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Malawi Inventor Lights Up His Whole Village Basically for Free–Starting With a Bicycle and a River

Posted by Walter Gido on

Malawi Inventor Lights Up His Whole Village Basically for Free–Starting With a Bicycle and a River

Colrerd Nkosi had all the junk he needed and the will to bring electricity to his small village in Malawi and he not only accomplished his goal, but won an award from the Queen of England. Using a repurposed corn-shelling machine motor and a fast-moving river, Nkosi created an electric turbine that’s now lighting up homes for him and his neighbors for free in the town of Mzimba.Schoolchildren study light from light bulbs in the village of Yobe Nkosi in northern Malawi, illuminated by a small artisanal hydroelectric power plant (AFP - AMOS GUMULIRA)

He soon realizes that the Kasangazi River flows in front of his house with just enough force to push the pedals of his bike. Without any particular training in the profession of electrician, he tinkered with a dynamo and managed to draw power to his house.When the inhabitants of the village start to arrive at his house in large numbers to recharge their phones, he thinks that he must push the project further.By diverting the water from the river, he managed to create a small waterfall.

Today, the village of Yobe Nkosi is powered by its small artisanal power plant, installed a little away from the village and which it has meanwhile boosted with the engine of a corn ginner. And his school is the only one, out of the 17 in the region, to be enlightened. Electricity is transported over two km by rudimentary steel electrical wires, suspended from tree trunks that act as electric poles.

Just like Edison, he did a lot of experimenting. In the beginning, he put a bicycle in the river and brainstormed about how the current moved the pedals, and how it might be turned into power. Then, he used an old refrigerator compressor that converted power for 6 homes. His neighbors were clamoring, so he continued to upgrade.

According to the self-taught inventor, his latest turbine has the potential to produce enough power to provide electricity to 1,000 homes and says another turbine can be installed downstream to expand the grid.

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