Our Vision and Summary of Invention: (August 2014)
Charger Potential invented a connected set of classroom desks in a 2-desk by 5-desk arrangement. The G.R I D. System (Green Renewable Current Desk) turns nervous energy of students into electricity. While sitting at their desks, students operate the treadle with their foot, spinning a flywheel that turns a generator. The energy created at each desk then flows through an electrical harness that charges a nine volt absorbed glass mat battery. The electricity created can be used to power classroom tools, such as LED lights and tablet chargers. The dual system of two adjacent flywheels allows one or two students to pedal at a time. The alpha prototype of one dual system cost $1,100 to fabricate. As price reductions of inputs are researched, the goal price for a set of twenty desks (ten dual systems) is $5,000. Charger Potential is working with The Foundation for Tomorrow, and the first G. R. I D. System will be donated to the Kisimiri Secondary School in Tanzania.
We are in the midst of finalizing a device to provide electricity to classrooms that would not otherwise have access to this valuable resource. This device needs to produce a significant amount of stored kilowatt hours during an average school day: enough for at least twenty students to study or learn for about two hours. Furthermore, we would like the device to become a learning tool for students in these classrooms by providing them with lesson plans based on the engineering and electrical principles of the device. Along with this, we will give the school a manual with troubleshooting advice in the event of a technical or mechanical malfunction. This aspect will also provide students with the knowledge of how the device works as well as how to build and fix it.
Updated Idea (February 2014)
After meeting with engineers at NC State University, we have changed our design to a "dual system." We use this term to refer to two flywheels and two sets of pedals sharing one steel frame and one generator. Two students will pedal at each dual system, reducing the amount of effort required from each student, as both wheels work to turn the same generator.
The Evolution of the Dual System:
|Two flywheels pushed together|
|Two flywheels on one frame|
|Two flywheels on a smaller frame|
Original Idea (August 2013)
Charger Potential will devise and build a connected classroom set of desks in a 2-desk by 3-desk grid arrangement called the G.R.I D. System that can produce energy for buildings that lack electricity (such as those in developing areas like Red Hill, South Africa and Arusha, Tanzania). While students are sitting in a classroom, they will be able to operate pedals with their feet that will spin a wheel, turn a generator, and create accessible energy that can be used to power lights or other electrical units found in a classroom environment. Each desk will have two wires (covered by cable protectors) that will connect it in parallel to the other desks. Additionally, each desk will have their own generator and diode creating and controlling the direction of electrical current. The energy that students produce with the pedals will flow from the generator to a voltage regulator, voltage booster, and into an absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery. This battery could potentially power LED lights, a small refrigerator, a projector, or even a water sterilizer for schools in developing countries. Additionally, the desks could be implemented into the schools of developed nations to minimize the reliance on nonrenewable energy. Charger Potential would like to gift the created G.R.ID. System to the Kisimiri Secondary School in Arusha, Tanzania, with the help of The Foundation for Tomorrow.