General Electric and Urban Green Energy (UGE), a renewable energy technology manufacturer, have joined forces to unveil true social innovation. They have installed the world’s first integrated wind-powered charging station for electric vehicles (EV); the Sanya Skypump, which pairs UGE‘s vertical wind turbines with GE’s EV charging technology. The first such charging station has been set up at the headquarters of Cespa, in Barcelona. GE has indicated it will begin to put in stations later this year in the U.S. and Australia at shopping malls, universities and other locations.
It’s not unusual to see renewable energy sources being added to EV chargers to keep the entire system off the electric grid as much as possible; and that’s what the Sanya Skypump does. It gives users the reassurance that the energy being used in their car is provided 100% by clean, social innovation, renewable energy produced directly on-site. The Sanya Skypump offers an excellent addition to the ever-evolving infrastructure necessary to support EVs entering the market. Nick Blitterswyk, CEO of UGE says, “Since launching the Sanya Skypump, we have received inquiries from companies around the world that are looking to embrace sustainability. The Sanya Skypump is one of those rare products that enable institutions to demonstrate their commitment to the environment while providing a really useful service as well.”
The energy generated by the wind is sent to a Level 2 GE Durastation located at the base of the pump, which takes four to eight hours to charge a battery. The UGE wind turbine rises 42 feet into the sky and needs winds at least seven miles per hour to generate power. The heart of the Sanya Skypump lies at its base where the electronic components are safely and efficiently hidden from the elements. The base includes a touch screen which guides one through the different charging options, notification preferences, and can also display news and advertisements.
UGE has developed and patented a revolutionary new dual axis design that eliminates the main concern of other vertical axis wind turbines. Through this social innovation technology, its turbines significantly outperform the competition, increasing durability and power production. The Sanya has been designed for easy assembly and can be installed in two hours; making sure it is far from rocket science.
One of the main criticisms surrounding EV, on top of issues such as limited driving ranges, exorbitant prices and restricted availability, is the actual environmental friendliness of these type of cars; and can an EV really be considered “green” when the majority of electricity globally (approximately 41 percent according to the World Coal Association) is fuelled by coal. The Sanya Skypump seeks to remedy this by giving EV drivers a completely green way to power their battery-fuelled cars.
Photo Credit: Urban Green Energy’s Website
Sangeeta Haindl is a staff writer for Justmeans on Social Enterprise. When not writing for Justmeans, Sangeeta wears her other hat as a PR professional. Over the years, she has worked with high-profile organizations within the public, not-for-profit and corporate sectors; and won awards from her industry. She now runs her own UK consultancy: Serendipity PR & Media.