One Million WakaWaka Solar Lamps to Uganda
Off-Grid Solutions Ltd announced today that it has reached an agreement with Uganda Batteries Ltd to distribute 1 million WakaWaka solar lamps in Uganda. The WakaWaka is the most efficient solar lamp on the planet, delivering safe and affordable light for the 1.5 billion people who still live off grid and who are dependant on toxic, dangerous and expensive kerosene lamps.
Uganda Batteries Ltd. is owned by well known Ugandan entrepreneur James Mulwana. Apart from one of the foremost battery companies in the country, Mulwana also owns one of the largest dairy farms and a household plastic company (Nice House of Plastics Ltd). “Practically every household in Uganda has one of our products in their home.” says Mulwana. “We hope to accomplish the same with WakaWaka.”
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The agreement with Uganda Batteries is an early breakthrough for WakaWaka which was launched only this summer. Off-Grid Solutions has received interest from over 80 countries around the world including many western countries. “In the U.S., people have embraced the WakaWaka and are using them for disaster preparation, bedside reading, nite lights for the children, camping and other outdoor activities. Once the consumer tried their first WakaWaka Solar Lamp the word of mouth took off. The reviews we get on Amazon for example are practically off the charts,” states Camille van Gestel, one of the co-founders. “The profit we make in the US and Europe are used to keep margins elsewhere (for example Asia and Africa) as low as possible. This commitment in Uganda is the first of many that will benefit from the sustainable business model we have developed for delivering, safe, bright solar light to those living off the grid.”
Every day more than 16,000 people worldwide are severely burned as a result of accidents with kerosene lamps. Moreover, 300,000 people every year die due to kerosene fires. Hundreds of millions of people inhale the toxic fumes, causing all sorts of diseases. And the costs of lighting in some areas amounts to up to 20% of the family income. “This has to change.” says Maurits Groen, the other co-founder. “The sales of WakaWaka´s support an education program, now being developed by the WakaWaka Foundation. We call this the Climate Hero program which teaches students in developing countries about the direct and tangible benefits of solar power, clean drinking water, personal hygiene, preservation of natural resources and recycling.”
Toyota unveils electric van and Volvo opens fuel cell lab
Toyota is launching its first zero emission battery electric vehicle, the Proace Electric medium-duty panel van, across Europe.
The model, which offers a choice of 50 or 75kWh lithium-ion batteries with range of up to 205 miles, is being rolled out in the UK, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden.
At present, alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs, including battery electric vehicles) account for only a fraction – around 1.8 per cent – of new light commercial van sales in the UK, but a number of factors are accelerating demand for practical alternatives to vans with conventional internal combustion engines.
Low and zero emission zones are coming into force to reduce local pollution and improve air quality in urban centres, at the same time as rapid growth in ecommerce is generating more day-to-day delivery traffic.
Meanwhile the opening of Volvo's first dedicated fuel cell test lab in Volvo Group, marks a significant milestone in the manufacturer’s ambition to be fossil-free by 2040.
Fuel cells work by combining hydrogen with oxygen, with the resulting chemical reaction producing electricity. The process is completely emission-free, with water vapour being the only by-product.
Toni Hagelberg, Head of Sustainable Power at Volvo CE, says fuel cell technology is a key enabler of sustainable solutions for heavier construction machines, and this investment provides another vital tool in its work to reach targets.
"The lab will also serve Volvo Group globally, as it’s the first to offer this kind of advanced testing," he said.
The Fuel Cell Test Lab is a demonstration of the same dedication to hydrogen fuel cell technology, as the recent launch of cell centric, a joint venture by Volvo Group and Daimler Truck to accelerate the development, production and commercialization of fuel cell solutions within long-haul trucking and beyond. Both form a key part of the Group’s overall ambition to be 100% fossil free by 2040.