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      Light Up the World: Pico Power on Mt. Everest

 

  May 19, 2000Llight up Nepal Tim Rippel  

Canada's 8000m Mountain Guide - Tim Rippel sports the new LED head lamp system first time ever used on Mt. Everest in May of 2000.  The  technology is now worldwide.

 

 

"Virtually all the climbers and base camp members here at Everest have shown sincere interest in our work and especially the Nepal Light Project and its goal to light up six complete villages. Nepal will literally lead the world for a short time in WLED home lighting and it is Canadians who are helping them leapfrog the incandescent bulb stage and jump right into the new millennium."
-Dave Irvine-Halliday, electrical engineering professor, University of Calgary-

A University of Calgary researcher is at Everest Base Camp conducting experiments aimed at providing remote communities and developing countries - such as Nepal - with energy-efficient lighting. Dave Irvine-Halliday's pico power research is also helping Canada's Team Everest 2000 summit push. Climber Tim Rippel intends to use a head lamp that Irvine-Halliday designed and built for him at Everest Base Camp when he summits. Rippel has already used it successfully at the South Col area of the mountain. It's made up of five energy-efficient White Light Emitting Diodes (WLED). Depending on the climber's lighting needs, and in order to preserve battery power, a switch permits him to use one WLED, three WLEDs or all five.

Irvine-Halliday took his "pico power" to the world's tallest mountain to prove that WLEDs, running on batteries recharged by very small wind turbines or pedal generators, can provide a reliable form of home lighting. WLEDs are a new type of light source on the market. A vast majority of rural Nepali have no proper means of illuminating their homes at night, affecting their education, health and safety. A person can read quite easily by the light of a single WLED, which consumes less than one-tenth of a Watt and has a life span in excess of 10 years. While visiting Nepal last year, Irvine-Halliday began testing a low-tech, belt-driven, pico power pedal generator lighting system in remote rural villages. It takes about 25 minutes of gentle pedaling to charge a battery with enough power to run a set of 6 WLEDs for an entire evening.

Irvine-Halliday is not climbing to the top of Everest. He's been at base camp running wind turbine and pedal generator experiments, generating some power for base camp, and playing his part in Team Everest 2000's educational component, which involves schoolchildren across Canada.

 

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