Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
April 23rd, 2015

Energy is infinite and indestructible, so we’re told…matter can neither be created nor destroyed.  However, we earthlings seem to be doing a pretty good job of using up all our planet’s natural resources at a dangerously fast clip.  And some regions lag far behind the developed world in having ‘modern’ power available to them at all.

Here’s an exclusive interview from CleanTechnica that gives some news about combining methods to create solutions.  A partnership has been formed between between SunEdison and Imergy to provide electricity to villages in India that are “off grid”.  The end goal is 5,000 villages in India alone, and even more in Africa and other regions where gaping holes in the electrical grid exist.  Imergy CEO, Bill Watkins, had this to say, “…scaling up conventional batteries is not an efficient solution for rural electrification, because they don’t separate energy from power.“  Be sure to check out the video from Imergy in the article that gives even more detail:


Double-Teaming Diesel


With Solar & Energy Storage


(CT Exclusive Interview)


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April 22nd, 2015

Ikea will sell both furniture with wireless charging built-in, and accessories that can be added to existing furniture using Qi technology.

blog ikea

The Qi standard is designed to charge devices at a distance of up to 4 cm (1.6 in), which means the phone will have to be placed in a specific spot marked by a “plus” sign.  The current Qi specifications are geared toward low-power devices but one day plan to provide the technology that could feed up to 2,000 Watts wirelessly, which would be ideal for kitchen appliances.

At a cost of an extra EUR 20 (US$22.45) on their wireless furniture, would you make the investment?  Prices for the wireless charging kits to convert existing furniture will start at EUR 30 (US$ 33.70).


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Renewable energy could provide a cheap and immediate source of power to those who need it most – especially those thrown into chaos by war (including refugee camps), famine or natural disaster.

UK entrepreneur, John Hingley, founder of Renovagen has developed a lightweight roller solar panel designed to be deployed in war zones and remote locations.  The panel is designed as a bendable solar panel sheet which is a patented solar system called RollArray – a 9mm thick photovoltaic sheet that “rolls up like a carpet.”

blog rollarray

The RollArray claims to be 10 times more powerful than any other transportable solar generator of the same size, and that a 20ft container can house a system capable of producing 100 kilowatts at peak performance.

Daniel Becerra, co-founder of BuffaloGrid, wants to relieve some strife by enabling mobile phones to be charged in off-grid locations. The UK company has developed a small portable unit resembling a toolbox which users can plug their phones into to charge. The BuffaloGrid Hub can run off any power source, including solar panels. There’s a huge demand for this because many of the world’s poorest people, while lacking a power supply, have their own mobile phones.

Bboxx, which sells off-grid solar systems core product is a solar home system, known as the BB17, which contains a 17 amp battery encased in a control unit. This allows people in cut-off regions to power a range of standard appliances.

Do you have any expertise in this arena?  or would any of these solar solutions help you to develop other great ideas for leaving a smaller footprint?

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April 17th, 2015

With the almost continual reliance on staying connected nowadays, a dead cell phone battery can be a catastrophic event in one’s daily life.  Remembering to charge that device to keep it functioning has been added to the list of daily items on almost everyone’s “to-do” list.  Now there’s a possible solution to that dilemma…

Tejas Shastry’s busy creating AMPY, a device he and fellow Northwestern Ph.D. students Alex Smith and Mike Geier invented in class. They say it’s a cure for the dead cell phone, turning energy from a person’s physical movement, called kinetic energy, into battery power.

Smith said. “The secret for AMPY really came from taking somewhat existing technology and shrinking it into a form factor that can fit right here in your pocket.”


Read about this invention, profiled by CBS News, here:

Run, walk, bike your way


to a full charge


Not only is this concept a great way to relieve your brain of having to remember to add charging your cell phone into your everyday routine, it’s got the added benefit of stimulating your physical activity to new heights.  The payoff isn’t just being fit and toned, but having a working phone to brag about your exercise accomplishments, as well!  And you’re being ‘green’ by not consuming electricity to recharge your phone!

If you’re interested in this gadget, the unit – along with various accessories – can be pre-ordered on their site:  AMPY cell phone charger logo    Estimated ship date: July 2015, base pricing cost ~$100 USD



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In an effort to promote sustainable development the Kingdom of Jordan has announced that all of their mosques will soon run on solar energy.  Jordan currently imports 96% of the energy they use.  Since around 300 of Jordan’s days are sunny, solar power is one great solution to their energy constraints.  The photovoltaic solar systems for power generation project will start by covering 120 mosques and installation will continue at other mosques across the country.

blog JordanThe country’s mosques are expected to see huge savings and even solar revenues from the project.  Check out more detail about this expansive solar project here.



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