Part 3: Other Non-Gas Portable Power Alternatives

We have written about some interesting portable power generating options available by plugging into the sun or from pedaling a stationary bicycle. We now look at some of the other options that might be considered “a little farther out there.” This list includes a portable wind generator and a hydro-powered backpack.

Found at Alternative Energy is the Rose Wind Turbine (photo at left). As the article points out, “The one knock on wind energy is that it is not portable. That is changing quick as there are several “back-pack” style devices that are on the market.”

This portable device looks small enough to be moved around. According to the article, the design is based on the shape of a rose, but unlike other wind devices, this one is quiet. “It is perfect for camping trips, to keep outdoor lights glowing or even to provide a power source for a radio or television out in the back yard.”

Elsewhere, hydroelectric power specialist Bourne Energy has produced a hydroelectric generator that draws power from any stream deeper than four feet. Called the Backpack Power Plant (photo at left) (BPP),  this device brings “cheap, practical energy technology to remote areas,” writes Alternative Energy.

Bourne Energy markets two versions of the BPP, once for civilians and the other for the military. The devices were recently shown at the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco. Both measure three feet in length and weigh less than 30 pounds, though the military version is 10% lighter. Both are self-contained with their own integrated power, control, cooling and sensor systems. They collapse into a backpack-sized module comprising three parts; the generator, hub and folded stored blades.

Both units can be arranged singularly or in arrays of 20-30 kW. The BPP-2 however operates silently with no heat or exhaust emissions, is 40% less visible during operation and can also be bottom-mounted to ensure total invisibility if required.

In its review, Giz Mag writes that the system can be quickly installed using a submerged horizontal high tension mooring system: two trenches are dug on opposite sides of a river and a lightweight anchor inserted into each bank. A synthetic rope is run between the anchors and the BPP unit.

The unit sells for $3,000. Not too bad a price, if four feet of running water is available.

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