Plastic can be fantastic… And electric! It was thinking about South Africa – her native country – and its constant power cuts, that inspired Charlotte Slingsby to develop this prototype material. The supple plastic sheet is formed of thousands of filaments that contain an electrical film. When a breeze passes by, they rub together, producing small amounts of energy that can be stored in a battery. Easy to install and adapt to all kinds of buildings, Moya – ‘wind’ in Xhosa – could be used to cover houses or the walls of metro stations. Its designer, a student at the Royal College of Art in London, believes that this electric plastic should be operational within 5 to 10 years.
Repurpose School Bag
Plastic – more specifically, old plastic bags – also plays a key part in this smart and eco-friendly school bag created by the South African start-up Rethaka. Old plastic recycled into a school bag fitted with a small solar panel, which collects energy throughout the day. In the evening, the power lights up an LED on the back of the bag. Thanks to the light from this LED, children – many of whom do not have electricity at home – can do their homework after dark. It also helps to keep them safe: every night in South Africa, three children are hit by cars while walking home from school.
Mobile Kiosk Plateform
Developed by Rwandan Henry Nyakarundi, this energy kiosk makes it possible to recharge smartphones in areas where there is no electricity, providing universal access to new technologies. With two 40-watt solar panels, the kiosk has a central battery. When the weather is cloudy, the battery is recharged via the pedalling system, which means it can be taken from village to village. It can charge 16 phones simultaneously.
This plug-and-play box brings electricity to remote areas far from the grid and replaces noisy and polluting power generators. Connected to solar panels, the device includes a battery that can provide power to a household overnight using energy collected during the day. Lights, televisions or even computers can be connected to this miniature electrical system. Created by the French company SP2A Energies and manufactured in France, the Juabox is already being marketed in Angola, Tanzania and Mozambique. And its creators make sure that it is as easy to install as it is to use every day.
To go further
How green energy is boosting development