Three friends they had to deliver a group work for college, something common in the life of any student. That day, the cell phone and notebook, precious tools of our time, agreed to play a very trick on them: the batteries ran out, they could not load them and therefore, they could not rescue the work to deliver it on time, even though they had it ready. The frustration and anger towards technology that we have all had, turned it into motivation to create a unique solution in the world, which could revolutionize access to electricity.
Carolina Guerrero, Camila Rupcich and Evelyn Aravena decided that they needed some way to charge their electronic devices from a source other than the electrical network, and after several investigations, they found it right under their noses: plants. This is how they designed E-Kaia, a charger for cell phones, tablets and other USB devices that is "plugged in" to plants.
Yes, as it sounds, because this portable and lightweight device takes advantage of photosynthesis and takes residual plant energy to convert it into electrical energy, as explained in Electric Companies A.G.
E-Kaia is unique in the world and remarkably efficient, since with just a well-kept plant, get enough energy to charge a cell phone, while other devices need at least 100m2 of plants. This, thanks to the fact that it creates an underground circuit, which generates 5 volts and 600 milliamps, all this sin damaging the plant. The details of the technology are secret, as it is still processing its patent, but it has already obtained funds from important innovation competitions that confirm that it works.
Contrary to suspicions, its charging capacity is quite fast if we compare it with conventional electricity, since just in an hour and a half you can leave our cell phone fully charged. You can also charge any other device like players, speakers, and tablets.
In this way, not only does it solve a problem that we have all had: running out of cell phone batteries (and always in emergencies), but it also opens a door to the use of natural resources in technology, maintaining energy quality and preserving the environment. ambient.
Vegetable light: beyond a cell phone
E-Kaia has meant 6 years of work by these three engineers until today and the proposal has been awarded by outstanding awards like Jump UC with the support of CORFO and the 2014 Avonni National Innovation Award for its innovation and high impact solution.
Guererro, Rupcich and Aravena have thought about how to make their creation a massive product that can be purchased in stores, but they are projecting themselves beyond that.
They have been working for more than a year "for provide even more energy, since the initial prototype is for low-consumption devices, such as cell phones, LEDs, a desk lamp or a fan. About the design, the idea is make it more beautiful, to make it marketable, also make it portable and resistant, so that it can be used without restriction. The good news is that there is nothing similar in the world, so it has a lot to grow and help without damaging the environment, "says Evelyn.
E-Kaia Not only does it bail out those who don't have a plug at hand, but it also It could be a massive solution for areas that have limited access to energy. And beyond chargers, it could be a technology that transforms plants into a permanent source of electricity, offering electric light for emergencies or to illuminate rooms.
Today E-Kaia technology can be used without problems to turn on a small LED light and illuminate a room, allowing to replace candles or battery lights in cases of emergency or for basic lighting needs.
"Chile is a country in constant need of energy due to natural problems, so from that point of view, we are also a good solution," says Carolina. He also tells us that they are investigating how to obtain more energy from vegetables and seeing if it is possible to create a more powerful device.
Another project in mind is to design self-sustaining public squares. Work in conjunction with a municipality to illuminate from the same plants that are in the place, a job that is a good for the people and that is also sustainable and takes care of the environment.
The scope of this technology has great potential and that is why these engineers are currently working on massification by E-Kaia.They have not yet been able to calculate the selling cost of the charger, since they are investigating new materials that meet the requirements and are cheaper, since the first device had a value of around 350 thousand pesos.
Already found processing the patent in Chile and this 2015 they are working thanks to the financing of CORFO. They are also in contact with a consultant to attract investors and other financial support that allow to take this technology to the big leagues.