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

By Ngoc Thanh   June 23, 2016 | 05:56 am PT
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.

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


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.


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.


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."


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.


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


“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.


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

Photos by Ngoc Thanh

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