On #ThisIsEngineeringDay we’re celebrating and acknowledging how engineering shapes our world and the impact that it can have on us all and our everyday lives.
Alpha 311 was founded out of a want and a need to help local authorities save on the cost of powering streetlights and to try to solve this problem: how can you power streetlights for free?
We wanted to make a difference and develop a product that can produce energy where it’s needed, benefit local communities, while also building an engineering business with ethical values and a desire to give back.
Once we had worked out the basic concept of a shaftless onshore wind turbine, and developed a viable product, it became a question of what else can we provide power to?
We realised that we not only power the streetlights but also power local schools and so much more!
We knew that we had a viable business model that can:
- Power streetlights and more, benefitting local communities.
- Provide no capital costs and a new revenue stream for local authorities.
- Produce a product that can be manufactured using recyclable materials.
With this year’s theme, #BeTheDifference, we believe that a lot of solutions start with problems that innovative engineering can solve and we encourage young people to look at the problems that impact their communities. Look on your doorstep; is there something in your local park that would help people enjoy it even more or give access to those with disabilities or a way to provide an innovative space to learn… so many problems are waiting for someone to solve them.
Our first prototypes were made from plastic soda bottles and are now made from recycled plastic with carbon fibre skin. When you build it you can start to see what issues your design might have, then tweak, reinvent, redesign and rethink, maybe even throw parts away but your idea is evolving, growing and ultimately (or eventually) will solve a problem.
Your solution could be the inspiration that someone else has been looking for, or better still… it could be your future!