Posted on 13th May 2016 by Alex Heys
In this constantly connected world it’s easy to forget that approximately 1.1 billion people still live without access to electricity. In the absence of a constant power source, communities are turning to biomasses such as wood and fuel for light and heat. As well as being expensive and laborious to obtain, these types of fuels can be detrimental to health. Around 4.3 million deaths a year are a result of air pollution, and these deaths are rife in areas where electricity is unavailable. We take a look at three inventions that are aiming to eliminate these deaths, and provide sustainable, accessible energy that won’t jeopardise human health.
As the population of the earth grows, the proportion of people without access to electricity looks to remain the same. In areas where electricity is unavailable, many people turn to kerosene lamps for light and heat. Not only are the highly flammable open-flame kerosene lamps a fire hazard, they also emit fumes equivalent to smoking around 40 cigarettes a day. GravityLight is a device which generates light from gravity (yes, you read that right!), aiming to provide people with safe sustainable light and eliminate the need for kerosene lamps. They cost nothing to run, and therefore pay for themselves within a matter of weeks.
Manoj Bhargava, the brains behind the world’s top selling energy shot, 5-hour Energy (an energy drink), has turned his hand to household energy in an attempt to bring sustainable power to those who are without. His solution? “Free Electric”, a person-powered bike not unlike something you might find at the gym which boasts 24 hours of energy through one hour of pedalling. It’s arguably the most intelligent of its kind, producing enough electricity to power 24 light bulbs, a fan, a phone and tablet charger at the same time. Bhargava plans to begin general distribution of these bikes this year. The tie-in is obvious- drink the shot, ride the bike, power your home.
Cooking in the developing world depends largely upon using wood-fuelled fires. Not only is this method of cooking unsustainable, it also requires people to walk long distances to collect wood and contributes to the deforestation of the planet. The Infinity Bakery is an oven that relies on the power of the sun to produce heat. Using a large reflective parabolic dish, the device traps the sun’s rays and stores them in the cooking box. And if all this wasn’t green enough, the oven is made predominantly from discarded oil drums to make the ultimate eco heating machine.