Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Transportable Solar Powered Computer Classroom

Mobi-Tek Mobile Training Centre The "Mobi-Tek Mobile Training Centre" has been announced by South African company Advent Green Energy Solutions. This is a shipping container sized computer equipped classroom, which can be transported on a truck and is solar powered. It is intended for use in rural areas of Africa.

The unit comes with solar panels to power the computer equipment (but a fossil fuel generator is needed for the air conditioning) and a satellite link.

A photo in Alex Kayle's article "IT centres target rural SA, shows the interior of the building with two rows of desktop computer screens on benches down each long wall of the rooms, with a corridor in the middle. One way to give more room in the narrow room would be to curve the desk in at each seat. The desktop screens are said to be equipped with thin client computers.

The value of such transportable buildings in rural areas is questionable, if the building is intended for permanent use at one location. The limited width of a truck load makes for a building which is too narrow for use as a classroom.

What is transported is mostly air, making this inefficient and expensive. The equipment makes up relatively little of the volume and could be transported in a much smaller package. Instead, the equipment could be delivered in one package, perhaps packed in a smaller container and then a building sourced locally to house this in, or built from imported panels assembled on site. That would make for a lower cost building which blended with the local architecture, and did not look temporary.

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