Biggest Deployable Solar Generator....cool but deliciously underpowered
The biggest mobile, deployable, and self-contained solar-powered generator has been announced and it’s a real nifty item, even if it’s a bit photon-challenged.
Hurricane Katrina in 2005 really drove home the need for effective mobile power generation during natural disasters. The company Ecosphere Technologies announced two years later their self-contained solar power generator meant for similar disaster relief scenarios. They’ve been busy little bees because now they’re pushing version 2.0, called the Ecos PowerCube, and it’s pretty damn slick.
The PowerCube is designed to fit into any of the 3 most common ISO shipping containers used world-wide (10-20-40 feet) and can be transported by ship, air, and ground. Once settled into its new home, a press of a button activates it and opens the patented slide-out mechanism of its solar panels which quadruple its initial roof surface area and can offer a maximum of 15 kW of power.
What can you do with that power? There’s actually a pretty impressive laundry list of tasks that can be accomplished:
- Water can be purified or even pulled out of the air with its atmospheric water generators.
- A 30 mile wifi range can get you on Facebook quickly to post timely disaster-area selfies
- There’s a whole suite of telecommunications (satellite) options available
- It even has a wind turbine (but no flux-capacitor)
- Any excess power can be stored in batteries or used to run a host of devices (or even a hospital) as needed
- It’s run remotely so no expertise is really required except maybe how to push a button
- The structure itself can also be turned into a hospital, a temporary school, a command center, or even just sleeping quarters.
Clearly, disaster recovery is no longer the only application of this specific bit of solar tech. Military and Humanitarian support for off-grid locations are obviously part of this current design.
Awesome right? Give me one or three of these in my backyard, and I’m ready for any of the various popular zombie apocalypse scenarios.
There is a drawback though (isn’t there always?). 15kW isn’t that much power when you think about it. Especially for more large scale uses. Consider a simple diesel generator. Those buggers can produce freakin’ 600 to 1,700 kW. Sure it runs on gas and not free photons but the power differential is considerable. How many generators and cans of gas can you fit in a storage container? Conversely, it could take many many big PowerCubes to match the power provided by a single generator. This objection is attenuated somewhat though considering that gas prices can be bat-shit crazy for remote locations like Afghanistan ($400-$1,000 per gallon).
Based on the companies website and various press releases, the PowerCube does seem capable of being a valuable resource for many different off-grid and post-apocalyptic scenarios. As we often see however, the current inefficiency of solar power generation will limit serious wide-spread use.
Hopefully they’ll have version 3.0 out before the zombies start lurching.
Image Credit: EcosphereTech.com