Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Crowdfunding Sustainable Energy Through The Power of Music.

Can the vast amount of energy generated from musical performances on some of the biggest stages be harnessed and used to create a sustainable form of electricity? This was the question asked by Sudha Kheterpal, percussionist with the world famous South London band Faithless The question led to the development of SPARK  a percussion instrument that converts energy into electricity. Leading the call the to "Shake Your Power" Sudha is looking to develop a full prototype to be distributed to countries with little or no sustainable power and has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help make this happen. The campaign, which went live on 10th June 2014, is looking to raise £50,000 in 30 days.

Sudha Kheterpal has spent over 20 years as a percussionist, 15 of those years with the band Faithless, playing to packed out arenas all over the world. During that time, she has often wondered if the immense power and energy generated during those performances could be harnessed and put to good use. Sudha carried out extensive research into kinetic energy, which in physics refers to the energy built up through acceleration, or the energy of motion. Kinetic energy is maintained until there is a change in speed. Using this as a starting point Sudha then researched the various harnessing techniques to determine which was the best way to build and maintain kinetic energy and how that would transform into sustainable power. Working with designers and engineers, Sudha developed the first prototype for a musical instrument for harnessing that kinetic energy. 

SPARK is a percussion instrument, a prototype shaker that converts the energy from shaking into electricity. The device contains a magnet which moves through the centre of a copper coil, or solenoid. This induces a current of electricity and as the magnet slides through the coil repeatedly back and forth, it charges up a rechargeable battery. The energy produced by SPARK is then stored allowing it to be used at any point of the day or night.  It also has a USB port that will enable the user to plug in a light or charge up a mobile phone instantly or at a later time. If shaken for 12 minutes SPARK can produce and store enough energy to provide light for one hour. The initial prototypes were tested in parts of Kenya with little or no form of sustainable electricity and have proven successful in providing safe lighting through some of the more dangerous areas, particular for women and girls where rape is prevalent. They have also provided vital means for charging mobile phones to maintain important communications in rural areas for contact with family as well as obtaining essential medical, retail, and banking services.

The funds raised through Kickstarter will be used to develop the prototype into a finished product, manufacture and distribution, and development of assembly kits to enable users to build their own SPARK. In return, donors will receive a variety of rewards including personal acknowledgements, limited edition merchandise, invitation to an intimate performance by Faithless, percussion masterclass with Sudha and of course their very own SPARK prototype. The need for alternative renewable energy sources remains a vital one in the light of alarming increasing in the effects of climate change and SPARK provides yet another means to provide essential energy that is good for the people and the planet. Beyond that it can provide a greater sense of interdependence and uniting of people and communities, and connect people through the universal and uplifting power of music. Click here for more information and to make a donation.

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