Those of us who can plug directly into the grid likely don't think much about where our power comes from, but for people living in remote regions of the world or militaries operating far from the nearest three-prong outlet, being able to pack power with you is a priority. With that in mind, California-based Bourne Energy has devised a hydroelectric generator that breaks down to backpack size, making green energy as portable as any standard rucksack.
The BackPack Power Plant collapses into a package only 3 feet long and weighing only 30 pounds, packing power, control, cooling and sensor systems into a cylindrical, fairly lightweight package that slings over the shoulder. When deployed, the rotor blades unfold from the hub, creating a portable electricity source that generates up to 500 watts in optimal conditions (in an ideal spot, the water would be at least four feet deep with a current moving at about 8 feet per second).
To deploy, the user simply digs a trench on either side of the stream, placing a light anchor in each one – a system designed after the mooring systems used on offshore oil rigs. A rope is slung across the stream from which the unfolded BackPack unit hangs into the stream. The unit can be deployed virtually anywhere water runs downhill in significant volumes.
A second, military version of the device weighs less than 25 pounds, can generate 600 watts, and can be bottom mounted to a riverbed so the whole unit is concealed beneath the water. Both military and civilian units can be set up in arrays; the civilian version can put out a full 30 kilowatts when deployed in an array of multiple generators, the military version 20 kilowatts.
The Achilles heel of the BackPack Power Plant: cost. At $3,000 for the civilian version (if history is any indicator, the military rig costs more), it won't be easy to get them into the hands of those that really need them in underdeveloped parts of the world. But pound for pound, the units put out more power than other portable renewable tech like solar cells and could allow populations that have made it this far without hooking into a conventional power grid to remain unplugged.
Where/when can I buy this?
How useful would that be in the desert? Where water is often a luxury.
reminds me of inerialess drive technologies (genny), that invented by kiwi, to run on water,gas,steam or air pressure; except it didn't have 3 foot rotor to get in the way; or need you to dig rather large trench in waterway for rotor;
ken was about 15yrs ahead of the curve,as far as public perception & requirements or enviromental issues;
there was a number of sizes of (genny)micro generator,from small device capable of running 12volt systems to larger scale power station devices;
not sure what happened to company; as i say,was ahead of his time;
Could we not get some pictures or video of this thing fully assembled? Hard to grasp the concept when all you see is the plain box(or tube) the thing comes in. If the blades are exposed(like a wind turbine being held underwater) are they rugged enough to sustain impact from branches, logs, fish, and other objects that float down stream and might snarl the gear?
One other thing, Omaracoustic, go solar if you are in the desert SA.
JimmyD: Could you be bothered to click through to the link provided for "Bourne Energy" ?
It amazes me how people comment and ask for more info on these short articles, when they usually provide a link or two at the bottom of the article for more information...
BSTUR1: Did you bother to click the link yourself? It's a nifty site with other turbine concepts but there are no other details or photos on this device. You would assume that Popsci is actually in contact and doing information gathering here and not just reposting content.
Now don't you feel like an idiot?
JD: Yes I did (and usually do click through when a link is provided) and understand very well from the information at Bourne's site the answers to your questions.
No I don't feel like an idiot (apparently you might), because actually there were pictures of other models there and one could very well understand how it looks and works on the smaller scale.
I was just commenting that a lot of people ask foolish questions in Pop Sci's comments that could be figured out if the commenter clicked through to the provided links.
Pop Sci and many other websites, just do re-post the content from the sources they link to - for these short introduction to new technology articles. You haven't noticed that yet? If this was an in depth report of the company and/or technology, then I would expect them to be in contact, but these short articles are generally reposts or reworked information from the provided links.
You should have asked Bourne Energy for more pics and videos, since Pop Sci wouldn't have any that weren't on Bourne's web site.
You were being confrontational and not constructive. Yes many people ask questions on these forums that they could answer themselves with a little research. Common courtesy, you should try to be helpful or ignore them, but you should not attack them.