Blue Freedom may sound like a comic book name, but it’s actually one of the most interesting eco-tech projects on Kickstarter, a mini hydropower generator designed to be used just about anywhere there’s running water.
The principles of hydroelectricity are pretty simple: Use the force of moving water to turn a turbine. Make sure that turbine movement generates electricity that can be stored, and then use it or store it in batteries and capacitors for later use. The team behind Blue Freedom just scaled the whole idea down – very down.
The result is a hydropower plant that you can hold in one hand, a friendly-looking, disc-like device with a large fan-based turbine installed in the center. Put it in running water, such as a river or stream, and it will store a charge – apparently, just one hour in a current can create a 10-hour battery charge for common mobile devices like smartphones. It uses an USB port for charging, and is designed to work for common, useful items like MP3 players, GPS units, LED maps, electric razors, and even small camping fridges.
Blue Freedom is marketed primarily as an eco-friendly addition to your camping pack. Of course, you have to go camping and hiking on routes that actually include easily accessible running water, which may be a problem in some locations. But if there’s a river near, you don’t need to worry about carrying along extra batteries or bulkier fuel-based generators.
If it sounds like a winning product to you, you can help the four founders reach their $100,000 pledge goal by joining in. Apparently the hydropower device will cost $319 when it first launches in October 2015, but you can one for nearly half that if you pledge enough (around $179).