Inventor lights up his village with battery-powered generator By EVERLINE OKEWO | Thursday, November 15 2012 at 10:04
The high cost of electricity has been a nightmare to many Kenyans, especially those living in urban centres. But one man, determined to see Kenyans spend less on lighting, has invented a battery-powered generator.
“The idea came to my mind when I was repairing a customer’s motorbike. I realised that there were some valuable parts that could be used to generate electricity,” says Mr Michael Oware.
Mr Oware’s aim is to make the dream of affordable electricity a reality to as many homes as possible.
“The cost of applying and installing electricity is still out of the reach of many Kenyans, power connection beyond major towns is a key pillar to the realisation of Vision 2030, the country’s economic blue print,” says the 37-year-old resident of Nanga village, Kisumu County.
His generator uses electricity stored in a solar battery to provide alternative energy.
“The machine works in various stages. First the coil produces a current that charges the step-up transformer — a secondary voltage that is greater than primary voltage made up of two or more coils of insulated wire — such that when a voltage is applied to one coil (primary input) it magnetises the iron core, which induces a voltage in the other coil (secondary output) to produce current through the machine,” he notes.
He says his machine has a self-regulating mechanism of about 240 volts that stops the engine at regular intervals to prevent overheating.
Unlike ordinary generators that rely on fuel, say, petrol, his machine is powered by a solar battery.
The father-of-three says his work has enabled him to save his village the agony of expensive electricity since the generator caters for many domestic purposes including phone charging, lighting, and cooking.
Many businesses and a growing number of home-based handymen are turning to his generator because it meets most of their power requirements.
“We appreciate Mr Oware for his innovative idea since he has transformed this village into a palace,” says Mr Okoth, who runs a cyber café using the generator.
Mr Oware charges the residents $2.5 to hook them to his power source. Some 18 homes in Nanga village are now connected.
Mr Okoth adds that many children are learning computer skills in the village, saving them the trouble of moving to other areas because of electricity.
He says that he only spent $140 to come up with the functioning battery-powered generator and while he is yet to roll out industrial production due to lack of finances, the retail price of one generator is $240.
Apart from the improvised battery-powered generator, he has also designed a wind turbine which he claims generates even more electric power when connected to the generator.
“The blades are connected to a drive shaft that turns a generator to produce electricity,” he says.
The biggest benefit of the windmills is that it uses a free source of energy — the wind – to make more power.
Mr Oware says that bigger and more efficient turbines can generate 3.6 megawatts each and one megawatt can light about 300 or more homes.