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Revolutionary 'shipping containers' to provide potential life-saving solution amid disasters: 'Anytime, anywhere power'

"The number of weather, climate, and water extremes are increasing and will become more frequent and severe."

“The number of weather, climate, and water extremes are increasing and will become more frequent and severe."

Photo Credit: Ecos

Relief for victims of natural disasters, and even war zones, may soon come from high-tech, portable boxes made by a company based in Florida.

Tricked out with retractable solar panels and a wind turbine, the shipping-container-sized trailer, called an Ecos PowerCube, can utilize renewable energy for humanitarian efforts, per the parent company, Brisben Water. 

With floods, quakes, and wars aplenty, these towable stations could provide life-saving services to people in bad situations around the world.  

"It's a power solution, especially for disaster relief and humanitarian operations," the narrator in an Instagram video clip about the tech, posted by GiGadgets (@gigadgets), said. 

The clip shows computer renderings of the station in its intended environment: disaster zones. 

If the concept fulfills the lengthy service list, the results will be impressive. It can provide power, pull clean water from the air with an atmospheric water generator, and even offer Wi-Fi with a 30-mile range, the company claims. 

What's more, energy from renewable power sources is stored in an onboard battery, according to Ecos. 

The project is being completed during troubling weather trends around the planet, starting here at home. During the last three years, the United States alone has had an average of 20 billion-dollar disasters a year, according to a report from Forbes. That's an increase from 12.8 a year in the 2010s and 6.7 annually in the 2000s. The news agency concluded that "yes," the disasters are happening with greater regularity. 

It's a trend being monitored around the world. Climate/weather-related calamities have increased "five-fold over 50 years," per the United Nations.

"The number of weather, climate, and water extremes are increasing and will become more frequent and severe in many parts of the world as a result of climate change," World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in the United Nations report.  "That means more heat waves, drought and forest fires such as those we have observed recently in Europe and North America." 

That doesn't include other human-caused disasters, either, like conflicts. And, Ecos developers plan to work with the military, citing defense investments in solar power and other projects that could improve the logistics of providing support, according to the company's website. 

The PowerCubes aren't without critics. ExtremeTech's Joel Hruska questions whether the stations will be able to match the 24/7 power reliability of dirty diesel generators, calling it a "niche" innovation. However, fossil generators require a constant fuel supply. 

The PowerCube makers said in the video clip that a built-in battery can store renewable energy for 24 hours, reducing the air pollution that is increasing the risk for extreme weather. 

They promise lighting, refrigeration, and "anytime, anywhere power" that can keep hospitals and other facilities online. 

PowerCube "can provide self-sustaining energy and clean water to remote, off-grid locations," the company states on its website. 

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