Solar-powered portable Buffalo Grid mobile phone charging unit debuts in Uganda
Mobile phones have been a major technological revolution in the last couple of decades as it has in fact brought the world at your feet. But what if you have a mobile phone but not the electricity to charge it up? Then it is no more than a piece of fancy gadget that is useless. This is a problem that people in remote locations of the world face every day as access to electricity is not that easy as we are accustomed to in the urban jungles. To get over this problem Buffalo Grid has initiated a new project in Uganda which looks to solve the problem of mobile phone charging for over 650 million off-grid mobile phone users who are unable to use it due to lack of charging options.
Buffalo Grid has made a portable 60-watt solar powered panel that charges a battery which can further charge 30-50 mobile phones in one day via the 10 charging points. On one full charge Buffalo Grid can work for 3 days while charging each phone for 1.5 hours in one go. To charge the phone, user has to send a text message costing 110 shillings and the LED light above the battery lights up which is an indication of the device being ready for charge.
The solar power collected by device is extracted by Buffalo Grid mobile phone charger using maximum power point tracking (MPPT) technique which analyses the environmental conditions (temperature, light and resistance of circuit connected) to adjust the power dissipation for output to charge the mobile phone optimally. Buffalo Grid is portable enough to carry on the back of a bicycle and is a good idea to provide charging for mobile phones that have no other source of juicing up due to geographic or economic condition limitations.
Buffalo Grid mobile phone charger is looking to bring the cost down so that they can bring in the network operators to streamline this whole initiative with maximum benefit for the end users.