From Steve Katsaros, the man behind Nokero (which means no kerosene) and its solar-powered LED light bulbs aimed at people in developing countries, comes another lighting innovation. It's called Ed, for education, and it brings together solar, LED and battery technology with the promise of providing rapid charging (one hour of intense sunlight equals up to 1.5 hours of study time) and intense white LED light that is ideal for studying or reading (especially under the covers after lights out!).
Looking like a baby desk lamp whose neck grew faster than its body, the Ed is an excellent way, says inventor Katsaros, to teach children about the value of alternative energy at an affordable price. Ed sells for $3.95 with volume pricing or at $6 through an introductory offer, with the manufacturer’s suggested retail price a moderate $10. This is good news for parents and teachers in the developed world, and even better news to residents of countries like Kenya, Mexico, Rwanda and Pakistan, where the bulk of the population lives without electricity.
Using a back-contact solar photovoltaic technology--the type commonly found in highly demanding applications like those employed during military field maneuvers--and wedding it to a non-gridded frontal exposure of n-type solar material that resists the light degradation common to p-type crystalline silicon solar, Ed is both compact yet powerful, delivering 40 milliamps of charge power and packed in a bubble pack (laminated packaging) to prevent damage.
Ed’s battery is nickel-metal hydride, a rechargeable interface with a more environmentally friendly profile than its cousin, the nickel-cadmium cell. These batteries are not only effective under the high-heat conditions of tropical climates, but have a long shelf life and a very long usable lifetime; measured in years rather than months. And Ed’s LED is specifically designed to work for long periods of time on a very low electrical current. Equally as important, Ed is made up of a single die-cast, UV-resistant part made of sturdy ABS plastic for long life and low cost, and is available through Nokero’s marketing channel, which includes nongovernmental organizations, human rights advocates and both nonprofit and for-profit groups.