Portable shelters are incredibly important in a number of different industries and situations. One such application has been referenced in this blog many times – that of disaster relief. When volunteers travel to war torn or disaster stricken countries, not only do they need a place to stay, but people who have lost homes need a roof over their heads as well. From a previous post:
“As of mid-July, the number of still-homeless Haitians was still at a staggering 1.5 million people, so finding temporary means of shelter is a major concern to the country. In January, a team of researchers and developers began looking into the use of shipping containers as a temporary solution for the homeless.”
Another industry that relies on portable, mobile forms of shelter is the military, who are constantly on the move in areas where there may not be developed bases or buildings to camp in. Portable shelters are being used as I write this post, but there is still a problem with the issue of creating power sources for these portable areas. One company, according to Printed Electronics World, has developed a solar power source made from flexible fabric:
“It can provide sufficient electricity from sunlight to power lighting, fans, cell phones, iPods and laptop computers for a squad of solders. Alternatively, it can be used to power 12V DC refrigeration and air conditioning equipment. These tent like structures are particularly suitable for the military environment because they significantly reduce the fuel requirement for gas generators thereby reducing convoy risk exposure to enemy threats (IEDs). They not only operate in truly mobile environments they also provide areas of shade and have short ROI due to high cost of providing fuel in theatre.
The folded-up flexible PV fabric top weighs 90 lbs and produces 1.2 kilowatts of power – a total energy output of 4.5 kilowatt hours per day.”
This system can be set up by two soldiers in 15 minutes or so and begin supplying power to any portable structure with the right system.