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By Paul Sisco
Washington D.C.
24 January 2008
 
Inventing Alternatives

Wing Power, wave power, people power. Italian inventor Lucien Gambarota tries to capitalize on all three. VOA's Paul Sisco explains in this week's Searching for Solutions report.

Lucien Gambarota
Lucien Gambarota
Lucien Gambarota is a visionary, and his vision is a cleaner world.

He founded Hong Kong-based Motor Wave Limited in 2006. He explains, "Everything we are doing is related to one subject -- energy. How do we transform the available energy around us?"

One of Gambarota's current projects involves recycling and reinventing fluorescent lights. He says he has developed a system for breathing new life into spent tubes.

"I don't know how to explain it, because it is so amazing that it works. The first time that I realized that we can do it, I was really amazed. It is possible that if we can make this system more available, there may be no more need for recycling of tubes because these tubes can last for thousands of years."

Gambarota says he hopes to begin marketing a fluorescent tube, generator and mini-turbine package for about $200 later this year.

Gambarota has formed a partnership called "Powered by You" with a fitness chain to demonstrate his alternative lighting system.

Gambarota opens the box, located in a fitness center, that houses his alternative lighting system
Gambarota opens a cabinet, located in a fitness center, that houses his alternative lighting system
"This is how we use it. We start with two batteries and then we have, same as we have with the wind turbine, we have an inverter that converts DC power into AC power and then it goes into the lights," he said. 

Dylan Wade is a director of operations for California Fitness. He says the partnership with Gambarota is a perfect match. "... a good marriage as far as, 'Hey, I'm not just going to be healthy when I'm inside of California Fitness, but I'm also going to be responsible and making sure my environment is going to be healthy for the future as well.' "

"California Fitness is a very typical example," says Gambarota. "Human energy -- how do we transform it and use it into something else and not just wasting it?"

Micro-wind turbine is credited with providing up to 90 of power to a school
Micro-wind turbines are credited with providing up to 90 percent of the power to a school
At the Hong Kong Sea School, Gambarota's patented micro wind turbine technology generates electricity at minimal wind speeds. He says, "Each turbine's power is added to the next one, so here at the end is what we collect. (It) is the sum of all the energy collected there. This is like an addition machine. That is why it works."

School principal William Hutchinson adds, "If we get about 10 knots of breeze, which is reasonable average breeze, we can power about 90 percent of this building."

Gambarota says the conditions have to be right, the breeze sufficient and the roof large and flat. If that is the case, the company says Gambarota's environmentally friendly turbines, made from recycled plastic, can cut energy expenses in half.

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