According to The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, the answer to life the universe and everything is 42. Now it looks like 42 will also be the answer to all of your gadget battery woes. Created by South Dakota's Peppermint Energy, the Forty2 kickstarter project hopes to offer users a source of personal, portable solar energy. So what makes the Forty2 different from all of the other solar chargers out there?
In an interview with Gizmag, Peppermint Energy said:
"Most days, the solar power will flow directly to the electronics," CEO Brian Gramm told Gizmag. "Unlike most 'solar chargers' or 'solar batteries/kits', the solar power actually powers the electronics. The battery is kicked into service when the electrical load is greater than what the solar is providing at the moment. In that way the solar is the power generator, and the battery is the backup or extra kick. Obviously, when the sun isn't available, the battery is called on full-time."
The Forty2 device is composed of two large photovoltaic panel arrays in a shell-like casing. Weighing in at 25 pounds and measuring 2 by 3 feet, the Forty2 isn't exactly the most portable solar device. But with big size comes big power. According to Peppermint, the unit can supply 180-200 watts of continuous power using lithium ion battery packs rated at 350 watt-hours.
The developers plan on increasing battery capacity, but the current Forty2 features onboard power inversion to make enough power available for three onboard AC outlets. A small fridge, LED TV, and multiple mobile devices are noted as several of many devices capable of being powered by the device.
With 25 days left to go, the project is close its $25,000 goal. A contribution of $500 or more gets you a first run of the device, while $100 and $199 contributions get you a miniature smatphone charger or solar backpack charger. The team hopes to begin shipping its initial batch of 250 devices sometime in December. For more information or to donate to the project, head on over to the Forty2 Kickstarter page.