Solar power is so last week. Wind power is the new portable power choice of the eco gadget fan, especially those that live in the UK – after all, we enjoy persistent gales more frequently than we enjoy extended periods of decent sunlight. However, short of erecting a 200ft turbine and dealing with the hideous complexities of tapping in to the power that it produces there was no genuine and affordable solution.
For marginally less than £40 you can get what looks like an adapted handheld fan that is, in fact (you might have guessed by now) a personal wind power charger. It charges when it reaches speeds of 9mph and remains active up to speeds of 40mph, although it will cut out at this point. Blowing and extracting other personal gaseous solutions won’t work, and you’ll have to drive around real slowly with it hanging out of the window of your car to charge it that way (we’re not sure about strapping it to the internal fan, that may not produce enough gust).
A 20 minute charge will give you 30 minute iPod time or 4 minutes of mobile natter time. It will charge a huge range of mobile phones and mp3 players. A separate bike attachment enables you to fit it to your bike so you can charge your iPod, while listening to it (you do, after all, get a positive return for doing so) during your weekly country bike ride.
Non fossil fuel power may be difficult and costly to implement in your own home – solar PV panels for the roof and garden turbines (if you’re even allowed them, which is unlikely depending on where you live and the size of the turbine) cost a small fortune and take years to become cost efficient. However, their gadget charging relatives are a genuinely viable tool and they don’t cost the earth any more (literally or metaphorically speaking). Next up is the pocket bio-fuel generator that runs on… nastiness.