- James van der Walt
- South Africa
Social Entrepreneur, Ugesi Gold
Open-source wave generators for rural African communities. Can you help?
I've had this idea for a long time to build a very simple wave generator that can bring electricity to coastal communities that have no power. Naturally friends and family told me to patent the idea so others can't steal it but that goes against the very goals of the project - to help as many as I can.
In comes open sourcing. I believe that there's enough smart people around that want to make a difference and act in a compassionate manner that together we can solve almost any problem the world is facing today.
So I'm posting you my basic design and how I intend to use it to make a social impact for rural communities.
Here's the current design:
And here is how I intend to use the technology once it's ready.
I've build a prototype and the basics work but there are some question marks on how it will withstand the harsh climate at sea. It is here that I hope a bit of open sourcing can help fine tune the concept. It's for the greater good after all.
There are 2 areas that I'm stuck on and maybe you might have creative ideas on how to address them.
1) The ropes or cables
They are under water and are moving all the time. This makes for a haven for barnacles and other algae to grow on. This in turn will cause drag. The drag will put extra strain on the pulleys as well as major energy loses.
There things need to be made to last under water so most metals are out of the question. Stainless steel is an option by way to expensive for rural communities to afford. Hard plastics are another option but will it stand up to the pressures?
So if anyone has any good ideas on how to improve on the design or maybe on the business model as a whole, please feel free to post your replies. I'm cautious to see if open source really works.
Thanks for your help!
Ps. all the design notes are online http://www.ugesigold.co.za/my-project