Team Members (l-r) Shiva Balliram, Brendon Pasea, Keilon de Leon, Leonardo Latchman, Jaden Jaggan
According to the International Energy Agency, “energy efficiency is a way of managing and restraining the growth in energy consumption. Something is more energy efficient if it delivers more services for the same energy input, or the same services for less energy input.” IRENA-International Renewable Energy Agency “ For many renewables such as hydropower, solar and wind, power generation is assumed to take place with 100% efficiency. Fossil fuel power plants incur significant energy losses in the conversion from primary fuel to final electric energy” In an article cited in the Trinidad Express newspaper dated 30 th November 2012, The Honourable Minister of Energy Kevin Ramnarine revealed that “The World Bank has ranked Trinidad and Tobago as one of the worst energy-efficient countries in the world” According to Oilprice.com, a leading source for oil and energy news, Trinidad and Tobago has been ranked the 3 rd biggest energy glutton in the world. This country is the leading producer of oil and natural gas in the Caribbean region but consumes 15 691 kg of energy per person ( figures derived from the World Bank)
In 1994, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) entered into force with the ultimate objective being the stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system. The UNFCCC was later complemented by the 1997 Kyoto Protocol under which member countries are committed to reducing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by an average of 5% by 2012 against 1990 levels1. Trinidad and Tobago is a ratified signatory to the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol. Renewable Energy (RE) development is one of the strategies being adopted to mitigate the impact of climate change and investments have been significant and growing over the last decade. The threat of climate change is very real for small island states like those of the Caribbean where serious negative socio-economic implications could result from an event such as rising sea levels depending on its severity. This is because of their limited size, geographical location, high exposure of infrastructure and limited adaptive capacity. Renewable energy development would promote energy security and the sustainable development of these states.
A two tank aquaculture system which is driven by a ½ horsepower pump is present on the farm compound at #3003 Secondary School. The pump is a major component of the aeration mechanism for the population of red and silver fingerlings which are reared in the tanks. The aeration mechanism is comprised of a pump, an intricate system of ¾ inch PVC pipes and overflow pipes. The tanks are uncovered and are present in an area which is fully exposed to sunlight Due to the high stocking rate of fish and the very vibrant algae population which serves as a very important sources of food, the oxygen content has be maintained throughout the day and the night. Fluctuations in oxygen content can affect fish growth, reproduction rates, diseases and in extreme cases death of the entire fish population. The pump works on a continuous basis
Figure 1- Picture showing the two tank aquaculture system present at 3003 Secondary School
Figure 2-Picture showing the pump associated with the aquaculture unit
This pump is powered by electricity derived from T&TEC ( Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission). In Trinidad and Tobago, electricity generation is primarily from natural gas. This natural gas fuel is burnt and the heat energy released is used to produce steam. This steam is then used to turn a steam turbine which is connected to an electrical generator to produce electricity. At the power plant, the burning of natural gas produces nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide, but in lower quantities than burning oil. Methane, a primary component of natural gas and a greenhouse gas, can also be emitted into the air when natural gas is not burned completely. Similarly, methane can be emitted as the result of leaks and losses during transportation.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, “. Methane's (CH4) lifetime in the atmosphere is much shorter than carbon dioxide (CO 2 ), but CH 4 is more efficient at trapping radiation than CO 2. Pound for pound, the comparative impact of CH 4 on climate change is over 20 times greater than CO 2 over a 100-year period.”
The students would be involved in improving energy efficiency by powering the pump of the aquaculture unit during the night with electricity generated from solar panels. The end result is food production utilizing a green/renewable source of energy. This project is going to be implemented at the school on a trial basis. If proven to be successful, this model can be adopted by large scale by commercial farmers who are involved in aquaculture. This technology is ideal for farmers with land areas that are not connected to T&TEC gridlines but require electricity to drive the pumps associated with fish farming. It means that farmers can have now have access to marginal lands in remote areas and use these areas for food production. Established farms can implement this technology to reduce operating costs and reduce reliance on electrical energy derived from the burning of fossil fuels
SITE CHOICE FOR ESTABLISHING SOLAR PANELS- the adjacent roof area of the #3003 Secondary School ‘s cafeteria is concreted, flat, gated, and fully exposed to sunlight. Solar panels are expensive and require positioning away from a high human traffic area. The area is ideal since panels can be easily accessed for maintenance.
TILAPIA PRODUCTION- involves the rearing of fish for human consumption in artificial ponds under strictly monitored conditions. Tilapia is a lean source of protein, cheap, and produced locally. Local Tilapia production could lead to a reduction in the food import bill for Trinidad and Tobago. At #3003 Secondary School, the adult Tilapia (once they have achieved market weight) are used in the Food and Nutrition laboratory for students to conduct Student Based Assessment Practicals. With worldwide fish populations on a steady decline, due to ocean acidification, increases in the temperature of water which influence nutrient availability, poor fishing techniques such as trawling, tilapia serves as a viable alternative
DEMONSTRATION UNIT TO SHOW STUDENTS AT SCHOOL, HOW FOOD CAN BE PRODUCED BY UTILIZING GREEN ENERGY-Students can become, entrepreneurs and generate their own incomes without having to depend on society for employment. Students could also be taught about healthy meal options to prevent childhood obesity by using fish as a main source of protein in their diet. They can also be taught the components of a simple aquaculture system and how to access the components such as solar panels. ENCOURAGING SUSTAINABILITY AND FOSTERING LOVE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT- students would be taught the need to become “green” and changes that can make on an individual basis to conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Clean energy/Renewal source of energy Reduction in Carbon Dioxide emission(greenhouse effects) reduces the effects of global warming (a single photovoltaic cell prevents 30kg of CO2 from being emitted) Trinidad is a tropical country experiencing the direct rays of the sun throughout the year hence Solar Energy is readily available year round Cost of Solar Panels is subsidized by the government of Trinidad and Tobago. Reduction in the emission of Nitrogen and Sulphur Oxides (Primary Pollutants) thereby reducing the incidents of smog and acid rain.
Ambient temperatures are well suited for Solar Energy not much fluctuations. Solar panels provide energy reliability since the rising and setting of the sun is extremely consistent. The sun has the potential to provide 23000 TW/year compared to petroleum which is 240 TW/year Solar energy would save the country and individual’s money. Solar power creates jobs and encourages new business opportunities.
The light energy from the sun goes into the solar panels on the roof. The light energy is converted into electricity by the solar cells in the solar panels. The electricity from the solar panels travel down the wires (in pvc pipe)connecting to the water pump and the batteries. The pump is powered by the electricity from the panels during the day. The panels also charge the batteries so that at night the pump will work to power the fish pond. When the last person leaves the school they will flip a switch to switch the power from the panels to the power from the batteries that were charged during the day. Eventually, pumps can be fully powered by the solar panels.
Get Baking: Students were asked to donate cakes and cookies which were sold during break and lunch time. Get Spelling: A spelling bee, using “environmental words” was held in which students were asked to donate a small sum of money to participate. Get Selling: Students held an environmental oriented variety stall in which they sold ornaments, books etc., in order to gain profits to implement the school’s solar system. Solar panels can cost from $2500.00 to $10,000.00. The are many companies in Trinidad which sell solar panels for example SMART ENERGIES LIMITED, SOLARGRAY LIMITED.