The GEF Small Grants Programme

in Uzbekistan

New heating system for rural schools: a project in Bayavut district, Syrdarya province, high school # 19

In Uzbekistan, secondary education is provided through 10,129 schools throughout the country, of which more than 6,000 schools are located in rural areas. Currently, the number of students in secondary schools is more than 6 million children. There are not enough schools, so more than 70% of schools work in two shifts.

One of the biggest problems is the heating of schools in rural areas. The state is obliged to ensure that the conditions in the internal premises comply with sanitary standards.

With the requirements of a temperature regime of at least 18 degrees (and preferably 20 degrees), the actual temperature regime in winter is much lower: children can only be in classes in outerwear (coats, jackets), hats. Often even mittens or gloves are required. It is clear that at such a low temperature in the room, and the absence of minimum comfortable conditions, educational processes are difficult. Children think not about studying, but about how to keep warm.

The picture was taken in the classroom of school number 19, November 19, 2021. As you can see, the children are all indoors in outerwear, although winter has not even come.

In fact, it turns out that 50% of the country's children have extreme learning conditions in the winter (cold) time, which makes up most of the school year. Appropriate conclusions about the results of such education and how qualified personnel the country will receive in the future can be easily drawn by everyone. Recent announcements in the country's press that more than 51% of applicants to universities in 2022 did not score even the minimum passing score in the entrance exams is another confirmation that the quality of education leaves much to be desired. And not the last element / reason among others is the inability to provide normal conditions for the educational process in the country's schools.

At present, most rural schools are heated with coal. Due to the shortage of electricity, and the inability to ensure the uninterrupted operation of the circulation pumps of centralized boiler houses in schools, in 1991-2016, almost all rural schools were transferred to gravity heating. In other words, ordinary "potbelly stoves" were installed in schools, which have 4-5 classes in their heating circuit, and the movement of the heat carrier (water) in the heating system occurs due to the temperature of the operating boiler. Each school provides for the position of a stoker who walks around and throws coal into the "potbelly stoves". The Ministry of Public Education ensures the supply of local, Angren coal, the calorific value of which is extremely low: if the calorific value of hard coal from Russia and Kazakhstan is 6,000-7,500 kcal/kg, then the calorific value of local coal is 2,000-3,500 kcal/kg, i.e. 2 times less than high-quality coal. In addition, most of the coal (up to 40%) is supplied in the form of dust rather than hard coal, which further reduces the possibility of heating.

The quality of the supplied coal.

As you can see from the picture (newly supplied coal for the heating season 2022-2023), almost all of the supplied coal consists of fine dust, not stone pieces.

A few years ago, school No. 19 in Bayavut district, Syrdarya region, applied to the GEF SGP with a request to consider the possibility of modernizing the school's heating system to bring it in line with sanitary standards for schools.

It is necessary to completely modernize the approach itself and the system for providing heating in rural schools. To ensure the required level of heating in schools, it is necessary:

  1. Either increase the amount of local coal supplied 10 times, or replace it with high-quality imported coal with a 5-fold increase in quantity (because imported coal has a calorific value 2 times higher than local), and the installation of modern coal-fired central heating boilers in all schools;
  2. Or consider another heating alternative for rural schools that could
  • Provide schools with the necessary heat in accordance with sanitary standards;
  • Be a cost effective alternative;
  • To be the most energy efficient alternative.

It is the testing of an alternative for subsequent analysis and distribution as a heating source that is the goal of this project.

It is proposed to do this through the installation and use of a "heat pump" during one heating season.

A heat pump is actually a refrigerator or air conditioner "in reverse". The heat pump uses an inert gas that takes the available temperature from the primary source - it can be air or water - and transfers it, with an increased coefficient, due to the rapid compression by the compressor and the release of a large amount of heat, through the heat exchanger system to the final heat carrier. This generated heat is transferred to the carrier of the heating system - in our case, the liquid in the heating system is ethylene glycol. Further, everything is as usual - a hot liquid (in our case, not water, but ethylene glycol) goes through pipes and batteries and gives off heat to the premises at the school.

Heat pumps are becoming more and more popular around the world as the most energy efficient source of heating. The main advantage of this heating source is its increased energy utilization ratio, which is 1:3.8 times for air-to-water systems and up to 1:5 times for water-to-water systems. In other words, at the cost of 1 kW of electrical energy, we get 3.8 kW of thermal energy. Almost 4 times more. For comparison, now, when burning / converting carbon fuel into thermal energy, we get an efficiency less than 1, i.e. with the expenditure of 1 kW of energy in the form of fuel, we receive less than 1 kW of thermal energy.

In general, the advantages of a heat pump over conventional solid fuel or gas boilers include:

  1. The most efficient option for energy conversion and efficiency of energy use - at the expense of 1 kW of electrical energy, it is converted into 3.8-5 kW of thermal energy. For comparison, all other heating methods at the expense of 1 kW of energy equivalent will convert it into < 1 kW of heat.
  2. Projected reduction in heating costs up to 70%
  3. Runs on clean energy - electricity
  4. Fire safety, which is important for schools
  5. Convenience - one (or several) unit(s) can heat the entire school
  6. Fast installation and start
  7. Does not require approval for installation
  8. It does not require additional labor in the form of toppers at school and does not require regular service.
  9. 20-25 years guarantee of the unit operation

Thus, the aim of the project is

test/demonstrate the possibility of heating a typical rural school using a heat pump, with a comparative analysis of the economic and social effects of this technology, for potential distribution to other schools in the district, region, country.

Download the project application

Download the project budget