5 Dec 2011

Quake inspires schoolboys to develop emergency generator

6:57 am on 5 December 2011

The terror of being trapped in the dark after a major earthquake prompted a group of Christchurch schoolboys to produce a sustainable energy based emergency power generator.

The idea has become a commercial reality, and has been picked up by retailers Kathmandu and Mitre 10.

Sam Mackwell came up the idea which led six St Thomas of Canterbury College Students to form the firm, Advanced Clean Energies.

It developed and made what's called the Lion Emergency Power Generator, which uses waste heat from boiling water to power cell phones and charge batteries.

Sam, who's the firm's production design director, says they did a lot of work refining the product at his home during the time off school following the quakes.

He says they wanted the product to help people through natural disasters and they also wanted the product to be beneficial to developing countries.

While it started as an emergency product for quake victims, James Agnew says it can be useful to trampers and campers, and an affordable option for people in Africa.

Advanced Clean Energies is already making a small profit, which it will plough back into the business.