Dirty Talk Is Cheap Power For Charging Mobiles…

15 November 2012

 

Dirty Talk Is Cheap Power For Charging Mobiles

For you and I living in the west, when our state of the art smartphone is showing red by lunchtime, their is always a power socket close-by so that we recharge it.  But in Sub-Saharan Africa, it’s a very different story, with some 500 million people living in low power regions, it is often the case that people have to walk miles to charging stations and pay between 50 cents and a dollar per charge.  Solar power is the big opportunity, but it’s not always available or offered as it’s an expensive alternative, for instance if it breaks down it can be costly to repair.  So what else is there?

Well, thanks to a $100,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation a team of Engineering and Applied Science researchers from Harvard University have come up something really radical that might really solve the no power or costly power charging problem.

Microbial fuel cell-based charging (MFC), or to put it simply - charging your mobile phone up by using dirt. Using a conductive surface, you basically collect all the electrons created during the bacteria metabolic processes within in the soil and then send them through a anode-cathode-resistor circuit to generate the electricity...I knew that.  It can take up to 24 hours to fully charge a phone, but when you think of the alternatives, then MFC technology may really be a lifesaver.