Charging a cell phone is so simple, so easy! Just plug it into your computer or wall socket and it’s done. No matter how trivial it seems, the story is not the same in the other parts of the world. Places like Uganda or Kenya have limited access to power grid, thus charging being highly dependent on local electric availability. And hard to believe but people have to walk to nearby town to charge their phone, which can be kilometers of walking distance!
London’s company Buffalo Grid has taken up a noble initiative to make power available to the remotest areas possible. With a growing trend in usage of mobile phones in Asia and Africa, statistics suggest that almost five hundred to six hundred fifty million cell phone users do not have grid availability. In rural areas, farmers especially benefit from mobiles. They stay updated about the cost and selling price or exchange money via phone where bank services are yet to make a proper foray.
The Buffalo grid is completely portable. When tried in Uganda, it has proven to reduce the expenses rapidly. The situation in African villages is so terrible that charging can cost one around 500 Ugandan shillings which is equivalent to $0.20. There are people who aren’t economically established and therefore charging can cost them a bulk of their daily income. Also, large spacing between two towers and the scarcity of them cause more drainage of battery juice, thereby making it last less than usual one and a half days.
Aimed to revolutionize Uganda, the place suffering from most expensive electricity globally, a 60-watt solar panel attached to a battery was transported via cycle. By the maximum power point tracking (MPPT) technique, the battery gets the electrical output from the solar energy stored. A solar panel can get affected by the temperature and the sunlight received as well as resistances across the circuit. MPPT configures itself accordingly so that it always gives maximum output.
Another technological improvisation uses the text message facility to charge up the phone. A SMS of hundred and ten Uganda shillings needs to be delivered to this device that alerts it to go in a active mode, displayed by fluorescence of LED light. Full powered up grid can survive three consecutive days and can charge up to fifty phones per day thanks to its ten sockets.
To attract the network service providers, the company has proposed them of subsidizing power or something even better, making it free that will inspire people to spend more on network calling or accessing Internet, thus benefiting the providers in the process. According to New Scientist, coffee traders of Sierra Leone have called up the company which will make payments by using cellular methods to farmers. The non-profitable organization is surely setting a benchmark to improve human communication for the world to witness.