Because the Le1 is a fully functioning charge controller, all students need to do is hook up a power supply and they can charge their phones and light their homes.
But every home is different and every area has different resources, so someone’s electricity will also come from different sources.
This is why we design the Le1 to allow students to create new ways of generating electricity. Because it can accept a wide range of different voltages it can be powered by solar panels of many different sizes as well as scrap motors.
All motors are also generators and they can be used to produce electricity. All you have to do is find a way to turn the motor/generator and you can charge phones and light homes.
Solar panels are an amazing technology so many will just stick them. They are pretty cheap, easy to come by and last a long time. They key part is being able to convert this energy into a useful form and it is at this conversion stage that many systems break. In our course we’ll be focusing on powering phones and lights via USB but students may want to power other things like laptops or televisions and we show them how to do this. By giving students the knowledge to build their own systems we are also giving them the skills to fix them, meaning systems produced by our students will be more sustainable as they will know best how to maintain them.
Managing the use of your power when it is based on intermittent sources is a big challenge. Students will be given the skills they need to monitor their usage using microcontrollers. This gives them the tools they need to develop larger systems which can connect entire communities together or to gain a deep understanding of how these energy system work and behave.
When sources are intermittent storage also becomes more important. A simple mid-sized power bank will store enough to power 4 hours of light and 1 mobile phone charge.
As students need more power we will support them in building bigger more robust energy storage systems.
We teach these elements through our programme giving young people a springboard for new innovation. Equipped with this knowledge students now have a strong foundation on which they can build the energy systems of the future.