Getting To Work
By Dialogo January 01, 2012
The sun beats down mercilessly; still no one thinks to dive into the green
and cloudy waters of the pond at Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras. But the
Pre-positioned Expeditionary Assistance Kits (PEAK) system’s purification and
desalination module transforms the water into a clear, drinkable liquid.
Military personnel from the Humanitarian Response and Rescue Units of the
Honduran Armed Forces and representatives from the Permanent Committee for
Contingencies participating in the PEAK operational demonstration disassembled and
installed each of the system’s components as part of their training. On one side of
the pond, the men set up 12 solar panels with the capacity to generate 2.2 kilowatts
per day. On the other, they set up an Aspen 2000 water purification unit, which can
provide approximately 6,800 liters of potable water a day from local sources. In the
center, the team erected a communications antenna. Under a tent, they set up the
computers for operating the situational awareness system and for telephone
communication over the Broadband Global Area Network, commonly referred to as BGAN.
A second antenna was installed at a distance to extend the principal antenna’s range
and prevent dead zones. When the solar panels are unable to generate sufficient
energy, on cloudy days, for example, a diesel-powered electrical generator and three
banks of lithium-ion batteries are used.
After two days of training, Honduran Air Force Second Lieutenant Percy
Maradiaga said, “PEAK is excellent for first response because it supports the
mission we carry out and meets basic needs in natural-disaster situations: providing
energy, water, communications.” He concluded, “This is a truly complete system.”