The ChallengesHow can we make personal energy security affordable for the 2 billion+ people who live away from the electric grid? How can we ensure they always have a source of electricity for phones and light?
In the USA there are more than 5 million people who enjoy overnight back-country camping. These days most of them take their phones with them, and they also are increasingly using LED lamps and GPS locators. So they need a backup USB power source if they are “off grid” for more than 3 days. In the developing world over 500 million people have no electricity and they use wood or kerosene to create light at night. They spend over $30B a year to buy kerosene for dirty dangerous open lamps that can be replaced by clean LED lamps using USB power source.
Over 1 billion who live off grid have cell phones, and they need power. They spend over $20B a year to buy charges for their phones from any vendor with a battery, paying 10 cents or similar amount each time for a few minutes charging. All phones now use USB power. In just 10 years, USB power in the developing world has become worth $50B a year.
All over the world people worry about disasters and power outages and many buy backup batteries and / or small electric generators fueled by gasoline or propane. When the batteries are dead and the fuel is gone, where will they get critical electric power for phones and lights? Critical power now means USB power.
USB power is only 5 volts x 1 to 2 amps, or 5 to 10 Watts of electricity. Where can we harvest USB power from nature, so we always have it? How can we make it affordable, costing less than $100, but still accessible to people who live on $2 a day?
Our mission is to create a portable personal USB power source that can be recharged by multiple free sources of energy in nature – flowing water, wind, motion from bicycles and carts, hand-cranks, sun, fire – anything providing a steady energy source we can convert to USB power. And, we have designed it with coded wireless on-off control so it can be sold by micro-financing to the poor. Now a billion people can afford the USB power they desperately need for phones and light.