Portable solar chargers are perhaps the most popular means of keeping devices powered in the wilderness and, as we’ve seen, portable wind turbines are an option too. To cover all bases though, you may soon also be able to take a portable water turbine with you to harness the flow of a river or stream.
We covered Enomad earlier this year when it showed off a portable water turbine concept for charging mobile devices at SXSW. Now the company is back with a refined version that is ready to be commercialized.
The Estream, as it is now called, isn’t the first portable water-turbine charger. Both the HydroBee and the Blue Freedom offer similar functionality and portability, although, the Estream looks to pack away into perhaps the handiest unit for carrying and has a bigger battery capacity than both.
The device is made largely out of ABS and polycarbonate. It measures 24.5 x 6.5 cm (9.7 x 2.5 in) when packed away and, once its turbine blades are folded out, they have a diameter of 21 cm (8.3 in). It weighs in at a very manageable 800 g (1.8 lb).
To generate electricity, users remove the cover of the Estream, fold out the blades and lock them in place. The device is then anchored in flowing water using a peg, and the turbine is driven by the flow. It will apparently work in shallow streams with a low velocity and can also be towed behind a kayak or boat.
It kicks out between about 2.5 W and 5 W of power, with the electricity produced stored in a 6,400 mAh lithium-ion battery. Enomad says the battery will take about 4.5 hours to charge using running water and that it can also be charged via a 5-W micro USB input. A full battery should be able to charge an iPhone 6 three times.
For convenience when charging a device, the Estream can be disassembled into a turbine module and a battery module. There are three USB outlets, so it’s possible to charge up to three devices simultaneously and the 7.5-W output is said to charge devices twice as fast as a regular outlet.
The Estream also has an built-in light and can be hung as a lantern. There are four lighting modes – low light, bright light, SOS and strobe – and a waterproofing rating of IPX8 means that it can be used as an underwater light.
There is a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign ongoing for the Estream. Pledges from US$180 will receive one of the turbines, assuming all goes to plan with the campaign and roll-out. Shipping is expected from January 2017.
The video below is the Kickstarter pitch for the Estream.