At first glance, the red boxes seem very simple in terms of construction, and they actually are. They are equipped with batteries powered by portable solar panels and can be combined into larger structures, like LEGO bricks. A single box is able to meet almost the entire energy demand of a household, while solidifying several such devices will increase the range of these possibilities.
Behind the project is the Swiss company Power-Blox, and its product, PBX-200, consists of energy cubes with built-in batteries, which are available in lead or lithium-ion versions. Each such cube produces 200 W of alternating current and can be powered both by solar panels and other external sources. There is wind energy, as well as hydrothermal energy or biomass energy.
Interestingly, the creators of this project were inspired by nature, or more precisely shoals of fish. The boxes, just like fish, can be freely combined and configured, creating groups with almost unlimited possibilities. The technology behind the described system is on the one hand easy to use, and on the other hand it impresses with its benefits.
The handling of crates does not require specialist knowledge, so even people without much experience in this field could install them. Connecting devices to the network, if necessary, does not require configuration and takes only a few minutes to setup. Over the past four years, the Swiss company has delivered more than 2,000 power units to around 20 countries. The implementation of this type of projects was possible, among others, thanks to the cooperation within the United Nations Development Program.
A solution for both the poor and the rich
Of course, the PBX-200 and other such devices do not have to be used only in third world countries, where access to electricity is difficult. Residents of richer regions can use them as well, as evidenced by the fact that recently 150 chests have been sent to Swiss residents who have houses in mountainous areas, slightly remote from civilization. Insufficient funds seem to be the biggest obstacle to the further implementation of the project. In addition, scientists would also like to introduce some ecological solutions in the design itself, for example by replacing the batteries used.