St. Mary’s Lacor hospital is nowadays one of the largest private and non-profit hospitals in Equatorial Africa, receiving patients referred from all the districts of northern Uganda and beyond. Founded in 1959 in north Uganda by Combonian missionaries under the direction of Piero Corti and Lucille Teasdale, is one of the few structures to offer hope for healing and care in one of the poorest countries in the world. The Hospital is a complex with 482 bed capacity, a medical university, a nurse and laboratory training school. It accommodates every day on average 600 inpatients plus their attendants and receives on average 600 outpatients (totalling about 2000 people each day).
Hospital care services often undergo the effects of a discontinued electricity supply of the national electricity grid. Owing to frequent power outages for about the 10% of time on average, the basic services delivered by the hospital have risked being interrupted, thus compromising their effectiveness and the health of the patients themselves.
For many years, the work of the Foundation has enticed the interest of many private companies, leading them to donate any kind of devices. Beyond the medical equipment, also generators, batteries and solar panels were provided. The availability of a growing number of photovoltaic panels over the years due to external donations, and the presence of multiple generators of different sizes, caused challenges on their management and control logic.
Over time, the quality management of the energy distribution service within the hospital has therefore become increasingly complex, requiring in 2017 the installation of a Power Control Management System (PCMS) for monitoring, power quality, control and automation. The PCMS allows the control of all existing systems available for energy production, processing input information to ensure the best possible output, both in terms of quality of current, voltage and frequency supplied, and to limit dissipation and reverse flows of power to utilities to improve power quality.
Over the years, the Politecnico di Milano has collaborated with the hospital in order to identify plant solutions capable of minimizing the costs associated with energy demand and power outages, detecting the critical issues of the current system and possible areas for improvemet. Not only the technical components were studied, but also an accurate analysis of the loads required by the hospital during the year was carried out.
In 2021 the group won a grant for financing research activities aimed to promote innovative solutions for health centers in Uganda, with particular focus on the Lacor Hospital. More details are available here.
Data gathered in 2017 are publicly available for research purpose: Download
A. Bosisio, M. Moncecchi, G. Cassetti, M. Merlo, “Microgrid design and operation for sensible loads: Lacor hospital case study in Uganda”, Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments, Volume 36, 2019