Namibia – Energy


Information about the Nama people

The Nama people is living in the Namib Desert. Their originally nomadic life is prevented by the government, today. They are not allowed to hunt and to build their mobile huts in the Namib Desert as the government decided that their territory is a national park, now. That’s a fact we cannot change easily. They live from food deliveries from the Red Cross and improvise huts by scrappart-patchwork.

Problem Energy (one of many)

One village out of 10 has a small solar cell to charge an old mobile phone. The others steal electricity from governmental solar cells and transport it with lead batteries on donkey carts or by foot. The cellphones (one per village) are used for food solidarity and emergency issues.


Explanation on technology background

Peltier elements are parts in computers which cool the CPU. This works by electric power generating a temperature difference on upper and lower side of the element. A Peltier element can also be used the other way round: If you ensure and hold a temperature difference on the upper vs. the lower side it generates electric energy.


Building the thermoelectric generator

The upper side of the Peltier elements is painted black and therefore heated efficiently by the desert sun. The temperature difference is maintained by cool air flow on the lower side. The flow is powered by a high black vertical tube which heats the air inside. The air in the tube moves up and sucks in new air through a black pre heating channel.

Peltier elements can be upcycled from old computers, all other elements have been found in the desert (rugged metal) and bought in the hardware store in Walvis Bay, Namibia.


In field experimentation

Permanent experiment in the testing area of Gobabeb Research Center in the Namib Desert, Namibia.