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‘Power-Blox’ could provide clean energy to rural areas by 2030

They may look like giant LEGO bricks, but these ‘Power-Blox’ energy cubes provide portable electricity via solar panels. It’s hoped that they’ll be used to provide power to the world’s poorest regions.

What if your regular LEGO brick could do more than just serve as a potential safety hazard for your feet?

That’s the thinking behind ‘Power-Blox’, the energy cube that stores electricity via the power of the sun. Co-founder Alessandro Medici spoke to Euronews Green recently about his invention, citing the movement of fish – separating, regrouping, and flowing freely – as a major inspiration.

Each Power-Blox holds energy via batteries powered by solar panels. One box on its own can almost provide all power for a single home, but multiple units can easily be attached to one another to generate larger amounts of electricity.

Think of it as a flexible grid system that can be easily implemented into rural areas without the need for complex infrastructure. Power-Blox is a Swiss company and since 2018 it has provided over 2000 power blocks to roughly twenty countries.

It says an even more powerful version of the original cube is on the way, too, which is great news for the 13% of people globally who still don’t have access to electricity.

The UN’s sustainability development goals were at the forefront of the Power-Blox’s development, and remain a large driving force in its distribution. It’s hoped that by 2030, 100% of the global population will have access to affordable and clean energy. Small, transportable energy cubes such as Power-Blox provide the potential for this to become a reality.

The units can run on more than just solar energy, too. There are wind and hydro versions too, and each supply can easily be expanded by bolting more units onto one another – yes, just like LEGO.

So, are there any challenges with off-grid energy like Power-Blox? The largest obstacle currently is funding.

Until there is more widespread and mainstream interest in providing novel energy supplies via independent companies, it’ll be difficult to expand initiatives such as Power-Blox on a truly international scale.

For now, it’s managed to power huts in Switzerland, provide electricity on the island of Lelepa, and even helped Ugandan refugee settlements. The potential is there – the money just needs to continue pouring in.

We’ll need these kind of programmes and inventions to become more mainstream and well understood as we continue to see climate change impact rural areas. Want more information on Power-Blox? Check out its official website here.

 

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