At first glance, the Solar Cart, built by the Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) Hawaiʻi team at Kapiʻolani Community College, appears to be a simple set up of two ordinary solar panels propped up against a wooden chest. But upon closer inspection, the cart is actually a student and faculty-designed solar power apparatus with the ability to provide 500 watts/hour of solar AC power.
ESW, headed by Kapiʻolani CC engineering and physics professor Aaron Hanai and biochemistry professor Harry Davis, challenged students and faculty to think about how science, technology, engineering and mathematics can be applied towards building a more sustainable campus.
“The project was intended to engage ESW members in renewable energy design, real life project-based deadlines, basic material science engineering, structural engineering as well as make lasting connections with community partners that are actively engaged in the sustainable engineering field in Hawaiʻi,” said ESW member Jason Salseg. “The solar cart also served as an avenue for members to introduce ESW to Kapiʻolani CC campus students and faculty to open dialogue about the importance of engineering in addressing challenges the global community faces in sustainability.”
“Projects like the Kapiʻolani CC Solar Cart are a vital part of the university’s larger strategy to improve sustainability and sustainability education because they offer us the ability to enhance students’ learning experience through solving real-world challenges that directly impact our campuses,” said UH System Sustainability Coordinator Matthew Lynch. “These small-scale pilot projects also allow us to test innovative technologies and ideas to develop viable solutions that can be deployed at larger scales.”
ESW’s Solar Cart project was sponsored by Solar Cool Hawaiʻi, All-Build Construction, Universal Manufacturers and Re-use Hawaiʻi. The team is currently working to re-purpose the solar cart to be a permanent fixture at Kapiʻolani CC’s loʻi kalo that will provide power for the loʻi’s pump system.
About Engineers for a Sustainable World Hawaiʻi
The Engineers for a Sustainable World Hawaiʻi Chapter at Kapiʻolani CC was founded to actively engage Hawaiʻi student engineers with pre-college students, University of Hawaiʻi faculty, the local community and all STEM departments to initiate conversation on, design and implement projects of varying scope that directly address creating a more sustainable campus, local and global way of life.
For more, visit the ESW Hawaiʻi Facebook page.
—By Kapiʻolani Ching