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Issue 261
July/August 2010
Sustaining Life

Web Exclusives
Article

Power Wellies
by
Photograph courtesy: orange

Photograph courtesy: orange

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Power Wellies

Eco-friendly mobile phone charging technologies reach a new level.

Just in time for the festival season, Orange have launched an innovative mobile phone charging prototype in collaboration with renewable energy experts GotWind, that uses a unique ‘power generating sole’ for wellington boots that converts feet heat into an electrical current which can then be used to recharge mobile phones. Orange will be showcasing the Orange Power Wellies at Glastonbury festival in June.

Whilst most festival-goers would prefer to wear flip-flops than wellies, if the weather of the last few years is anything to go by, wellington boots will be de rigueur again this year. However, twelve hours of stomping through the Glastonbury Festival in the Power Wellies will only give you enough power to charge your mobile phone for one hour. To increase the length of time you can charge your phone for, Orange suggest you simply hot step it to the dance tent because the hotter your feet get, the more energy you produce!

The power created by the ‘power generating sole’ is collected via a process known as the ‘Seebeck’ effect. Inside the power generating sole there are thermoelectric modules constructed from semiconductor materials forming a thermocouple. These thermocouples are then sandwiched between two thin ceramic wafers. When the heat from the foot is applied on the top of the ceramic wafer and cold is applied on the opposite side from the cold of the ground, electricity is generated.

Whilst solar-powered mobile-phone chargers have been available for some years, the sun hasn’t always shone at festivals, and so this ‘welectricity’ has been developed as Orange looks for alternative sustainable and eco-friendly mobile phone charging technologies. Of course, there will always be those who feel the whole point of a festival is to forget about the pressures of the outside world, with the only commitment being to rendezvous at Manic Organic for supper – but for parents whose children have gone ‘festival feral’ mobile phones are undoubtedly a great way to keep check on proceedings.

Lorna Howarth is Development Director at Artists Project Earth. www.apeuk.org

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