For those exploring remote areas and require a source of human portable electrical power - options are still fairly limited. Specially when gear needs to be lightweight and power requirements exceeds human powered electricity generation. iLand Green Technologies in Switzerland markets portable flexible solar power panels based on Swiss army technology. Have a look.
Portable solar power – emerging solar energy market
Using a lightweight and power efficient laptop, notebook or netbook in a remote location without access to electrical power - almost immediately makes laptop limitations quite clear. Without recharging your laptop battery you’re done in 8-10 hours tops. Daily laptop use on a single battery is limited to a few days only requiring a watchful eye on laptop power consumption.
A human powered generator might be an option, but it takes quite a bit of pedaling to recharge a laptop battery – not to mention the weight of the generator. The last resort is solar power – given there’s a decent amount sunshine. Though a solar panel with any significant power rating is not portable at all. But things are changing with the use of flexible solar panel film technology - an emerging market for portable solar energy.
iLand green technologies portable solar power based on flexible solar film
Now here’s a solar power example where portability and a decent power rating are combined in one solution. The iLand green technologies solar power kit with a 35 Watt flexible solar panel and water proof protective case. The iLand portable solar kit originates from Swiss made military applications.
|iland green technologies portable solar panel kit power based on swiss army technology|
The iLand portable solar kit weighs about 8 Kg/ 17.5 lbs including a 12 volt / 16 Ah (192 Wh) storage battery. For continuous use with a laptop it's likely to last between 3 - 8 hours depending on how a power efficient a laptop is used.
The iLand battery has several power output jacks, like 2 USB slots for charging cellphones or a GPS. An average recharge cycle takes about 4-6 hours to top-up the iLand portable battery.
For a continued stay at a remote location it’s a reasonable solution to power a laptop with a satellite phone for internet connectivity. Charger technology used is unknown, though use of MPPT battery charging would certainly fit this portable application. The plastic tube is to store and protect the fold-able solar panel.
Step-up laptop battery charger
Most ideal would be a laptop battery charger with direct solar panel power feed, storing solar power directly into the laptop battery. It would not be very surprising if the laptop industry might catch up on this in the coming years.
|iland green technologies portable solar panel kit - waterproof battery and container|
For this application a 12 volt portable car / plane laptop battery charger would be a sensible decision. This makes an extra DC-AC inverter redundant.
|iland green technologies portable solar panel kit - the control panel with switches|
Laptop battery run-time can be saved by removing the laptop battery and run it directly on the iLand battery through a 12 volt portable laptop battery charger (DC-DC step-up converter).