In recent years, Western European governments have become increasingly concerned with what would happen if Russian hackers were to disable our electricity grids. However, they are particularly worried about Ukraine, which requires help in its fight against Russia and is already struggling with a shortage of electricity. For many Ukrainians, living without electricity has already become a reality.
Thanks to an invention from Italy, however, affected citizens can quickly and easily restore power to their homes. The invention comes from energy expert and entrepreneur Matteo Villa and is called “Barrell”. It is a sky-blue metal barrel with yellow flower symbols containing a blue heart.
Inside the barrel are a lithium-ion battery and transformers that convert sunlight into electricity. With a rectangular-shaped solar panel that can be conveniently attached to a balcony or window, “Barrell” generates enough electricity for even large apartments. After unfolding the solar panel, the cable coming out of the barrel is connected to the power grid, and electricity flows shortly afterward.
Matteo Villa had the idea for “Barrell” during his work with the association “Doctors for Africa,” where he saw how creatively people used empty oil drums and barrels in their everyday lives. Since the end of December, the power barrels have also been in use in Ukraine.
The power barrels cost around €3,000 each, but are purchased and used by private non-profit and government organizations to help people in need. In various disaster areas, as well as in Africa, the power barrels are already in use and are helping people meet their everyday power needs.”