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Powering Up Electrical Appliances

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Power is the gift from science that really stands out and has given to humanity. It has likewise turned into a piece of present day life and no one could think of what might happen without it. Power has numerous uses in our everyday life. It is utilized for lighting rooms, working fans and machines like electric stoves, powering up televisions and the like. All these give support to individuals. In processing of various things outside houses couldn’t work without the help of the power form electricity (Lekshmi, S., 2010). Aluminum is all around. People see it in soda jars, brew jars, pie plates, siding, canals, and that’s it. What the vast majority don’t understand is that aluminum is for all intents and purposes and an ideal recyclable material. Out of the most well-known recyclable materials that mess up our landfills—glass, paper, metals, cardboard, plastics—but aluminum is the main material that is unendingly recyclable, 100% recyclable, and that pays for itself (K&K Recycling, 2018).

T.H. Culhanne was inspired to the accessible sustainable energy that comes from the aluminium cans once people found out that these cans could turn out to a source of electricity. The soda can battery itself was fairly low-powered, but combining it with another “joule-thief” which also nearly has a weaker electrical charge could produce a stronger current of electricity that could power up various electrical appliances. Using the joule thief setup, with the use of a “dead” AA battery yielding just 1.2 volts to power a 3 volt LED light. Combining the joule thief and the aluminum can battery, could make electric power accessible to people in some of the most rural places on Earth. In Nepal, for example, experimenters installed solar and biogas generators, filling these cans with water that has run through wood ash and picked up potassium hydroxide and using a simple electrode such as a brillo pad or pencil lead, people can set up multiple batteries, joule thieves, and LEDs and have enough light to fill a room (Howley, A., 2011). In

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Indonesia there is a technology category called appropriate technology, that is a technology where is not always advanced but this kind of technology can solve problem effectively. The said country also used Joule-thief¬ in solving problems to those places who might have no electricity. Researcher conducted experiment using Joule thief schematic which accommodates 8 super bright blue LEDs. The Joule thief circuit will produces high frequency AC voltage (nearly DC) with a voltage above blue the super bright LEDs threshold voltage. Mappuji (2016), who conducted the experiment monitor the amount of voltage with respect of time. The experimenters called it as: Voltage Decay Rate. It is found that this Joule thief design can accommodates 8 super bright blue LED until 4 days. It shows that battery voltage approaching 0.6 V (exactly 0.485 V) in 6000 minutes (exactly 5978 minutes) or nearly 4 days. This number taken from the fact that the LED series dimmed at days 4. Practically without Joule thief, 1.5 V battery or even 1.6 V battery cannot provide enough voltage to lit the super bright blue LED. Those who conducted the experiments also added that the duration of the light being lit up depends on the volts of the battery used.

Undergraduates and Physics volunteers from the University of the Philippines (UP), helped the Super Typhoon Yolanda survivors by turning old batteries and chargers into disposable energy source. The said devices that were recycled, can give users enough energy. Although by just a very short time, still, it can be used during emergencies. A group of students, formed “Project Lightline”, which aims to produce over a hundred units of charging devices or which they called, the “Lightline”. This project also used “Joule-thief” in temporarily charging cellular phones by pushing the batteries to their limits even though they are old and cannot be used anymore. As to support previous article, this enables to steal little energy from the batteries which are already dead with the help also of the transformers found in charger which makes the voltage ramp. Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) and International Electronics and Technical Institute (IETI) in Marikina also volunteered to help in constructing the project (Luces, K., 2013).

An engineer reconstruct the lamp which is also called “metal-air” lamp (which uses oxygen from air as electrolyte and metal as the electrode – anode) by using aluminium cans instead of the common one, lithium because of its difficulty in handling when in humid conditions, especially in water, though aluminium also. Salt dissolved in water is used as the electrolyte or the one helps in facilitating the flow of electrons (electricity). Other electrolytes like, potassium or sodium hydroxide would do but using these, were hard for the users to dispose and handle. Saltwater was put inside the aluminium cans. The usage of cathode will help in reducing the oxygen from the air, and speeding it up was attained by using catalysts like Magnesium or cobalt, although some uses Platinum as catalyst but it is more expensive. The engineer also uses “joule-thief” in increasing the voltage of the battery and also for long-term usage when in times of emergencies (Ocon, J.D., 2015).

Similar to the study and experiment of ADMU, a group of students from Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP) made a study of turning softdrink cans from Laguna de Bay into battery device. This now is the source of electricity of people in the island of Talim in province of Rizal. Residents in the area often experience brownout but they don’t they could get electricity from water of Laguna de bay. But according to laguna lake Development Authority, the quality of water is low due to the metal and toxic pollutants that scattered around the lake. They also said that the lake is good only for fisheries and other recreational activities. But the water contains ions, a chemical compound with electric charge. For this to be beneficial to the residents of the area, the students of TIP created a submerged battery which they called “Ilawa”. It is made out of aluminum cutouts from softdrink cans, activated carbon from water filters that are coated by copper wires and net. “In order to produce chemical reaction, the polluted water has to be exposed to a metal…We chose the aluminum from used soda cans to also encourage recycling”, explained by Dranreb Earl Juanico, director of TIP Research and Development Management Office. “We took something bad and made something good out of it…We used the water pollution in the lake to provide electricity,” Juanico explained. This project could not only help the people in Talim Island but also the fishers during night. It is considered as environment-friendly unlike the common source of electricity which are kerosene and battery-operated lights (Delizo, M., 2017).

Another study from Coca Cola Bottlers Philippines Inc. manages a major campaign to promote the recovery of non-returnable but recyclable soft drinks containers. Cans are processed into aluminum sheets and tubes, which are then turned in various consumer products. In 2002, Coca Cola also begun recycling plastic (polyethelyne terapthalate–PET) bottles. This recycling program has recovered 4.1 million aluminum cans, and three million PET containers. The Philippine Recyclers Inc., an NGO, Bantay Kalikasan, and DENR have together launched an advocacy campaign to improve the recovery and recycling of used lead-acid batteries. The research said that about 30 percent of the 200,000 lead-acid batteries sold in the country are not properly recycled. The project continues to grow; collecting 204 tons in 2003 and 340 tons in the first three quarters of 2004. This is equivalent to 73,759 liters of sulfuric acid and 590 tons of lead prevented from polluting the environment. More than 50 companies are now actively supporting the campaign (Philippine Environment Monitor, 2004).

Research gap

Recycling, is probably one of the best ways in providing a positive impact to the environment. Recycling could change trash into reusable materials. One of which is aluminum having a light weight but many uses. Recycling aluminum cans could conserve energy (Discovery Education, 2016). Aluminum is said to be a good conductor of electricity which is also better than the copper. This property of aluminum make itself the material of choice to achieve energy efficient system such as electrical transmission, heat transfer and storage of electricity (Brandtzæg, S.V., 2012). Renewable energy sources in the form of wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal, and biomass provide a significant amount of energy, namely electricity and heat. But aluminium plays an important role as one of the key materials in a wide range of renewable energy systems, namely solar thermal collectors, wind turbines, photovoltaic systems, solar cookers and concentrating solar thermal power plants (Bödeker, J.M., Bauer, M., Pehnt, M., 2010).

About 1.6 billion people presently have no access to electricity since 1970. By 2030 it is expected that 1.4 billion people will still lack electricity (IEA, 2002). Even those who have access to electricity still rely on traditional biomass as their alternative source-such as crop residues, firewood. Governments from other countries have redoubled their awareness that electric services can play in promoting human development. Many countries have attempted extensive reforms in how they organize their electric power sector. In general, these countries have attempted to shift from a state-dominated power system, financed by state funds, to one where the role of private ownership and market forces play a larger role (World Bank, 2002b; Rufin, 2003; Victor and Heller, eds., 2006).


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