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ASK A TECH GEEK: How Can I Charge My Gadgets With Renewable Energy?
QUESTION: Is there a device to recharge all my gadgets using renewable energy?- submitted by Denis Caissy
PETER ROJAS: Yes, there are actually a handful of different options out there, most of which won't just let you tap into a renewable resource like wind or the sun to charge your gadgets, they'll also help you keep topped up while on the go. Just keep in mind that it can take a long time to charge gadgets this way. Prices and portability vary, but here are a few of your choices:
If you’re on the hunt for an all-in-one charging solution with enough juice to power a laptop, then look no further than the Voltaic Generator Bag. This durable waterproof case is emblazoned with a 15-watt solar panel that can produce a peak output of 20 volts. A single hour of solar exposure will yield between 12 and 45 minutes of laptop runtime (depending on your computer), and the built-in battery pack will be fully charged after 5 hours in the sun.
The problem with portable solar chargers is that they need to be exposed to the sun in order to work – which makes generating electricity on-the-go a challenge. Enter the nPower PEG – a kinetic energy generator that harvests energy from your movements as you go from place to place. Simply drop the nPower PEG into a backpack or satchel and then go on a hike, a run, or ride your bike – the device will convert your energy into electricity that can be used to charge your cell phone, MP3 player, or camera.
Why settle for solar or wind power when you can have them both at the same time? That’s the idea behind the K3 Charge – a portable power source that taps the sun’s rays and the prevailing winds to give your gadgets a jolt of juice. Whether you’re off the beaten path or just hanging out in your backyard, it’s perfect for powering MP3 players, cameras, GPS units, or cell phones.
If you’re looking for a flexible solution to generating renewable energy, the rollable Powerfilm Solar Array has you covered. This lightweight photovoltaic panel packs down to a compact parcel that can be unfurled at a whim to maximize solar exposure. A 5-watt, 5.4 volt array of monolithically integrated thin film panels provites the perfect amount of juice for charging practically any handheld gadget – from phones and game systems to cameras and MP3 players.
If you happen to be a bike-rider and you want to get the most clean energy for your buck then consider investing in a pedal-powered bicycle generator. This robust system harvests energy from pedaling your bicycle to generate a serious amount of wattage – you can produce enough energy to power a desktop computer, a mini microwave, a blender, or even a PA system!
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