Call to Action: Hurricane affected Caribbean

A Call to Action for the Current Challenges Facing Hurricane Affected Areas in the Caribbean

Initiated by: Field Ready

In conjunction with: Building Momentum

Background

The hurricanes that have recently ravaged the Caribbean have been the most powerful and destructive hurricane recorded in the Atlantic. This regional catastrophe is the largest disaster to strike the area since the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The destruction began in the Caribbean with the Hurricane Irma and continued with the equally destructive Hurricane Maria. Communities across the region were left without basic services including food and water, electricity and mobility.

Field Ready is currently carrying out an action assessment in the USVI – a country which received very significant damage – to identify and address unique needs not normally addressed by traditional relief and recovery efforts. Thus far, a range of challenges persist which need urgent action if they are to be resolved.

In the pages that follow, eight problems and their possible remedies are outlined with the intention to draw attention and mobilize the necessary resources to address them as soon as possible.

Challenge #1: Potable Water

Challenge #2: Sustainable Means of Cooking

Challenge #3: Water storage

Challenge #4: Sustainable Food & Medicine Storage

Challenge #5: Replacement Parts

Challenge #6: Telecommunications

Challenge #7: Maintaining Cleanliness for the Elderly

Challenge #8: Traffic Control

A Call to Action!

There are two ways to get involved, funding support and technical support.

1. Funding Support

Financial donations are requested to support our ongoing efforts. Donations of less than $10,000 can be made simply by clicking the hurricane donation banner found at www.fieldready.org. For larger amounts or institutional grants, please contact eric@fieldready.org. As this is an ongoing problem meeting immediate needs, donations of all amounts are greatly appreciated.

2. Technical Support

Submit a short email to brad@buildingmomentum.us explaining the approach/concept and materials needed by Monday, October 16th. If the concept meets the unique requirements, an email response will be sent within 24 hours requesting that a prototype is to be built and shipped to Alexandria, VA prior to 30 October. Once the prototype arrives, the Building Momentum team will conduct relevant tests to ensure it works as intended. If successful, the prototype will be flown to USVI and installed by local engineers. Installation and operation will be captured via photos/video and posted to various maker outlets detailing process success.

Thank you. Together we can make the difference!

Challenge #1: Potable Water

Problem: Most residents have easy access to seawater but it is unfit for consumption and other uses. This water requires desalination to be useful. A low/zero cost approach to desalinating sea water for individuals is essential.

Action: Develop a desalination technology or concept using found and/or upcycled materials. If power is required, the system may use upcycled solar panels. The water does not need to be potable, just desalinated. The preferred minimum desalination rate is 2L/hour.

Additional Information:

  • Upcycled solar panels, on average, have open circuit voltages from 30VDC-45VDC and short circuit current from 3-8A in direct sunlight, depending on the amount of damage to the individual panels

  • Assume charge controllers and inverters are extremely hard to find and should not be factored into the final solution

  • The Field Ready team on St. Thomas has two 3D printers capable of producing parts if needed in the design, they just need a .stl file

  • There is a workshop on St. Thomas that has laser cutters, wood working equipment, and other fabrication tools that can be leveraged in the final solution

  • Mechanical solutions must try to maximize water output while minimizing effort as some of the residents are older and/or are in poor health

  • Solutions that will, in the end, allow for the population to source materials, assemble, and install are preferred.

Challenge #2: Sustainable Means of Cooking

Problem: In the USVI, cooking is done using electrical or gas stoves but electricity is out in most areas and gas is hard to access. Instead, seawater can be used for cooking if it can be converted into useable fuel. Residents have access to seawater and non-potable water that can be electrolyzed to make hydrogen for cooking using upcycled solar panels.

Action: Develop a safe and effective cook stove by electrolyzing water using upcycled solar panels. The cook stove does not need to dynamically make hydrogen while cooking (i.e. it can store compressed hydrogen made earlier). The cook stove needs the correct air/hydrogen mix to create a consistent flame while ensuring the system will not explode/catch on fire if operated incorrectly. Solutions that use found/upcycled materials are preferred.

Additional Information:

  • Upcycled solar panels, on average, have open circuit voltages from 30VDC-45VDC and short circuit current from 3-8A in direct sunlight, depending on the amount of damage to the individual panels

  • Assume charge controllers and inverters are extremely hard to find and should not be factored into the final solution

  • The Field Ready team on St. Thomas has two 3D printers capable of producing parts if needed in the design, they just need a .stl file

  • Metal casting of needed parts is possible

  • There is a workshop on St. Thomas that has laser cutters, wood working equipment, and other fabrication tools that can be leveraged in the final solution

  • Solutions that will, in the end, allow for the population to source materials and assemble the stoves are preferred.

Challenge #3: Water storage

Problem: Many residents on USVI use cisterns to collect rainwater and re-use as drinking water or non-potable water. These cisterns often lie below the home or apartment and use electric pumps to bring the water up to the faucet. When there is a loss of power the residents cannot access the water.

Action: Develop a cistern pump that is largely or entirely made from found/upcycled materials in the USVI that can pump water up at least two stories (10m+) and is either mechanically powered or uses upcycled solar panels. Pump must be made as cheaply as possible to enable wide distribution and access.

Additional Information:

  • Upcycled solar panels, on average, have open circuit voltages from 30VDC-45VDC and short circuit current from 3-8A in direct sunlight, depending on the amount of damage to the individual panels

  • Assume charge controllers and inverters are extremely hard to find and should not be factored into the final solution

  • The Field Ready team on St. Thomas has two 3D printers capable of producing pump parts if needed in the design, they just need a .stl file

  • There is a workshop on St. Thomas that has laser cutters, wood working equipment, and other fabrication tools that can be leveraged in the final solution

  • Mechanical solutions must try to maximize water output while minimizing effort as some of the residents needed this pump are older and/or are in poor health

  • Solutions that will, in the end, allow for the population to source materials, assemble, and install these pumps are preferred.

Challenge #4: Sustainable Food & Medicine Storage

Problem: Power outages quickly result in wasted food and medicines. Most USVI residents have refrigerators but need a way to keep a portion of the refrigerator or freezer cool for essential foods and medicines.

Action: Develop a refrigeration system that uses existing freezer space to keep milk, medicines, and a few perishables cold using found/upcycled materials like solar panels. Solutions should not require disabling the existing refrigerator but may consist of refrigerator door modifications if they are reversible upon power restoration. There may be a need to source and import special components of the solution but the more upcycled/found materials used the better.

Additional Information:

  • Upcycled solar panels, on average, have open circuit voltages from 30VDC-45VDC and short circuit current from 3-8A in direct sunlight, depending on the amount of damage to the individual panels

  • Assume charge controllers and inverters are extremely hard to find and should not be factored into the final solution unless absolutely critical to success

  • The Field Ready team on St. Thomas has two 3D printers capable of producing parts if needed in the design, they just need a .stl file

  • Metal casting of needed parts is possible

  • There is a workshop on St. Thomas that has laser cutters, wood working equipment, and other fabrication tools that can be leveraged in the final solution

  • Solutions that will, in the end, allow for the population to source materials, assemble, and install are preferred.

Challenge #5: Replacement Parts

Problem: Disaster recovery solutions sometimes require replacement or bespoke metal parts. A small, portable casting system that can safely melt found metals like galvanized and tin metal sheets used in roofing (all over the Caribbean), downed cabling and scrap metals from poles, nails/screws pulled from destroyed homes, and any other sources of metal using found wood from fallen trees and, if needed, power from upcycled solar panels (for blowers, venting, etc