Energy

Wet 'n' windy portable turbine spins up battery power off-grid

The Waterlily is a portable turbine that can charge devices through the power of wind or water
The Waterlily is a portable turbine that can charge devices through the power of wind or water
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The Waterlily is a portable turbine that can charge devices through the power of wind or water
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The Waterlily is a portable turbine that can charge devices through the power of wind or water
The Waterlily is made for flowing water or wind, but there are plans to add hand cranking, as well as a mount for a bike and tow cable for a canoe or kayak
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The Waterlily is made for flowing water or wind, but there are plans to add hand cranking, as well as a mount for a bike and tow cable for a canoe or kayak

While an outdoor adventure is a great time to switch off from the digital world, the modern mountaineer or connected camper might still want to send some snaps to social media. Battery life usually limits that luxury, but there's a tent-load of gadgets you could take with you to top up your devices, and now there's a new one vying for room in your backpack. Seaformatics' Waterlily is a portable turbine that can harness the power of both wind and water.

Away from the outlet there are plenty of possible power sources, and camping gadgets have found ways to squeeze juice out of the sun, salt water, campfires, wind or flowing rivers. It's those last two that the Waterlily tucks under its belt, and while we've seen several devices do one or the other, not many offer both options. The Powermonkey Expedition does (along with solar and manual power), but it's a bulky, expensive beast.

The Waterlily is designed to be more portable, weighing 800 g (1.8 lb) and measuring 180 mm (7 in) across and 75 mm (3 in) thick, and the little turbine can be placed into a river or a windy place to spin up some power for any device that charges via USB.

The Waterlily is made for flowing water or wind, but there are plans to add hand cranking, as well as a mount for a bike and tow cable for a canoe or kayak
The Waterlily is made for flowing water or wind, but there are plans to add hand cranking, as well as a mount for a bike and tow cable for a canoe or kayak

Submerged, Seaformatics says the Waterlily can operate in water flowing at speeds between 1 km/h and 11 km/h (0.6 mph and 6.8 mph), but the peak output of 25 watts is achieved at 7.2 km/h (4.5 mph). Out in the air, it needs a minimum wind speed of 10.8 km/h (6.7 mph) to get going, but apparently finds its stride around the 72 km/h (45 mph) mark.

If the weather's calm and there's no river handy, Seaformatics says it plans to add a hand crank to the kit, although this is probably more for a quick top-up than a full charge. The company also says it's working on a bike mount and a tow cable, so the Waterlily can be dragged behind a canoe or kayak.

Seaformatics is currently taking preorders for the Waterlily, which it says will be shipped to early birds in August. Orders will initially cost US$99, although after April the price jumps up to $149.

The Waterlily can be seen in action in the video below.

Source: Seaformatics

Waterlily Micro Turbine

4 comments
JweenyPwee
45mph wind speed is pretty darn brisk even for a windy beach....
Daishi
Every actual study I have read on small wind turbines links them to such terrible actual performance that they should be considered junk science. Even their marketing data lists the startup speed at 6.7 mph and the average annual wind speeds in most places is only about 7.5 MPH. If you are under the tree line the wind speed is going to be even lower than that meaning that this thing produces an amount of power somewhere between 0 and about as much as the little solar panel built into $5 calculators. Even the $10,000 micro turbines mounted on poles don't compete with a $200 solar panel in power production because with wind power scale is everything. They are also less reliable than solar and not even wort the maintenance costs let alone the purchase price. Even on their own website they list a wind speed of 16 MPH required to charge a cell phone in 8 hours which is more than double average wind speeds. At under 10MPH it does _nothing_. You can buy solar phone chargers with a built in battery pack and flashlight for $15 that actually work.
Tanstar
I don't think this thing would survive behind a canoe or kayak in a river or ocean. In a lake maybe?
Ralf Biernacki
It seems to me this thing is complementary with a solar panel---if the sun is shining, there is usually not enough wind, but once the weather takes a turn for the worse, you can get out the wind turbine and still have juice. Best to pack both. Also, this thing is refreshingly affordable, unlike most such hopefuls I have seen here, who usually price themselves out of the market. I will actually look into buying one.
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