Image

'Watt-r' Brings Solar-Powered Water Delivery Service To Africa

'Watt-r' Brings Solar-Powered Water Delivery Service To Africa
User Avatar
7 months ago

Africa has seen improvements in their transportation thanks to solar power. Not long ago, Roger Christen created the Solar-E-Cycle that duals as a convenient ride in rural areas and generates electricity. Another solar-powered vehicle, called Watt-r, aims to tackle water shortages with a new delivery service.

663 million people that live in rural Africa don’t have access to clean water. While men in the family are working, this leaves women and children traveling long distances to retrieve it. Sometimes this requires multiple trips per day, and Africa suffers from extreme heat. That’s only going to get worse as global warming will impact their continent the most.

This is where the concept of Watt-r was created. Jose Paris, a car designer based in London who is working on the project, started thinking about a solar-powered vehicle over 10 years ago. It never became a full-fledged idea due to the high costs of solar panels. While these panels still can’t power a standard car efficiently, they have the ability to generate electricity for smaller vehicles.

Unlike the different invention of the Solar-E-Cycle, Watt-r will not be occupied with passengers. The cart’s simple goal is to deliver fresh water to rural areas. It’ll be equipped with a 150-watt bike motor and it’s planned to carry up to a dozen 20-ounce bottles of water. The unit would be ideal for water vendors in the area.

Watt-r is very inexpensive to create through cheaper panels and 3D printing, and somebody that purchases it in the area would be able to pay it off within three years. In order to maximize solar power usage, the cart accelerates to just a walker’s pace. Some negatives for the product is no battery backup for energy storage and it’s limited to flat area travel. However, Paris is open to potential additions.

“It would be very easy to think about an autonomous version, for instance, or to think about installing more power or adding batteries,” the inventor tells Fast Company. “This mission creep is something that I’m very used to after working so many years in the car industry–it’s very typical, somebody always has something else to add. This is an exercise in really paring everything down as much possible and being very conscious of it.”

Watt-r isn’t limited to just supplying clean water to the rural population. Other benefits for the cart includes doubling as a power station to charge devices when it’s not in motion. Supplies like fresh crops, medical aid, and small cargo can also be added to the solar-powered cart.

The product is still in the building phase and a prototype will be in operation locally. After early testing is finished, Paris will bring the cart over to Africa for further observation. He hopes the solar-powered vehicle will provide something in the middle for people that have to walk long distances and settling for an expensive pickup truck. 

RecircNewsIKEA Vows To Eliminate All Single-Use Plastic By 2020

Ikea announced multiple renewable targets that they plan to reach by 2030, which includes removing single-use plastic over the next few years, offering more home solar solutions, and to reduce their greenhouse gases by 80 percent compared to their levels in 2016.

By Brian Spaen
3 days ago
RecircNewsSolar Technology Costs Tumble Further With China's Industry Shifts

China is slowing down local growth in the solar industry, which may not sound like progress, but the entire world benefits. Lower costs from Chinese manufacturers exporting their products will create higher rates of installation around the world.

By Brian Spaen
5 days ago
RecircNewsEuropean Commission Looks To Ban 10 Types Of Single-Use Plastic

The European Commission announced plans recently to further regulate single-use plastic, including outright banning certain items that have the most effect on marine pollution. These new rules would also require manufacturers to raise awareness and help with cleanup efforts.

By Brian Spaen
2 weeks ago
RecircNewsFlaming 'Dung Beetle' Turns Plastic Waste Into Green Energy

There's a new way to recycle single-use plastic waste, and it's by using a dung beetle. Art designers have created a sculpture that's able to convert plastic into gas, and the event hopes to inspire others to find inventive concepts to eliminate plastic waste.

By Brian Spaen
3 weeks ago
Stay Green
Sign up for our newsletter