Can you imagine your life without a reliable source of electricity?
It is estimated that between 1.2 and 3 billion people around the world have little or no access to electricity and / or modern fuels, to meet basic needs such as cooking, heating, access to healthcare, education and employment.
It is common for people living in disadvantaged and remote communities to travel many hours in a day simply to charge their mobile phones or spend large portions of their incomes on dirty and hazardous polluting fuels such as kerosene, batteries and candles.
Serial social entrepreneurs Brad, Nick and Amatus, from Brisbane have a solution to solve world energy poverty, starting with remote communities in Papua, West Papua, Indonesia, PNG and Pacific Island countries. They have launched tech start up PowerWells a small, self contained, off-grid solar energy and battery supply system made out of recycled e-waste, capable of delivering a basic, reliable power source.
Watch the PowerWells short video here.
The main goal of PowerWells is to extend the productive hours of the day for increased educational and economic activity. On a recent trip to PNG they discovered a main use of mobile phones is to use the torch at night to read papers or books.
By using electronic-waste (e-waste) and ex-commercial solar panels, Powerwells can deliver a cheaper solution (a self contained system of solar energy production and battery storage) AND reduce the amount of hazardous materials going into landfill.
PowerWells is similar in concept to a community water well. It is centrally located for communities to charge small electronic devices including batteries, phones or torches (up to 50 small devices per day) and power a light that is big enough to light up a communal space for 5 hours.
The PowerWells model will up-skill local people living in the countries where PowerWells are deployed, to source local materials and also construct the PowerWells. This will provide local employment opportunities and teach people new skills to make use of e-waste, beginning with how to construct PowerWells (including accessories) and in the future they hope it will extend to making products such as 3D Printers.
PowerWells NEED YOUR HELP! They have 12 days left to raise $12,000 on their crowd-funding campaign to create 100 self-contained power supply systems that will provide a basic, sustainable and reliable power supply to remote communities. The campaign finishes on 19 January – visit http://powerwells.org to make a pledge, even $5 will makes a real difference to this campaign!
So how did this all come about? PowerWells formed in late 2017 as part of the Logan Social Enterprise Startup Weekend. They won the Get Started category of the event. Nine days later they were on their way to Jakarta. They met a local, Johannes, who lives in a remote village eight hours (including a two-hour walk) out of central Jakarta that didn’t have electricity. Thirteen days after the Startup Weekend, they had their first PowerWell installed in Johannes’ village, where it continues to provide power and lighting for the community!
Learn more about PowerWells on the PowerWells crowdfunding page or facebook page,
AND….if you have any electronic waste in your home or workplace (anything with a plug or a battery) PLEASE consider donating it to Substation33 a social enterprise based in Logan in South East Queensland who use electronic waste to help disadvantaged job seekers get employment ready. Read more about Substation33 here.