3 Innovative Uses of Solar Powered Shipping Containers
Shipping container solar power stations are being created for diverse uses. In this post we take a look at how a shipping container solar power station can be used in three ways, as a military solution, getting power where it is badly needed to support communities and for mobile courier delivery in big cities.
1. Military solutions
The US Military has recently announced that it will spend USD $7 billion on green energy over the next three decades. A spokesman for the German Army explained their own reasoning behind following a similar route: “The German armed forces need a reliable energy supply, which is why we solely depend on our own diesel generators in conflict areas. Procuring fuel for the generators is often very dangerous. By reducing our fossil fuel consumption, we could therefore protect human lives and increase our troupes’ resilience.”
Recent wars have become ‘asymmetric combat’ with no fixed front lines, and everyone in a military unit could well end up in a fire fight. Supply lines are more vulnerable than ever before, and fuel tankers are a prime target. In providing onsite solar power fewer lives can be put at risk by getting rid of the need to have a constant supply of fuel.
One statistic suggests that getting fuel to the troops in Afghanistan or Iraq costs between US $100 and $250 a litre. If you’re moaning about the cost of putting petrol in your car, this puts things sharply into perspective! Solar containers achieve massive cost savings for the military, with a cost per kilowatt hour similar to what you would pay at home.
Fitted in a 20ft or 40ft container, the systems can be mobilised rapidly by helicopter or large combat transport vehicle, much more safely than a tanker as this video demonstrates:
2. Bringing power to places off grid
The Ecos PowerCube is designed to be highly mobile. Created by US company Ecosphere Technologies they can be built around a 10ft, 20ft or 40ft shipping container footprint and provide up to 15 kilowatts of power to people in need. This could be a hospital in a disaster area, sleeping quarters, a temporary school or for the administration of a refugee camp in a time of crisis. The Ecos PowerCube can also be used to power water treatment systems on site, helping those most in need and possibly making the difference between life or death for people right at the knife edge of survival.
Dean Becker, director of Ecosphere Technologies, believes “this innovative solar technology has the potential to be one of the most important solar patented innovations of our generation”.
3. Helping deliver goods to people in cities
Though nowhere near as dramatic or dangerous as disaster or combat zones, mobile shipping container solar power units are being used as bases for delivery companies in cities.
With the growth of e-commerce, parcel delivery vehicles are becoming ever greater sources of pollution in cities around the world. Only recently statistics showed that though there are far fewer cars on the streets of London in England as people turn to public transport or cycling for their commutes, congestion is actually increasing due to the large amount of delivery vans. This has a direct impact on air quality.
One company has come up with a solution – a solar power station in a shipping container that powers four electric powered motorbikes. The 20ft container has an array of solar panels and a 22 kilowatt hour battery that the solar panels keep charged throughout the day.
The motorbikes have a range of 80.4km per charge, that is more than ample for dashing around most cities’ streets. The container can charge all four bikes in about five hours. Essentially while they are on their rounds, the solar panels charge the battery and overnight the motorbikes can be charged by the battery.
Got an idea for a solar powered container?
If you have an idea for a solar powered or modified shipping container, then get in touch with us here at Gateway Container Sales. We’ve got hundreds of shipping containers in stock and an onsite workshop where we can turn your shipping container into an portable office, accommodation unit or even a lunch room. Talk to our team of experts for advice. If you’re thinking on a grander scale, we have connections with architects and designers who can help you turn your residential or commercial project into reality.