A Munich, Germany-based startup has created a new gizmo that delivers portable power to your phone using hydroelectricity. Blue Freedom acts as a mini turbine, spinning on the power of water and giving your phone a battery boost. “There is a need for independent energy for small electrical appliances,” Blue Freedom co-founder Benedikt Schroeder explains to Metro.

What inspired you to create Blue Freedom?

– The idea came about when a friend of mine asked Aquakin [Schroeder’s startup – Ed.] if we could build a hydroelectric power source for hikers. Our experiences with people around the world having no access to a power grid led us to start a series of tests. Further discussions with NGOs confirmed the urgent need. So we decided to develop Blue Freedom.

How does it work?

– The user places the gadget’s rotor in a flowing river. The rotor is connected via a shaft to the generator housing and drives the transmission. Immediately after rotation begins, the generator creates electricity and charges the internal battery pack, or an already connected electrical appliance. Using two built-in USB ports almost all electrical appliances such as smartphones or digital cameras can be charged. The internal batteries also supply the integrated LED lamp for up to six hours.

How much time does it take to charge a phone?

– Depending on the flow rate of the water, it is possible to charge a phone within an hour.

We don’t all live near fast-flowing rivers…

– The Blue Freedom can be used even in the smallest flowing waters, at a flow rate of 0.5 meters per second. At the moment we are testing a new generator technology that can generate up to 8 watts – Blue Freedom currently does 5 watts of power.

Do you think this is an easy, practical way to charge a phone?

– Hydroelectricity is a fantastic way to be independent. Energy from flowing waters is usually available up to 8,000 hours per year, far more than wind (approx. 1,200 hours a year) or solar (approx. 1,000 hours a year). Hydropower is the most proven and oldest technology in the world to produce energy and it can be used by everyone.

Why do you think Blue Freedom is important?

– Our vision is a world in which everybody produces renewable energy in a sustainable way. There is a need for independent energy for small electrical appliances. For this reason, we have built this miniature hydroelectric power plant to generate renewable energy and build a proper decentralized power supply system anywhere in the world. Blue Freedom is our contribution to encourage mankind to produce energy in an environmentally and economically responsible way while preserving nature's biodiversity.

Does your device have any negative effects on water?

– No! Blue Freedom does not harm fishes, nor destroy the environment, nor emit any pollutants. It takes from the water only a portion of the available energy.

What is the future of your project?

– Blue Freedom is becoming a global project. After we were able to make the crowdfunding campaign successful on Kickstarter, we are already working on further development. Very soon we will be able to offer an integrated very efficient wind turbine. Many discussions with our supporters motivate us to integrate further innovations.