Hanoi's boat people powered up by "plastic bucket" generators

By Ngoc Thanh   June 23, 2016 | 08:56 pm GMT+7

Electrical generators that use red plastic buckets as blades have been installed to generate clean energy and reduce the cost of living for poor families along the Red River.

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This floating village in Hanoi's Tay Ho District is home to 14 families who make a living from trading pottery or collecting scraps. 

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Each month, families spend about VND200,000 to VND300,000 ($9-$13) on electricity, quite a considerable sum for financially disadvantaged people. To support the locals, an architecture company along with some donors installed wind turbines.

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According to many families, the system works quite well. A wind speed of three meters per second is strong enough to generate electricity to light their boats.

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Hau, 45, said: "I've been living here for 14 years but this is the first time I've seen a system like this. We use free electricity to light our boats but still pay for any other power we need."

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A wind-powered generator includes a rotor, steel pole, solar panel, blades, controllers, a battery and a light bulb. The system operates on a simple principle. Wind spins blades made from plastic buckets, causing the rotor to spin and generate electricity. This is stored in a battery and used for lighting.

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"This system is very interesting. It can provide electricity for a bulb to run for more than two hours," Loc, a local, told VnExpress.

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“On some days, the system can create enough electricity to power a bulb for three hours. If there was more power to run electric fans and light the boat for longer, we could save more on living costs,” Thao said.

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The wind generator is expected to help other poor families across the country.

Photos by Ngoc Thanh

 
 
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