Merry-Go-Round Generates Electricity for School Kids in Ghana

This school in Ghana is off the electrical grid, so engineering students at Brigham Young University built a generator for it. As children spin on the merry-go-round, they charge batteries inside. Ben Markham, a missionary working in Ghana, explained the project in a BYU press release:

When he approached BYU about the project, Markham challenged BYU students to engineer a device that could generate power but would be fun, not work, for the children. To make it fun to ride, the students used a gearbox to multiply the rotation speed and incorporated circuitry to limit the amount of energy extracted from the system.

“The spinning is converted through a gearbox. The gearbox takes their rotation and multiplies it by 35, which then spins the generator and the generator is what converts that energy into electrical energy,” says BYU technology student Ben Drewry.

“So we’ve tried to balance fun, and getting an interesting amount of power from the device,” says Markham.

The power generated by the merry-go-round is stored in a car battery that recharges several dozen portable LED lights that can be used in classrooms and homes. Many families have little or no lighting in the evenings, relying on kerosene lamps, candles, or open flame “bobo” lights. Markham hopes that better lighting at home will lead to greater literacy and productivity for children and their families.

Link -via Marilyn Terrell

(Photos: Brigham Young University)


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