The ENGO charging station uses kinetic tiles and solar panels to charge up to 14 smartphones at a time, and provides free WiFi access and an emergency phone.
It's been interesting to watch the different approaches used by companies developing clean energy charging stations, especially those working on public mobile device chargers, as each business tries to figure out both the financial and the practical aspects of what's fast becoming an important part of our infrastructure - access to power for our gadgets.
A new contender has hit the streets (or sidewalks, as it were), with an installation of an ENGO Public Charging Station at Webster University in St. Louis, MO, which uses a combination of kinetic tiles (to harvest energy from footsteps) and solar panels to recharge up to 14 mobile devices at a time.
The ENGO station, from Volta Group, includes 10 charging cables (to fit most models of phones and tablets), two USB charge ports, and two wireless charging pads for compatible devices. The model installed on the university's main campus, at the East Academic Building, will provide free charging for students, faculty, and staff, as well as supply a WiFi access point and an emergency phone that connects directly to the university's Public Safety department.
The purpose of the station, beyond providing free power for recharging, is to raise awareness of renewable energy and energy efficiency by serving as an educational tool.
"Energy efficiency is a key step to reducing negative impact on climate change. The EnGo Charging Station provides free recharging and also serves as an educational tool with the main goal to motivate people to become more aware how their actions affect the planet, while also increasing their awareness about importance of using renewable energy sources. We cannot hope to create a sustainable culture with any but sustainable-oriented people." - Petar Mirovic, CEO of Volta Group
The Volta Group makes a portable version of the charging station, which folds up into a small unit on wheels for transport, and which includes both the solar panels and the kinetic tiles. The company is also developing solar street lights, which can operate without a grid connection and provide clean sustainable power for communities and municipalities. For more info, see the Volta Group website.