posted by Ruth Wharton on 02 July 2012
A group of Serbian university students has created the world's first public solar-powered mobile phone charger. It led to the team winning a prestigious European Union prize for their efforts.
For quick introduction to the main project 'Strawberry Tree' you can watch a 2 minute BBC report here.
Currently, there are 3 Strawberry Trees installed in Serbia (in Belgrade, Novi Sad and Obrenovac) and after 6 months of operation they have attracted over 100,000 users. 14 more trees will be planted in Serbia before the end of the year and the company, Strawberry Energy, is in the final stages of negotiations with several EU countries (Austria, Germany, Italy, Slovakia, Czech Republic) and a few others (Qatar, South Africa, Turkey, Nigeria...).
Maybe one day we'll see them here in the UK...?
Strawberry Energy's CEO provided us a guest blog to tell us more about the project:
"In modern times, when we are surrounded with the hustle and bustle of city life and constant technological innovations, individuals are becoming addicted to their gadgets which slowly start to dictate the rhythm of their lives. Today there are more than five billion mobile phones in the world which shows that people have a constant need to be in touch with others around them and the small battery power of these devices can often make this communication difficult.
The energy that is used to power these devices today is mainly derived from “dirty” sources of energy which have a negative impact on our environment. The only logical solution to this problem is to use renewable energy sources.
Our company, 'Strawberry Energy' has developed the world's first public solar powered charger for mobile devices. 'Strawberry Tree' has emerged as the answer to these two needs; the need for fully charged battery when we are far from home and the need to raise awareness about importance of using renewable energy sources.
The Strawberry Tree contains built-in solar panels, which capture the sun's energy and enable it to be transformed into electrical energy. This energy is then stored enabling it to function during night hours and when the weather is bad. This solar station is permanently installed in busy public places, such as streets, parks and squares, and therefore it brings renewable energy closer to every individual in practical way.
While charging their batteries, users are recognising the benefits of clean energy and becoming familiar with this issue. This is the main goal of Strawberry Energy is to educate people about renewable energy sources. A big step forward in reaching this goal was the development of an educational android application that is installed in the company’s new product Strawberry Mini, a small portable solar charger. Thanks to this application everyone is given the chance to learn more about renewable energy through interactive quizzes, games and interesting facts.
Renewable energy sources are most definitely our future and we have to direct our actions towards their development and implementation in our everyday lives. When renewable energy examples are within every person’s reach, rather than being used remotely from the city, there is an even greater chance that they will become an integral part of our lives, and they won’t be seen as an abstract issue anymore. This could trigger new ideas and give rise to new ways of using renewable energy and dealing with people’s diverse needs and problems that could make our lives easier."
More information about Strawberry Energy and their products can be found on their website at Senergy.
2012 United Sustainable Energy Agency. A not for profit company. Incorporated as a Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England No. 3553525.