15-year old student creates solar-powered model for Mombasa Airport

15-year old student creates solar-powered model for Mombasa Airport
  • The student has been an aviation enthusiast since the age of eight.
  • He developed the love for aeroplanes at a very tender age which is evidenced by the variety of plane toys he has.

 A 15-year-old student from Aga Khan Academy Mombasa has created a model for a solar -powered airport for Mombasa, which could save millions of shillings a year in energy charges.

The Energy Research in Airports Review of May 2016 reports that a standard airport spends $94,000 a year on electricity. However, with Mombasa experiencing an average of 173 days of sunshine a year, its potential for renewable solar power production is sufficient to power the airport, and even surrounding suburbs.

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This potential inspired Shashank Arvindan to work on a model of a solar-powered airport as his Year 10 Personal Project, which is part of the International Baccalaureate programme at the Aga Khan Academy that challenges students to undertake in-depth research on a topic of their own interest and deliver a viable product or outcome.


Solar-powered model

“I wanted a project based on my passion and that could solve a specific global issue. There are a lot of pollution concerns in the aviation field and this prompted me to look into solar power as part of the globalisation and sustainability aspects of the project. I actually started thinking of sustainable energy when my family moved to Mombasa in 2007 and began experiencing the hot climate,” said Arvindan.
For Arvindan, the solar-powered airport model saw him reach out for expert advice as well.The process of consulting with the engineers involved Arvindan commuting from the South Coast to the North Coast to schedule and pitch for interviews. “Engineers are extremely busy and it took me weeks of waiting to land appointments with them,” he said.

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The model itself required a battery, electrical cables, solar panel, lights, and wood, which Arvindan assembled into a replica of Mombasa airport with a runway, functional lights and a source of electricity.
Arvindan, who is now working to present the model to Mombasa Airport and other relevant authorities, is one of more than 80 students who developed new products and concepts for this year’s personal projects at AKA Mombasa, with other projects spanning phone apps to manage diabetes, an in-car pothole detector, and an enjoyable retirement home for the elderly.

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  1. Evan G. Kimani
    April 03, 09:48 Reply

    I’m Impressed,
    As a solar professional in Kenya, I would be happy to help this student commercialize this idea. The energy consumption from the electricity grid in an airport can be reduced drastically by integrating a solar PV system. The payback for such a solution can be as low as 7 years.
    Equatorial Energies have implemented over 2MW of Solar PV in Kenya. The co founders being past and current PV instructors would like to be part of this young man’s journey and possibly the youth around him.

    We can offer a basic training on Solar PV and provide guidance and mentorship to achieve the possible commercialization of this product as well as it’s implementation in not only Kenya, but also Sub Saharan Africa.

    Kindly put us in touch and let’s create a synergy of renewable energy.

  2. Orlando
    April 27, 08:55 Reply

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