With more than 1.1 billion people in the world without access to electricity, any proposal to reverse the trend adds up. And that is what a team of German experts is proposing, which has found a low-cost system that could provide energy to at least a quarter of that population. Specifically, the one that lives in the vicinity of a stream in which to install Rotor.
Behind that name is a small , low-cost, portable hydropower generator promoted through Mobile Hydro by artist Markus Heeinsdorff and environmental engineer Andreas Zeiselmair. The experience accumulated in their travels to places like Ecuador or Cameroon (Africa, by the way, concentrates more than 50% of the world’s population that lives outside the network) led them to think and rethink until they formed a system capable of covering these needs.
Sustainable for the environment and for the pocket with DIY options ( Do it Yourself or do it yourself), as well as reliable and capable of delivering energy both day and night. These are some of the main lines of this invention. As seen in the images, the simplicity of its materials is one of the keys to making it affordable (and thus useful) for the populations it intends to benefit in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
A tire, steel (sheet and tube) and a generator are the key pieces of this solution to obtain energy from the flow of water in rivers, streams or any other stream. “It is made in materials available throughout the world,” say the creators. In the absence of them, recycled materials and a little ingenuity to combine them are also valid for anyone to shape this mechanism.
And it is that this German team has not only designed the proposal and hopes to launch it in the form of a prefabricated kit. In parallel, it is committed to promoting a community that favors the arrival of electricity to areas that still do not have access to it. Therefore, the promoters of this idea are committed to sharing it on the web so that those interested can manufacture their own solution. “It uses low-cost technology and can be manufactured by practically anyone in a simple way” , they say about this alternative to convert the energy generated by the movement of water into electricity.
For this, simplicity is replicated in the operation of the system. Composed of a hydraulic wheel (the tire), a vertical axis and three blades, the movement of the Rotor with the flow of water makes it act as an electric turbine that provides energy permanently. This is so simply because the water does not stop flowing because night falls or because the day dawns cloudy.
With such reliability, the proposal may reach a capacity of 100 to 300 W. With this, it would be achieved, not only that the light reached the houses, but that in them food or medicines could be refrigerated, among other of the many possibilities that electricity opens up. For this reason, Heeinsdorff is confident that Rotor, or the instructions to make it, will warm and favor as a replacement for the diesel generators or kerosene lamps that communities that still live outside the grid turn to. By the way, a third of those that have stopped doing so in recent years are now supplied with renewables, especially geothermal and hydro, according to the 2017 report on Access to Energy from the International Energy Organization, so that the solution may be on the right track.