Editorial Feature

Off-The-Grid Hyrdropower Charger

Image Credit: HydroBee

With an ever increasing number of mobile devices available to consumers, charging gadgets off-the-grid is rapidly becoming a hugely popular industry. Currently, the market provides a wide range of solar-powered products for charging gadgets off grid. Off-the-grid battery chargers offer people not only freedom of movement but also an opportunity to be environment friendly.

One of the latest off-the-grid personal charger is the Hydrobee™ created by Burt Hamner founder of Kickstarter and industrial designer Dane Roth for use especially in developing countries where many have access to little or no electricity. 

HydroBee Hyrdropower Charger

The HydroBee™ is a tiny hydropower turbine placed in a can with rechargeable batteries, some advanced electronics, and a USB 2.0 port. The can, referred to as stream body, can be placed in any flowing water source.

The turbine battery is inserted into the mid-section of the stream body and the flowing water moves through and around the turbine charging the batteries.

Access to a household water tap with standard flow or a stream/river flowing at a walking speed of about 4 mph is all that is needed for charging batteries with clean renewable power.

The stream body has to be removed from the water once the batteries are charged. Then the batteries can be taken out and the USB 2.0 port on the can body can be opened for use. The batteries supply 5V 1A power to the USB port, which is a global standard for charging majority of the phones and USB gadgets.

Benefits of HydroBee Hyrdropower Charger

The Hydrobee™ is a simple, small, powerful, and versatile device. People can continue with their tasks as the device is getting charged. Water flow of just one gallon per minute is good enough to charge the battery. It is user-friendly and time-saving. It can be carried anywhere as it is just the same size as a 12 ounce soda can, thereby enabling easy shipping and distribution around the world. The internal batteries of the Hydrobee™ can be used about 500 times.

The main reason to keep the size of the Hydrobee™ as small as a soda can is to use soda and beer vendors as the key suppliers of the Hydrobee™ in the future as they access remote corners of the world.

Conclusion

The designers plan to use 3D printing to quickly create and test the Hydrobee’s propellers, rotors and body casings. The Hydrobees are likely to hit the markets in early 2014 starting with Mexico, as more than 5 million people there do not have electric power.

References

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