Cycle Power

A Nuru Energy generator being put to work recharging household lights

For years now I’ve harbored the fantasy of powering my household appliances with my own, renewable power. This isn’t a new idea. You might have seen pedal power at work during Occupy Wall Street, or after Hurricane Sandy, or at a Folk Music Festival.

If I was a maker sort, I’d have it done by now. But, alas, I am not. You don’t have to be a maker type, of course. Even if making it yourself seems infinitely cooler, you can buy one. There are plenty of examples of this technology put to work. 

But perhaps the most meaningful examples are ones where the power generated isn’t a green-niche blip in the generally massive consumption of abundantly available power. Yes, we have power problems in the developed world, but they are nothing like the situation faced in much of the developing world where having enough light to study by for a week can cost more than a full day’s wages.

Nuru Energy is one of a happily growing number of companies trying to change that situation. They have developed both an easily rechargeable light and a bicycle generator to recharge it. Individuals can buy the lights, which can be charged via solar, generator or this bicycle generator. Nuru also sets individuals up with the generators so they can earn a living by recharging the lights for their neighbors.

These products are part of a growing movement to jump start community development and economic activity by empowering individuals and communities in the developing world. I guess that could be a pun, but it’s also a reality. Watch this video for the full story. It’s really inspiring.

Great Idea: providing inexpensive, renewable energy and light to rural areas with no grid electricity.
Practical Step: Researching and developing the best solution, and then getting it out there.

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