Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hunterdon County Polytech senior, Antoni Chrobot, volunteers 'green' skills in Peru

High school senior Antoni Chrobot had no idea that his energy tech program at Polytech would lead him to an internship in South America and enrolling in college to study renewable energy.
His passion for alternate ‘green energy’ sources coupled with the skills, knowledge, and training he acquired at Polytech gave him the incentive to volunteer to install a simple, low-cost wind turbine in Peru. Working with WindAid, a global social entrepreneurship project, the turbine will generate 7500 watt-hours of free energy to run water in 30 impoverished homes.
Wind turbines are often cheaper than grid electricity and significantly cheaper and cleaner than the diesel generators that are so commonly used throughout South America.
“The turbines are manufactured from recycled and new stainless steel parts and are built very simply compared to the powerful turbines in the U.S.,” explains Todd Menadier, director of implementation and enhancement for the N.J. Green Program of Studies and the Department of Education. Menadier works with career-technical high schools in the state, including Polytech, to develop sustainable design, construction and energy high school programs to prepare students for careers in the construction and energy industries.
“I am also a former student that built wind turbines in Peru,” he continued. “I know firsthand what Antoni will experience throughout this internship, which was started as a way for college engineering students to gain practical work experience while enhancing the lives of others. As a member of a design/building team he’ll learn skills like metal working, welding, painting, and injection molding. He'll get exposure to the mechanical and electrical tasks needed for turbine fabrication. And socially, he’ll be integrated in the Peruvian culture and experience authentic cuisine, customs, and history. The wonderful thing about the volunteer program is the immediate and direct impact we have on the standard living and teaching conditions in these communities.”
Chrobot is in his second year of the energy tech program and is from Readington Township. He will graduate from Hunterdon Central High School in June and enter Penn Tech College this fall.