Assessment Trip – Day 2
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
We woke up to another beautiful day in Kenya. Nairobi is very close to the equator, which means the day and night are evening divided into 12 hour periods year round. It is not surprising that the climate is temperate, and it even has led to a unique time system, in which the clock starts at 6AM. In other words, there is a 6 hour shift between local time and this “Swahili Time”. I can see the justification: rather than having the first hour of your clock start in the middle of the night, you are essentially counting the hours you have been awake (since sunrise).
Today we had a 10AM meeting with Alstom’s office in Nairobi, located in the Citadel building—a nicer office tower in downtown. There we met with several of the employees, and gave short presentation about the project. The Alstom Foundation is the major funder of the MBCM project and it was important for us to show them the progress we have made on the project. Among many topics of discussion, we talked about interacting with the local university and forming a chapter of the IEEE Power & Energy Society.
In the afternoon we met with another vendor: Chloride Exide. Chloride Exide has a large and impressive showroom, with lots of activity and customers. The company was founded 50 years ago (coinciding with Kenya’s independence from the British). Their main backbone is automotive batteries, but they are very diversified (they have a bakery, chicken processor, and about 5-7 more companies). They have had a renewable energy division for about 25 years, and have been doing wind for about 7-10 years.
In the evening we had a dinner meeting with the IEEE Kenya Section at the “Double Dragon” Chinese restaurant. The current Chair, in-coming Chair and Secretary were in attendance, along with other members of the Assessment Team. The Section has about 500 members, 200 of which are active. The Section was dormant until recently, but there is increased interest. They are excited about forming a PES chapter here. Henry will send the documentation to get the process started. Aniruddha Shahapure invited Jeff (arriving to Nairobi just in time for dinner) to visit their lab at Power Technics to acquire any components he may need. Overall, it was a lively dinner and we added to our growing number of friends and contacts in Kenya.