If a major disaster strikes then there is dearth of water, communication and energy supply. Such situation is challenging for relief workers as well as residents alike. Now there is a solution available to all these problems and it only requires proper sunlight.
Produced by Ecosphere Technologies, the Ecos PowerCube has been developed in such a manner that it can supply water, satellite communication, energy and WiFi in disaster relief as well as military operations. In addition to it, we can use it in residential as well as humanitarian aid projects.
Inception of PowerCube
It has been 7 years now that Ecosphere gave the world a preview of their solar generator unit, which is completely self-contained and can be used at disaster struck zones. After a lot of work on refining the original system, they have now come up with the revised system, called the PowerCube.
Set up and Power Generation Capacity
It looks very much like a shipping container with dimension of 10ft. x 20ft. x 40ft. and can reach the destination by air, land or sea easily. After reaching the destination with a press of a button, the solar panels roll out and increased usable area means that PowerCube is able to produce four hundred percent more power. There are roller hinges on either side of the unit, which make use of hydraulic actuators to position the solar panels quickly as required.
Solar panels have the capacity of producing about 15KW of energy which is then stored in batteries present inside the PowerCube. There is also the provision to set up a wind turbine quickly without requiring much time.
Utilization of Electricity Generated
The electricity PowerCube generates can be used to power many things ranging from on-board systems, providing internet connection within an area of thirty miles as well as potable water generator, which draws moisture from air to form water that means that it can work at places without any nearby source of water. Electricity generated can also be used for powering external system such as schools and hospitals. There is also space inside to create a temporary clinic, emergency hospital or shelter.
Other Features of PowerCube
Some of the other features of PowerCube include:
- Use of patented drawer system that shields solar panels while shipping, transportation and even rough weather
- Available in different sized ISO shipping containers, i.e. 10′, 20′ and 40′, to provide optimum solar power generation capacity
- The solar panel array can be deployed quickly without requiring much time
- Increase communication possibilities with wireless VoIP, VSat and wireless communication
Comparison with Other Traditional Sources
Some people are questioning the viability of PowerCube. As for example, if the disaster is related to weather such as a storm then sunlight will not be available in abundance immediately after the storm. In comparison if we look at a normal diesel generator then it is able to generate as much as 600KW to 1.7MW which is nearly forty times than what PowerCube can generate and that too during all hours of the day and not just when there is sunlight. However, generators will require fuel, but in case it is possible to bring in a solar plant with a size similar to a shipping container then carrying diesel cannot be a problem.
The only difference between solar energy and diesel generators is that solar energy is a cleaner method of generating energy. However, for short-term needs, it seems that a diesel generator will be much better as compared to a PowerCube.
PowerCube would certainly be useful in military operations where silent power generation is required. It offers also a solution, which will be more useful in long-term civic operations, as compared to urgent short-term requirements.