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Powering Resilience: The Vital Role of Eco-Friendly Electric Generators in Disaster Relief and Recovery




In the chaotic and destructive wake of disasters, the unfortunate reality is that people die. This is obviously especially true if a disaster has struck somewhere that was already impoverished or repressed. But even in developed countries, where the disaster response organizations on the ground from day one have at their disposal far-reaching and sophisticated technology, there is something primitive and basic about the way human beings go into the emergency shelters set up after a disaster, which sometimes have to be heated or cooled, and always have to be lit—unless the people inside can be trusted to keep things on a “disaster-silent” basis and not knock around too much. The shelters also have something served up as food. And, quite often in a shelter too, there is the figure of a human being with a basic medical instrument, trying to make another human being well enough in the “doing no harm” sense to not slide further into the path of the disaster they’ve somehow survived. Is there a system that can supply power in these situations? Is there even a system that can supply power to all those human beings, taken together?

The Challenges of Disaster Relief

  • The array of natural disasters—hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, wildfires—can leave communities without power or infrastructural power. When that happens, getting the juice flowing again often becomes a priority, since electricity is key to so many of the post-disaster human activities we care most about—housing, certainly, but especially communication and the kinds of life-sustaining medical activities that shelter people in the most vulnerable moments of their lives. The diesel generator is traditionally seen as a go-to device for restoring power after a disaster. But it may actually be a good place to start rethinking how well that works for those on the disaster frontlines.
  • The generator, a key part of the pre-electric power system, is essential kit for the disaster-moment. The status of the diesel generator as life-sustaining equipment is something that’s becoming more important, as communities and disaster medical facilities around the world anticipate situations of power failure.

The Rise of Eco-Friendly Electric Generators

  • Eco-friendly electric power generators emerge from a powerful mix of ideas. They bring together today’s best practices for using clean, sustainable energy to generate electricity, and they take full advantage of the latest and greatest in energy-conversion technology. The Eladio installation in the video here isn’t your grandmother’s electric power generation kit, and here’s why:

Benefits of Environmentally Friendly Generators after a Disaster

  • Clean Energy: Generators powered with renewable energy produce no harmful emissions when they work. Using clean fuels helps preserve the air quality in a disaster recovery area.
  • Fuel Independence: Eco-gen units can depend on many fuel sources, the cleanest of which are renewable. Disaster-stricken areas often need steady supplies of power without steady demands for fuel. The best part is that these units produce power and need no refueling.
  • Safety: Storing gallons of gasoline on-site or nearby puts shelters at risk for not only fuel spills but also CO poisoning. Renewable energy-generation units put almost no one at risk.
  • Versatility: The portable models are easy to transport and can be used in many different applications. (Units can be sent down the Hill and out the back gate, for use in operations across the West Coast.)
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Real-World Applications

Compact, lightweight solar generators are perfect for powering medical clinics, communication hubs, and temporary shelters in disaster-stricken areas. When it comes to supplying entire communities in such predicaments with a source of electricity, the setup has been to install solar-powered microgrids. And when it comes to needing power with the kind of flexibility required during a disaster response, a few groups have settled on an idea that’s seemingly novel in its simplicity. They combine the engineered components of solar panels and domestic wind turbines with energy storage, using car batteries or a similar solution. And they make all of it operable with the kinds of controls you’d find in a diesel generator.


Eco-friendly electric generators are a critical resource for global energy access, a UN sustainable development goal. They can help people afflicted by natural disasters to rebuild their lives and clean up the mess left behind for good. Clean electric power generates none of the greenhouse gasses or pollutants that are the downside of our current energy system. The new generators are much quieter, easier to house in solar tents, and safer in almost every way. We haven’t even begun to see the full potential of what they can do yet, but portable, reliable green power is a way to keep the “energy poor” of Unit 1 from descending into the sort of destitution that makes the rent-free campsite in Walmart’s parking lot the only viable path for a large swath of disaster survivors.

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