November 2007, Potenco sent a research team to Bangladesh to investigate the state of electrification first hand. To get a sense of how our PCG would fit into a rural unelectrified culture we spent time traveling in the central and southwest areas of the country.
Our travels took us to Khulna, Mongla and Dhaka where we tested prototypes with the locals and got feedback on how they could use the PCG in their lives. As expected, there is a huge need for clean, renewable lighting.
Kerosene lamps and open flames were abundant as light sources. The soot byproduct from these lamps permeated all areas of the houses that used them.The input we got from villagers was very positive and encouraging. Most were pleasantly surprised by the amount of pulling required to create usable light.
With the communications infrastructure as it is, a great number of Bengladeshis have mobile phones. The mobile coverage throughout most of the country is fantastic. The average villager that owns a cell phone charges it from a 12 volt car battery, another task that the PCG is very well suited for.Overall our trip was a great success and we have gained more insight into the power needs of rural unelectrified areas. The Bengladeshi people we met with were wonderfully helpful and eager to see our product made available. We intend to take what we have learned from Bangladesh and incorporate it into our development process to make Potenco’s products as useful, powerful and organic as possible to fit the end users’ needs.