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Aussie budget airline provides vital light in darkness

December 18, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

A well-known Australian cut-price carrier has thrown its weight and money behind a Brisbane startup – designers of a system that gives people in remote regions rechargeable torches and power banks, providing hours of light and phone charging, vital in the event of natural disasters.

The airline is Jetstar and the Brisbane startup, the second 2018 recipient of Jetstar’s Flying Start Program grant, is PowerWells – self-contained systems of solar energy production and battery storage. This progressive social enterprise provides renewable technologies to people living in “energy poverty”.

It is common in many parts of the world for people to travel many hours to charge mobile phones and spend large portions of their incomes on kerosene, small batteries and candles.

Each PowerWell can charge a mix of 50 small electronic devices and torches each day, then light up a medium-sized communal space for five hours each night.

The Jetstar Flying Start Program grant, which comprises AUD 15,000 cash and AUD 15,000 in Jetstar flights, will assist PowerWells to deliver its technology to communities in rural Australia and Indonesia that need electricity, lighting and communications services.

Taking inspiration from a water-well, a PowerWell serves as a centrally located resource allowing community members to recharge their phones and lights up to 40 times a day.

Each PowerWell comes with six rechargeable bamboo torches and power banks, providing 21 hours of light per charge. In the event of a natural disaster, a PowerWell can be easily transported to provide phone charging in an emergency.

Organisation co-founders and Logan locals, Nick Kamols and Bradley Clair, who started PowerWells in November 2017, say the Jetstar Flying Start Grant will provide them with direct access to Indonesia to install PowerWells for communities in Bali and Sumatra.

PowerWells turns on the lights

“We’re incredibly thankful to Jetstar for acknowledging the work we are doing, and this grant will assist us in providing life-saving power for many more rural communities in Australia and Indonesia,” Clair said.

“Having access to a reliable and renewable source of light is life changing and limits a family’s reliance on kerosene, which sadly is responsible for killing over one and a half million people globally per year,” Kamols said.

Jetstar Airways chief customer officer, Catriona Larritt, was part of the judging panel for the Jetstar Flying Start Program grant and said PowerWells was an inspiring and standout applicant.

“Every year we are inspired by the many community groups and organisations across Australia that are making an incredible difference to the world around them,” Larritt said.

“The Jetstar Flying Start Program is a way for us to support start-ups like PowerWells who are doing great work in their local community and in this case, overseas too. We look forward to assisting PowerWells in helping people in Indonesia, an important region for Jetstar, as well as working closely with the local Brisbane community.”

The Jetstar Flying Start Program invites community groups and organisations across Australia to apply for a AUD 30,000 grant to fund a project that will enrich the lives of people in their local community.

Edited by Peter Needham

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