Meeting face-to-face proves to be nothing like asynchronous tasks and online interaction. This year’s return to campus holds multiple opportunities for Engineering Off-Grid (EOG) to work with.
EOG may just look like a service club, but our visions go beyond that - we’ll be integrating our projects into sustainable community centers around Jakarta. Implementing aquaponics, filtration, and solar projects at once brings us closer to the goal of building self-sufficient communities around Indonesia, where villagers can maintain sources of nutritious food and water. Transitioning back to offline school also provides members with the opportunity to conduct service visits. Previous service partners like XS Village faced issues with contamination in their water, but other communities may have vastly different needs.
Conducting service visits led our members to recognize an increasing gap in electricity access around Jakarta. Springing into action, our solar panel team ideated sustainable approaches to granting power and collaborated with energy company JSky to provide commercial solar panels. However, the team parted ways with JSky and now plans to design solar products of their own. Noting factors like the price and availability of commercial solar panels, the team realized that designing solar products using smaller solar panels was more efficient and cost-effective. For instance, communities could benefit from solar panel fans, which can be adjusted through how the panels are inclined to the sun, as well as solar-powered cookers that the community can equally benefit from. These products can also be sold at the JIS booster hut and to retailers outside of JIS for additional funds. Moreover, building our own solar products equips members with skills that they can not only use, but teach. EOG eventually plans to teach our service partners to assemble their own solar products and support themselves.
The water filter team previously assembled Nazava and Zerni purifiers for XS Village, which were maintained with replaceable activated carbon and ceramic layers. However, microbiological substances and sediments may still remain after filtering. The team plans to continue research on low-cost, sustainable filters that can remove these contaminants and implement them for new service partners. Independently designing water filters requires them to be cheap, compact, and repairable. Filtering substances is just as important as allowing our service partners to maintain their own products. The team may take inspiration from the previously used Nazava purifiers which used detachable ceramic filters; however, a flaw that they aim to correct is the seamless flow of water, which could not be achieved with Navaza as gravity was the only force pushing water down. Members will be conducting service visits to assess the needs of new partners and assembling filtration systems with them - this will be preceded by documentation, engaging community members, and procuring water samples for lab testing. Our long-term plans are particularly exciting because members will be able to engage with different stages of the design thinking process - members can work on research one day and start learning computer-aided design (CAD) the next.
Despite it being relatively new, the aquaponics team is already undertaking many complex tasks. The club previously included the hydroponics team, which involved continuously growing plants through a water-based nutrient solution and is now expanded to aquaculture. Aquaculture involves the controlled cultivation of underwater organisms such as fish, which can mutually benefit hydroponics systems by creating an additional source of nutrition for plants. These intricate sets aren’t just for decoration - our service partners benefit from them without much time and effort. The aquaponics system is the least complex as opposed to other service projects, and simple to maintain once taught to community members. Another benefit is that the aquaponics system provides financial and nutritional support for our service partners: on one end, communities gain a sustainable source of healthy foods such as fish and vegetables, which are safer to consume. Fish and produce can also be sold locally to alleviate longstanding issues. The team will start by purchasing water filters for the aquaponics farm but may integrate the water filter division’s systems once they have been refined.
It goes without saying that our new plans are bound to be difficult: despite this, EOG is ready to take advantage of the invigorating offline environment. Our operations can be accelerated through collaboration with other non-governmental organizations (Yayasans), social work bodies, and even JIS service clubs. In addition, projects can be affirmed by international bodies such as UNICEF Indonesia to be supporting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of clean water & sanitation (SDG 6), affordable & clean energy (SDG 7), and sustainable consumption & production (SDG 12).