Zephyr Solar : an imaginative environment-friendly breakthrough which enables the production of energy during crisis periods.
The purpose of this invention is merely to provide green energy for the destitutes. This idea has turned into a business project made up by three french students. They have conceived Zephyr Solar, an innovative device using a photovoltaic system in kit-form, in answer to the need of electricity after a catastrophe. Thus, life’s conditions can be improved more easily with Zephyr Solar which will grandly help the humanitarian work.
- Furnishing energy for refugee’s camps and victims of a natural disaster.
When it comes to reestablish electricity after a disaster, the task remains difficult and challenging. Since it takes time until all the infrastructures can be efficient again, the population finds itself in a critical position, prevented from any mean of communication and unable to meet its basic needs such as be able to cook, heat up or be lit. This kind of situation is generally either due to a natural catastrophe (storm, earthquake… ) either to a conflict. As for results, some people try to flee their misery and end up in specific camps with no access to water nor to electricity. However, a solution has been conceived recently by two students from the school of the Decorative Arts in Paris, . They’ve pictured a balloon (of 3.80 meter diameter) covered by thin, high-performance photovoltaic cells (with a storage capacity of 3kWh), links to a box fixed to the ground that contains 9 batteries, space for the balloon, and a safety system. Putting this idea into practice would certainly simplify the intervention of non governmental organisations ( Doctors Without Borders, the Red Cross …) in order to quickly restore power supply.
- An ecological method and a simple alternative to traditional generators.
The setting of Zephyr Solar is a way to garantee the functioning of a power source out of nowhere when an emergency case happens. Nevertheless, if it assures electricity to a temporary hospital, and restore telecomunication, it can also make work a water pump during a drought or a heating system in the colder areas of the world for a longer period of time. One Zephyr Solar is supposed to provide energy for at least 50 persons.
This invention is a better alternative to generators using fossil fuel. The balloon needs only sunshines to work and 9 liters of water. It uses the sun’s energy to heat the water which turns into hydrogen and enable the balloon to rise in the sky after 12 hours for a greater productivity. The photovoltaic sail deploys itself and turns in direction to the sun avoiding any shade problems linked with trees or buildings. The device’s efficiency is the same as a normal solar panel (approximately between 15% and 18% of the rays turn into electricity) .
- A several prized project supported by EDF
After having winning many contests these two passed years such as the one of “Humanitech Challenge” ( a student contest about humanitarian invention), or the one called “100 days to entreprise”, the creators of Zephyr Solar try to give a concrete form to their concept. They benefit from the technical support of the “research and development institute on photovoltaic energy” (IRDEP) and from the school of Nanterrre. The financial help of EDF has also been granted to them when they won the “Sharing Energy in the City 20130” challenge.
Moreover, the start-up business is now part of the companies’ incubator of SiencePo Paris (“Sciences-Po contractors”) and some NGO (like the Red Cross and UNHCR) declare to be interested in the product. The launch of the invention is planned for 2016 at a non determined price yet certainly cheaper than the purchase of a generator and its fuel.