Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Hitting the Road:Teaching module - Draft 1

Idea generated for schools so far
  • Teach kids to make their own notebooks.
  • Teach kids to make chalk piece

How does this help?
    • non-availability of free notebooks @ govt schools
    • Relevant vocational training
    • potential means to earn
  • Teach kids of appropriate age about technologies related to clean energy like solar energy
    • How tap solar energy
    • How the market is growing etc
How does this help?
    • creating experts in a market of demand for the future
  • All the soft-skills appreciated in a corporate environment
    • committing to a task of reasonable difficulty and completing it on time
    • being regular with work taken up and establishing proper communication about updates/possible delays
How does this help?
    • time-management, probably study better while being good at extra-curricular
    • develops proper attitude and work-ethics and improves job-prospects
  • Safety
    • Basic fire-safety
    • First-aid and emergency response
    • Details of phone numbers, addresses of hospitals in vicinity.
How does this help?
    • Duhh......!
  • Community activity
    • Some kind of an activity that sensitized them
  • Community activity
    • Some kind of an activity that sensitized them to importance of sanitation, public health, environment etc.


Badhri said...

Material relevant for science on solar power [from McKinsey quarterly]

Can find ways for practical demonstration of such sciences.

Silicon-wafer-based photovoltaics. Although 90 percent of installed solar capacity uses silicon-wafer-based photovoltaic technology, it faces two challenges that could create openings for competing approaches. For one thing, though it is well suited to space-constrained rooftop applications (because it is roughly twice as efficient as current thin-film photovoltaic technologies), the solar panels and their installation are costly: larger quantities of photovoltaic material (in this case, silicon) are required to make the panels than are to make thin-film photovoltaic solar cells.4 Second, companies are starting to approach the theoretical efficiency limit—31 percent—of a single-junction silicon-wafer-based photovoltaic cell; several now achieve efficiencies in the 20 to 23 percent range. To be sure, there is still room for improvement before the limit is reached, and clever engineering techniques (such as concentrating sunlight on solar cells or adding a number of junctions made of different materials to absorb a larger part of the light spectrum more efficiently) could extend it, though many of these ideas increase production costs.
Thin-film photovoltaics. The other important photovoltaic approach, thin-film technology,5 has been available for many years but only recently proved that it can reach sufficiently high efficiency levels (about 10 percent) at commercial production volumes. Thin film trades off lower efficiencies against a significantly lower use of materials—about 1 to 5 percent of the amount needed for silicon-wafer-based photovoltaics. The result is a cost structure roughly half that of wafer-based silicon. This technology also has significant headroom to extend the cost gap in the long term.

But challenges abound. The lower efficiency of thin-film modules6 means that they are currently best suited to large field installations and to large, flat rooftops. Furthermore, the longevity of these modules is uncertain; silicon-wafer-based photovoltaics, by contrast, maintain their output at high levels for more than 25 years. Of the most promising thin-film technologies, only one—cadmium telluride—has truly reached commercial scale, and some experts worry about the toxicity of cadmium and the availability of tellurium. A final complicating factor is that a new generation of nanoscale thin-film technologies now on the horizon could significantly increase the efficiency and reduce the cost of producing solar power.

Concentrated solar thermal power. The third major solar technology, concentrated solar thermal power,7 is the cheapest available option today but has two limitations. Photovoltaic systems can be installed close to customers, thereby reducing the expense of transmitting and distributing electricity. But concentrated solar thermal power systems require almost perfect solar conditions and vast quantities of open space, both often available only at a great distance from customers. In addition, the ability of concentrated solar thermal power to cut costs further may be limited, because it relies mostly on conventional devices such as pipes and reflectors, whose costs will probably fall less significantly than those of the materials used in semiconductor-based photovoltaics. Nonetheless, several European utilities now regard concentrated solar thermal power as the solar technology of choice.

Pulkit said...

Hi Badhri, I hit upon your blog through NGOPost. Was pleased to see the goals you have set for yourself, esp. the educational thing and the employment of women/girls. I would like to know more info about any livelihood generation projects you are associated with. You could mail me at

On this particular post, there is one important aspect which you could to your points: human values. I don't mean these in the religious sense. I am suggesting things like

- treating the fellow human beings with equality, regardless of gender and caste

[we all know the plight of the women in slums: they double up as labourers as well as caretakers of the house, and receive all kinds of abuse in return. Gender-equality is a pressing need.]

- living in harmony with the environment

[We can explain how our and our children's lives can't be sustained otherwise.]

- behavioural aspects

[A simple example is the controlling of anger. Given their stressful jobs, they are surely prone to fits of anger they will regret later.]

I know many of the above can be fixed, to a great degree, with better wages, a good public education system and the resultant mainstreaming. But, that could take a while. Even after that's been done, given their domestic environment and the decades of lack of exposure, they could do much better with some of these lessons that deal with fundamental ethics and sustainability.

Badhri said...

Thanks for the inputs and appreciation Pulkit. I will keep it in mind. I think we have enough subject now. How to model them into good course material is the next challenge.