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A mini hydropower plant for charging mobile devices

Post 2020-01-09 |

The all-new offers yet another alternative to solar panels, fuel cells, muscle-powered dynamos, wind turbines, AC-charged back-up batteries and other portable power solutions. "The world's smallest hydropower plant" transforms the power of running water into phone chatting, internet browsing, music listening, GPS navigating and other mobile device activities, and it does so from a package built to fit in a backpack.


Previously, we covered other portable hydroelectric generator systems and some like HydroBee were quite compact. Blue Freedom claims its kit is the smallest. It is nearly 2 oz (57 g) lighter than HydroBee and looks significantly more compact. The relatively light, thin package can be carried in a backpack.

Developed in Germany, the charger includes a 4.7 inch (12 cm) micro turbine, a 5W generator and a 5,000 mAh lithium-polymer battery inside. The turbine plunges into an active water area and the device's base is still on the shore, allowing you to charge the device directly using USB 2A and 1A ports. You can also store energy in the built-in battery for later use. Integrated LED light helps you see clearly at night.


The micro turbine doesn't need to be situated in a specific way in relation to the direction of current, and is instead designed to flow with the water and deliver efficient charging. The kit is designed to operate in temperatures between 41 and 104 ºF (5 and 40 ºC) and altitudes up to 16,400 feet (5,000 m).


Why? It seems like solar panels are more versatile and easier to set up, allowing you to charge your device on the move as well as in place. Sunlight also tends to be a more readily-available commodity than running water when traveling off the grid.


According to the governments of US and Canada, two world leaders in hydropower production, hydropower is the most efficient means of generating electricity, transforming up to 90 percent of available water energy into usable electricity. Compare that to around 15 percent for solar panels, and you can start to see why a portable hydropower charger could prove quite superior.


The hydropower kit should charge its internal 5,000 mAh battery in three to four hours, assuming a water flow rate of 1.2 m/sec (2.7 mph). An iPhone 6 would take about one to two hours at that same water rate.

(Portable power charging)


Depending upon the nature of the trip, may or may not be more convenient than other types of chargers. It'd be a good solution for camping (near a suitable stretch of creek or river), in which you're staying in one place for an extended period and would be able to charge at night, when there's no sunshine to harvest. On the other hand, it wouldn't be very useful for trips through the city, desert or any stretch of land not adjacent to a flowing water body, which breaks down to a lot of stretches of land. The base station does include a microUSB port for charging the internal battery, so you could use other forms of energy, including solar panels, in the event that you can't find running water. That will of course add to its 0.9-lb (400-g) pack weight and 7.9 x 2.2-in (20 x 5.5-cm) size.


It indeed its charging speed advantages, it would be a nice alternative to solar panels and other charging options. 


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