IKEA-Style Solar Power Plant Folds Up into a Box
Jul 27 2016 Read 1906 Times
A German start-up energy company has come up with the ingenious idea of flat-pack energy generation. Africa GreenTec is based in Hainburg, Germany and has shipped an entire power plant capable of powering a small village inside a single shipping container.
The unique idea is thought to be massively beneficial to remote settlements which are off the national grid but which enjoy a large amount of sunlight, alleviating a whole host of environmental concerns as well as providing residents with much-needed electricity.
Solar power the ideal solution
At present, Africa faces a huge problem when it comes to energy generation. A staggering 66% of the African population are without access to electricity (totalling some 621 million people), which means that once the sun goes down, they have little means of lighting and heating their homes or converting water into a potable form. This is especially pertinent in areas which endure stifling heat during the day, since the evening and night represent better times to be active and conduct activities such as schooling, agriculture and socialising.
Up until now, diesel has provided the main source of electricity generation for remote villages and towns. This highly polluting form of energy production not only spews out vast amounts of harmful particles which can cause a variety of pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases, it also contributes to global warming through the emission of carbon dioxide. What’s more, it can generate acid rain, which has a devastating effect on the crops and the ecosystems which are subjected to it.
By contrast, solar power has none of these drawbacks and as such could represent the answer to Africa's energy crisis. As a clean, renewable source of energy, it is the perfect alternative to the polluting and financially unaffordable diesel generators currently in use.
An IKEA-style answer to the problem
GreenTec shipped its maiden power plant to a Malian village named Mourdiah last year. After only a couple of hours of assembly, the flat-pack energy solution was able to provide power for 120 homes in the hamlet. What’s more, it’s also cheaper than traditional diesel solutions, making it a very promising alternative.
GreenTec are currently at work building the next prototype which will be far larger in size and command double the battery capacity. Another model is already scheduled to arrive in the Malian town of Nafadji in December and comes equipped with a water-purification system which runs on the power generated by the solar panels.
It is these types of innovative, ingenious solutions which harness the power of nature to meet our mounting needs in a world with a rapidly expanding population which could provide the key to averting the global energy crisis and saving the environment. A similar manipulation of Mother Nature sees the use of African lungfish to detoxify ammonia levels in aquaculture environments, and could prove to be another key step in curbing our damaging effects on the Earth.
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