PowerAmerica has received a $ 5 million collaboration agreement from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to help Native American communities better prepare for future disasters and emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
The institute will work closely with the Navajo Technical University, the Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico and other local colleges to engage with these communities.
“The state of North Carolina is proud to play a key role in this important work,” said Mladen Vuk, vice chancellor for research and innovation. “As a land-providing university, part of our job is to improve the lives of ordinary people. And thanks to this funding, we will be able to help some of the communities in this country that have been hardest hit by COVID-19. ”
Indian communities have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic – largely due to widespread lack of electricity infrastructure. This infrastructure is crucial for the cooling of vaccines and other medicines or consumables. Even without it, setting up field hospitals that can effectively treat patients locally becomes much more difficult.
To address this problem and other complications resulting from the pandemic, PowerAmerica will develop a solar-powered micro grid to power field hospitals and on-site refrigeration facilities; semiconductor-based fast loading system for drones that supports fast delivery; solar system for powering critical electrical loads at home; and an inexpensive, energy-efficient air quality control system with the ability to detect and disinfect pathogens.