Canterbury students tackle Tongan water challenges
A remote village in Tonga needs clean drinking water but there is limited electricity to run a processing plant – can you design a solution?
The UC Engineering team tackling Tongan water challenges. Back row, L to R: Chemical and Process Engineering Associate Professor Matthew Watson, Pacific Academic Lead Ashalyna Noa, BECA Consulting supervisor and UC Engineering graduate Lisa Mace, Engineering Geomechanics Laboratory Technician Siale Faitotonu.
Front Row, L to R: Final year Chemical and Process Engineering students Matthew Rennie, Olivia Duplan, Jack Deeley and Craig Stocker.
The team of four needs to create an economically viable plan for a small-scale plant to desalinate and sterilise drinking water. It should be powered by renewable resources since the village – a real place called Felemea – only has electricity for two hours each day and diesel is expensive.
The idea for the project came from Siale Faitotonu, a geomechanics laboratory technician in the UC College of Engineering. He was a high school teacher in Tonga, and visited Felemea on a UC research trip at the start of this year.
Faitotonu has been providing first-hand knowledge of the village to the students and giving them advice on local contacts and traditions.
“This project is good for the students and for the community. Hopefully it will become a reality because that would be a blessing for Felemea,” he says.