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Buffalo Grid recharges off-grid phones using solar power, bikes and text messages

Posted: , by Alan F.

Buffalo Grid recharges off-grid phones using solar power, bikes and text messages
With 500 million to 650 million cellphones off the power grid , Buffalo Grid offers a way for some of these handset owners to recharge their devices using solar power. The company has a 60 watt solar panel that recharges a battery that is brought into areas where cellphones need charging, like Uganda, by workers carrying it on a bicycle. Juliet Nandutu is one such worker. Offering the service to her village in Uganda, she says that she charges 18 to 20 phones a day depending on the local electricity supply. When there is power available, she is not needed as much. And even if power is available, it requires a long walk to a charging station.

A Buffalo Grid battery being carried by bicycle in Uganda

A Buffalo Grid battery being carried by bicycle in Uganda

Buffalo Grid's recharging technology is also a cheaper option. In Uganda, it costs 20 cents to fully recharge a phone. But the average worker in the area takes home under $1 a day. The interesting thing is how the power is released. A text message, which in Uganda costs 110 shillings, is sent to the device. Once the LED light glows above a socket, it means that it is ready to recharge a phone. Each text message allows the phone to be charged for 1.5 hours. Each battery has ten charging points and can charge 30 to 50 phones in a day.

Buffalo Grid sees room to bring the price down more if it can get the carriers in the area to pay for some of the power. For the mobile operators, it could be a positive move. "When you bring power to phones that don't have any, people will use them more," says Buffalo Grid's Daniel Becerra. "Instead of paying for the charge, people will spend more on airtime."

The bottom line is that Buffalo Grid not only brings cheap power for cellphone owners in regions where power is expensive or non-existent, it also brings jobs to an area where they are badly needed.

source: BuffaloGrid, NewScience via Textually.org

10 Comments
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posted on 10 Mar 2013, 04:48 7

1. Topcat488 (Posts: 1162; Member since: 29 Sep 2012)


I hope this Buffalo Grid has a patent, cos you know who............ Riiiiiiiiiight.

posted on 10 Mar 2013, 07:00 3

2. xperiaDROID (limited) (Posts: 5577; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


That's right, everyone's favorite fruit :)

posted on 10 Mar 2013, 11:41

5. Bernoulli (Posts: 1451; Member since: 01 Sep 2012)


I like strawberries better

posted on 11 Mar 2013, 00:53

8. BomberXL (Posts: 82; Member since: 17 Jan 2012)


aaayyyyyyyyyyy ;D

posted on 10 Mar 2013, 10:42 2

3. coppico (Posts: 22; Member since: 03 Dec 2012)


Yeah that's innovative, imagine one day the back of the phone is a solar panel, and you charges whenever there's light, just like the calculators~
no more battery issues and no more wasted light energy

posted on 10 Mar 2013, 11:28 3

4. jfuente11 (Posts: 29; Member since: 06 Nov 2012)


Then that is what we can truly call "Wireless Charging ". :)

posted on 10 Mar 2013, 11:42 1

6. Bernoulli (Posts: 1451; Member since: 01 Sep 2012)


Check this one out, the day we can use inductive charging from our bodies to charge a mobile, that would be fantastic

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 01:34

9. andynaija (Posts: 472; Member since: 08 Sep 2012)


Doesn't that actually sound not too good/dangerous?

posted on 12 Mar 2013, 06:29

10. Bernoulli (Posts: 1451; Member since: 01 Sep 2012)


How? ? It's still a fantastic thing if achieved, because our bodies produce electric charges in small amounts, maybe just use it to lightly charge a mobile.

posted on 10 Mar 2013, 12:12

7. OpTiMuS_BlAcK (Posts: 411; Member since: 04 May 2012)


Yeah, there have already been phones that come stock with solar back panels. I wonder why it never came to modern smartphones.. It'll eliminate the need for extra batteries or power packs..

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