There are millions of people in the world who have little to no access to energy of any kind, much less clean energy.
Here in South America, the highlands of Perú specifically, I find it interesting that there are more people with mobile phones than with televisions. Communication is very important to these people, in spite of the fact that the homes they live in may not even have a floor. Something that is fairly ubiquitous though, is running water. In places where firewood is still used for light and cooking, is there a place for the clean energy that water can provide?
Burt Hammer, co-founder of Hydrobee SPC, thinks that his new device could be the answer to the lack of reliable power sources, as well as the need to communicate in these same areas. The Hydrobee is the size and shape of a typical 12oz soda can, which is very portable. Depending on water flow, the Hydrobee’s internal battery pack, the equivalent of 6 2500mAh “AA”-size rechargeable batteries, can charge in as little as 2 hours. Power output is via USB 5V/1A, which is enough to charge a cell phone or light up a room, and dozen of other small electronic items that run off of USB power.
Hammer mentions a couple of really great things about the Hydrobee, aside from being a great source of clean energy. Solar power is clean, but solar panels are expensive, delicate, and large. Solar panels also depend on the the sun shining. The Hydrobee, on the other hand, is portable, cheap [just $24 on Kickstarter], and compact. Given that millions of people pay for a mobile-phone charge from vendors who happen to own a car battery, a $24 [probably a little more when it goes retail] investment could save many hours and dollars [Soles, here in Perú]. Those who live near a stream or have a tap can easily generate their own clean energy to keep in communication with loved ones, even in an emergency.
Image © Burt Hammer