11 November 2008 – A New York based company which designs and manufactures electricity generation equipment, has designed playground equipment fitted with hears and alternators which, when activated, will generate electricity.  The equipment, which will be placed in children’s playgrounds, will harness the energy of the children playing, turning the playground equipment into ‘mini’ power plants.

Spinning on the merry-go-round could, through its spinning motion, send power to an alternator directly to a sump pump, which will then push water through underground pipes into a holding tank from where it can be used to drinking, sanitation or irrigation purposes.

The ‘kid made’ energy will be stored in cells.  Backup solar generation provides energy for interior and exterior lighting.

The children can,  “if they run fast enough get the (generator) lights to flash. It gives them a visual reward,” says John Mason of Saber Tech, the company responsible for the innovation.

The technology is already being used in some private schools in the US, and projects are being planned for India, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and possibly Afghanistan.

A project which is meant for a school in Tanzania has the potential to change the lives of 600+ children.  Students at the Sinai School have to walk two miles a day to get clean drinking water and attend school in classrooms without any lights.  The playground system could, once it is installed, generate enough power to pump clean drinking water to the school and store electricity to power the classrooms.

“They haven’t got running water at the school,” says Clive Shiret of relief organisation, the Livingstone Tanzania Trust. “They haven’t got any sanitary facilities. So this will enable us to do some great work with making the whole place more hygienic and basically extending the kids’ lives.”