If you don’t subscribe to 10:10’s #itshappening newsletter, then you’re missing out on the most inspiring climate change email of the week (Carbon Brief and Chris Goodall’s Carbon Commentary being the other two must-reads in my top three). Here’s something from the last email that I wanted to share – a brilliant hybrid street light from Malaysia.
First of all, it’s a wind-solar hybrid. It has solar panels and a vertical axis wind turbine at the top, so it’ll work in sunny or stormy weather. Wind speeds can be too low for micro-wind in urban environments, so it uses an innovative omni directional guide vane to increase capacity – geek out on how that works here if you are so inclined.
The energy generated is stored in a built in battery, which means the street lights can work off grid. They can function independently, so there’s no need to dig up the road and cable them all in if they’re being installed in remote areas.
The Eco-Greenergy outdoor lighting system is also a hybrid in what it can do, because its LED illumination at night is just the start of its functions. It can double up as a clever mosquito trap. The insects are lured in by UV light and a trickle of scented CO2 that mimics human breath – basically making it a street light that smells like human. Just as they’re licking their ugly chops at the prospect of fresh blood, the mosquitos are sucked into a fan and destroyed. It’s like something out of a mosquito horror movie, and it could be very useful in Malaysia, where incidences of mosquito-borne dengue fever are on the rise.
The street light has also been designed with flooding in mind. All the workings are at the top, so it’ll keep working even if its feet get wet. Hidden inside the pole is a sensor that can detect floods and transmit a signal, allowing the authorities to monitor floodwater levels.
Finally, if you find yourself out of battery and don’t mind standing around for a while, the lamp post will also charge your phone.
There are all sorts of smart streetlights these days, but the combination of disaster response, disease control and sustainable technology makes this one particularly special. There are eight of them installed so far at the University of Malaya, where it was developed, and it will be commercially available soon.