Princeton’s Answer To Disaster Relief Power.

Princeton’s shipping container disaster relief wind and solar power generators.

Princeton’s shipping container disaster relief wind and solar power generators.

The prototype system was a winner of an EPA-sponsored sustainable design competition. The entry in the competition was for a “rapidly deployable renewable energy system”. Its primary role to be used in disaster hit areas which lose infrastructure and power.

Princeton’s shipping container disaster relief wind and solar power generators.

Image by Frank Wojciechowski, courtesy of Princeton University

The solar and wind turbine is 40 foot tall and capable of providing 10kW of wind and solar power. Within the container also capable of storing the batteries and mechanical systems required to make the unit functional. There is a hope the unit will actually take off and replace diesel-powered generators in relief camps in disaster zones. Which can often be hazardous due to air pollution, ground pollution and the issue of a constant supply of fuel.

For the contest the shipping container and its equipment were taken on a flatbed truck from Princeton to Washington DC. The unit was erected and tested with the first day seeing no wind but a sunny day allowing good solar energy. While on the second day it was windy and rainy it put its wind turbine into action and was capable of providing power on both days. A grant of $90,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency, will see the project being developed further and the team hope to take the finished model on a tour of Africa.

The contest has highlighted the need for new solutions and developments and seen students from 165 academic institutions submit proposals to the competition. 15 of those were given awards for pursuing sustainable design solutions to issues ranging from erosion control to a seeking out a biodegradable alternative to plastics.

For me I support a lot of these ideas but things do come back to some basic issues, a lot of disaster areas and problems are preventable. Haiti seems to be a big favourite in U.S. circles to mention for aid yet has anyone even started looking at common sense things like reforestation? Land can protect itself but it needs people to stop destroying it.

Shipping container office – IDS 09:BSQ. Design Studios

As space becomes expensive and the way property and land got expensive before the slump although going to climb again at some point it does make sense to maximise your working environment especially when most business rates taxes are based on size of the place your using. Having a small carbon footprint as well as a small land foot print will help keep costs down and your business more viable.

In this case a single unit that is not only small and practical but also off grid. Its power generation comes from solar and boasts a roof deck as well as a green roof space. On the inside recycled materials add a flair of design and colour to the building and I can see this being very practical for many people especially those working at home who just want a unit at the bottom of the garden 9 – 5.shipping container office - IDS 09:BSQ Design studios shipping container office - IDS 09:BSQ Design studios

credit: Harry Wakefield of Mocoloco