What defines an entrepreneur is their ability to see and seize opportunity. For one local company comprised of MUN Alumni, they didn’t have to look very far for inspiration. While most of us complain about the wind in Newfoundland, these guys decided to make a profit off of it.
Likewise, when it comes to making a living off the sea around us, Newfoundlanders have been at it for centuries. But no one has dipped into the bounties of the Atlantic quite like brains behind Seaformatics Systems Inc.
They’re now taking pre-orders for their “Water Lilly” device. It can power electronics with the power of wind and water. This is an amazing feat that goes hand in hand with Newfoundland’s booming tourism and outdoor adventure sector, as well as the hiking, camping, and outdoor research so many locals spend their time at. It’s also great news for recluses with cabins and getaways off the grid.
The Water Lilly can charge any USB powered device, most notably, your phone. It’s basically a little turbine that you place in a river, some ocean waves, or a gusting wind, and it spins, generating green electricity.
Who needs batteries in a world booming with potential energy? It’s a particularly neat device for kayakers, or any kind of boating, as you can just drag the Water Lilly behind you as you go. No need stopping for a charge up.
If, by now, you’re being a bummer and thinking, “Yeah, well, what about if there’s no wind that day or no river in sight!” Well, naturally, they thought of that. You can handcrank this thing too. It’s compact enough to throw into your backpack, and only weighs 1.3 KGs. No more lugging round a big ol’ generator.
The pre-orders are currently offering $40 off, so that’s $149 + tax. You can buy their other product for a mere $19 — the Water Lilly Handcrank (with no wind or water turbine capability). Naturally, the force of the wind or water will affect how quickly you can charge up. For a full charge on a phone in a 36 KM/HR wind, you’d wait 2.5 hours.
They’re just getting started with their product line; there’s plans for things like batteries in watercraft and RVs too, as well as ocean-going sensing systems. The technology fuelling their company’s products was developed at Memorial University over the course of roughly 10 years, and enjoyed funding from a variety of sources that saw its potential, like ACOA’s Innovation Fund, and Springboard Atlantic’s Innovation Mobilization Program.
The team behind Seaformatics Systems is Robert Boyd, Geoff Holden, Adam Press, and Andrew Cook. They launched their first products this spring, and already, they have clients in 18 countries and over 10 million views of content they circulated on Facebook. Cheers to them. This is one hydro-electric project out of Newfoundland & Labrador no one’s complaining about anyway.
Why is this better than a solar power source? You give up the ability to use your phone all night but you wouldn’t be out in the boondocks if you need a phone that much.