Everyone in the north has experienced going without power for some period of time. We’re used to cyclones and power outages and almost everybody owns or has access to a generator. However, generators need fuel, which is something that’s hard to come by during a natural disaster. What would you do if you were in Fiji or Puerto Rico where 3.4 million people were left without power after Hurricane Maria? Solar Relief has built a creative power storage solution designed perfectly for disaster relief which has loads of extra practical uses for when there’s no storm in sight.
Trent Small is the local innovator behind Solar Relief and he’s fighting energy poverty globally. His efforts have recently won him a United Nations Energy Globe Award for the work Solar Relief has been doing in Fiji.
“I came up with the Solar Relief concept in 2011 after Cyclone Yasi,” Trent says.
“We’re now providing these units into different areas around the world that require power and we’re also developing systems and products that will be practical for people in developing nations and disaster zones around the world,” Trent says.
So what’s wrong with the current energy solution? Generators are expensive to run, require regular maintenance, parts, filters and a constant supply of fuel. However, fuel is expensive and hard to transport. You try take a fuel truck into the highlands of PNG or into a disaster zone filled with obstructed paths, flooded highways and live wires.
The Portable Power Supply (PPS) developed by Solar Relief is a modular unit that can be charged by solar, mains power, a generator or vehicle alternator. The lithium-ion phosphate storage unit is separate from the electronics unit. This allows you to daisy chain multiple batteries as your energy needs require it. The box is relatively small (400mm x 600mm) and the unit weighs only 40kg. So you can fly a container load of these into a disaster stricken area and provide immediate power supply, charged by portable solar panels.
“With our portable power supply units, there is no maintenance required, there’s no upkeep. Just clean the solar panel, that’s about it. There’s no need for part replacements,” says Trent.
Even if there’s no cyclone in sight, the portable power supply can come in very handy due to it’s compact nature. As a result, you can easily power your caravan, pool pump, long term camping site or even the separate solar powered electrical circuit through your house. To prove just how effective his power supply is, Trent is also installing his system into a Brisbane home that will be powered solely by the Solar Relief PPS.
It’s these innovative solutions, created right here in Townsville, that will put Townsville on the map for all the right reasons and encourage other inventors to flock to our city.
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