It’s easy to take mobile phones for granted, but millions of people around the world don’t even have the luxury of mains electricity at home.
With energy at a premium, a cross-disciplinary team at Nokia has developed a new pilot project: the Portable Solar Charger DC-40.
Need for change
During the past ten years, Nokia has been comfortably on track to reducing the environmental impact of its products by 50 per cent. Materials and energy consumption are two of the largest factors affecting the environment.
The Portable Solar Charger is part of a project where Nokia is exploring the charging opportunities for people that do not have access to the electricity grid. Kenya and Nigeria provide the perfect opportunity for testing this solution as recent World Bank reports indicate that only 16 and 51 per cent of Kenyans and Nigerians respectively had regular access to electricity between 2007 and 2011.
Portable Solar Charger
For Nokia to connect the Next Billion, and help people beyond power networks to enjoy great mobile products, it is looking at autonomous, sustainable energy as a way of powering its mobile devices.
The most promising alternative energy harvesting method is solar charging, leading to the creation of the innovative Portable Solar Charger, a cost-effective device that could potentially benefit millions of people in the future.
The charger uses a thin film panel, and it comes with a 3 meter long cable and 2mm Nokia plug interface. It’s highly portable at just 93g, and just one minute of charging offers around two minutes of talk time.
Piloting the charger
Thousands of people in Nigeria and Kenya are set to pilot the Solar Charger. The pilot will be studied to see the product’s business potential, usage patterns, the environmental and social impacts, and whether it could be introduced for full commercial production.
“Sales of the Solar Charger will start this week, and we’re very excited to see what the public response will be,” says Petteri Alinikula, from Nokia’s Sustainability team.
“The Nokia Solar Charger is the first step to solving a fundamental problem; hundreds of millions Nokia product users do not have electricity easily available in their daily surroundings to charge their products.”
image credit: Luz Adriana Villa A