Zandvlei Trust

Power to the People

(Extract article from the volume 2007/1 Newsletter)

Inventor Roger Godwin demonstrates the pumping ability of his solar-powered Powerbox.

Roger's box of tricks brings light and water to rural areas.

The Popular Mechanics April 2005 winner is Roger Godwin, who believes his PowerBox could change lives by bringing safe and portable power to poor communities. Rather than rely on fossil fuel, it draws its energy from the Sun. In essence, his invention is a wooden box equipped with a single solar panel, a small pump and a deep-cycle battery. With the battery fully charged, it will pump water for up to two hours at the rate of 3,8 litres/minute, or 450 litres a day - enough to irrigate about 400 m2 of "Peace Gardens". This would be a distinct boon in rural communities where taps are non-existent, says Roger. Residual power could be used for energy-efficient LED lights inside rural dwellings, replacing potentially dangerous candles and paraffin lamps. A basic wiring harness could be included in the design with minimal difficulty, says the inventor.

If all goes according to plan, Roger will help establish a network of small workshops in rural areas to build and repair the units.

These would be "on loan" to users with the strict proviso that 10 per cent of the crop, or water pumped, has to be donated - under management of appropriate NG0s - to school feeding programmes, the elderly, or AIDS orphans.
Says Roger: I believe inventions like the PowerBox could change the world, one person at a time."

To contact Roger Godwin
Ph: 021 705 3906


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