The activity has helped to build the resilience of communities in Jamaica by using a reverse osmosis technology, which provides approximately 1000 gallons of potable water daily for students and staff. This includes a rainwater harvesting system that includes catchment and storage.

The system is powered by small integrated wind/solar energy facility that will provide the required electricity needed to purify the water. Simple slow speed wind generators that produce 1 to 2 KW of power will be used to run the reverse-osmosis (RO) system that will be used to convert sea water to fresh water. The wind generator uses locally obtained materials, some of which are recycled.


Social and environmental benefits

The system is designed to produce fresh water from normally unused sources of water for potable supply to 1000 people daily. Rainwater, brackish water and sea water is treated and purified onsite to minimize distribution losses and increase the efficiency of the water resource system.

Education activities to promote the use of renewable energy are a distinct part of the activity. It helps to build the capacities of the community and particularly engineering students who are trained as they work on the manufacturing of components and measure wind velocity and direction for sighting of the unit. The system is intended to be scalable for easy replication in other schools, households and communities.

Potential for scaling-up and replication

The activity aims to initiate a system for the replication of this low-cost technology, by building capacity and empowering communities in the manufacture, sales and maintenance of the unit. The activity has influenced policy in that the technology has been incorporated into national energy policy.

Images owned by the activity partners, all rights reserved.