So I poked fun at the Solar BBQ and solar bag earlier today. But recovering a little perspective from what tech writer Matthew Sparkes has to say after trying to take his gadgets off grid, I have to unpoke the bag…and maybe the BBQ, though I still find that silly.
In a fit to prove to colleagues at PC Pro that running gadgets on green energy is possible, practical, and more than ready for today’s consumer – even foggy
Tacking on a HYmini (hybrid between wind and solar energy generator) to his bike to generate wind power, Sparkes was able to charge his cell phone…about half way, but enough to keep it running. To get more energy, he added the Freeplay FreeCharge to his artillery and replaced his iPod with an Eco Media Player from Baylis – but the hand-cranking was a pain. To be expected. Finally he tried portable solar panels. The Powermonkey-eXplorer gave great results, charging his phone on non-biking days, with extra energy to power his MP3 player, all while foldable and light enough to cart around.
While he found that he could renewably charge his gadgets, ditching the ease of plugging in to readily available power means sacrificing exactly that – ease. In other words, there are products ready for us to use to renewably charge our hand-held devices, (less readily) our laptops, and so on. But there is still a lot of work to do to make charging up renewably as easy – and as cheap – as charging up from the coal- and nuclear-powered grid.
Despite putting in work to power up, Sparkes ends on this note: "Taking one small gadget off the grid may not seem like a big step, but it's the thin end of the wedge. In five years' time, let's hope people look back and wonder why that bloke from PC Pro thought it was such an achievement to never plug a gadget into the wall."
It is a heartening note, reminding us that each penny adds up to a full piggy bank. So the solar bag is cool. At least cool enough for now, while I keep in mind that more is coming down the line.
written by gmoke, August 01, 2008
written by gmoke, August 03, 2008
written by Alex, August 03, 2008
written by Ryan Baker, August 03, 2008
written by T Boone Pickens, August 05, 2008
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