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InnovationDaily Drip

Beijing’s Hanergy Launches Energy-Charging Umbrella, Donates First Batch to Africa

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So it’s come to this: we’re writing about the launch of a new umbrella. No, it’s not a slow news day, the umbrella in question is worth some attention — honest. It comes fitted with “world-leading flexible thin-film solar cells” that enable users to protect themselves from the sun, while charging enough electricity to fully charge 10 mobile phones or support LED lighting for up to 10 hours.

Oh, and the first batch is being given away for free to underdeveloped regions of Africa.

The product has been developed by Hanergy, a Beijing-based solar cell and clean energy developing company who are also responsible for the panels you see in the baskets of Mobikes, helping to charge the bikes’ smart locks. They’re calling it the Humbrella, which… hmm, we’re not sure that’ll catch on, but let’s not dwell on that aspect.

Announcing the launch of the new product in the PRC capital yesterday (which we imagine took place to the strains of Rihanna), Hanergy CEO Li Hejun revealed that the company will give away 1 million RMB ($160,000 USD) worth of the umbrellas to communities across the African continent, via the China NGO Network for International Exchange. He was joined at the event by ambassadors from 22 African nations.

“We hope that the Humbrella will light up the lives of many Africans and open up new possibilities for the future of African development,” said Li.

Some more Humbrella specs here from the official press blurb:

Combining the world’s highest conversion efficiency thin-film solar panels with the common umbrella, the Humbrella integrates four functions including off-grid power supply, electricity storage, night lighting, and terminal charging. The Humbrella has a diameter of 2.7 meters and weighs only 8.8 kilograms due to Hanergy’s amazingly light & flexible thin film solar panels.

Currently, only 37% of Africans have access to a stable power supply and electricity shortages routinely prevent children from having enough time for study, seriously impacting their education. The Humbrella offers a practical solution to this problem by converting sunshine and store as much as 40000mAh electricity, ensuring a 10-hour high quality reading time for children, or charging more than 10 3000mAh smart phones. In addition to lighting, the Humbrella is equipped with 4 UBS ports, which could be plugged for lamps, small fans, or electric insect repellent.

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