All pledges will be collected automatically until October 9, 2016.
Our project is to develop and produce a non-toxic, small scale, iron battery system to power LED lights and phone charger. The battery is easily recharged by replacing a consumable iron solution and tailored for developing-world households that lack sufficient access to electricity. Proof of concept and cost competitiveness of the device have been established. We are trying to raise $6000 to purchase a 3D printer and materials. This would allow us to quickly build different configurations of prototypes for testing, demonstration, and for additional fund raising.
More than one billion of people still do not have access to the electricity grid! Most of them, in poor, rural areas continue to use kerosene lamps for lighting. This is both expensive, inefficient, unhealthy and dangerous. The fuel-to-light efficiency is as low as ~0.02% resulting to a lighting price ~50 times higher than in Western Countries. In sub-Saharan Africa where there is no grid, a family can spend as much as 10-25% of its budget on lighting and the smoke from the lamp is comparable to smoking 2 packs of cigarettes/day.
In sub-Saharan Africa, while some 60-70% of the families have a mobile phone, only ~30% have access to the grid. That means half of people owning a mobile phone use local kiosks to charge their phones. The rate is around $0.20/charge. That translates into about $50/kWh. With grid prices in the US and Europe are closer to $0.12 – $0.30/kWh, charging a phone would be 150-400 times less than the Kiosk price.
This project uses an innovative low-cost, non-toxic, disposable, small scale iron battery, coupled with electronic circuitry to power LED lights or phone chargers. The battery housing is reusable and can be repeatedly recharged as required. The user mixes the iron solution needed to replace the consumable material and adds the solution to the cell, recharging the battery. Having the user perform this task keeps the costs low. The battery system should have a purchasing cost around 3 to 5 $ and ultra-low operational cost which would be affordable to people in resource-limited settings.
The current project work moves beyond the initial finding by focusing on manufacturing a technically and economically feasible device through developing a prototype for tests with real end-users in Africa.