Local man says his invention has power to illuminate darkest corners of the earth
- Garland Edwards of Pierron is the inventor of The GravPower Generator
- Machine uses human power, gravity to make electricity
- Edwards says machine could bring power to areas “off the grid”
By Curt Libbra
Garland Edwards of Pierron stands next to his invention, The GravPower Generator, which makes electricity using gravity. Curt Libbra [email protected]
It was 3:21 a.m. on March 15, 2009. The shades were pulled over Garland Edwards’ eyes when a light bulb went off inside his head. He had a vision of his GravPower Generator.
The machine is a series a springs, chains, pulleys, weights and sprockets mounted to a box stainless steel frame. Edwards’ invention is the ultimate in green energy. It’s powered solely by gravity and lubricated only with elbow grease.
“No fuels. No wind. No combustibles. No nothing,” said Edwards, of Pierron, who was at Highland High School on March 17 to speak to students and participate in the school’s engineering open house.
GravPower works much like a grandfather clock, only in reverse. Instead of the gearing slowing down the movement, it speeds it up. The idea is that a person — or group of people — pull on cables, which unfurl coiled springs and raise weights. As the springs wind back and the weights fall, they spin gears. The movement is converted into direct current (DC) power. That energy then charges a battery.
“It’s mostly human energy power — human energy changed into electrical power,” said Edwards. The laws of nature do the rest. “We always have gravity. It’s always — constantly, predictably, reliably — there,” Edwards said.
“A problem solver”
Edwards, who has a degree from ITT Technical Institute, has worked much of his professional career in various technician jobs, from copy machines to hospital equipment to gas meters. “I call myself a problem solver,” he said.
The problems his GravPower Generator solves are two-fold, he said.
▪ No. 1: Electricity is not available to great number of people.
“(Much) of the world does not have power at all. They are completely off the grid,” he said. The GravPower could bring electricity — at least in small amounts — to them. “What I see is to be able to produce power into the jungle, into the forest, into the dessert,” Edwards said.
▪ No. 2: Backup power is always needed.
As an example, Edwards told a story about his uncle, who had a home in rural Kentucky. When ice storms hammered the area, it pulled down power lines and damaged his solar panels. Edwards’ uncle had backup generators, but he ran out of fuel before the electric company had power back on. His pipes froze, then burst, severely damaging the house. “He had to abandon the place,” Edwards said. “He told me if he had 15 minutes of energy each day, he would have been able to save the house.”
Looking for a business partner
Edwards has made a few versions of the GravPower.
“This was literately made out of junk in my garage,” Edwards said, as he demonstrated his original model.
He has made improvements. But all of his machines, which he works on in his spare time, are still in the prototype stage. He has nicknamed his latest model “Kittyhawk,” after the town in North Carolina where the Wright brothers first achieved flight.
“I call it ‘Kittyhawk’ because it’s at the point of the planes that flew at Kittyhawk, compared to the planes we have today,” he said.
In its current form, the Kittyhawk is limited — around 10 amps of current. But Edwards believes his device has the potential of much more, with further enhancements. That’s why he is searching for a partner, someone with expertise in materials and manufacturing.
“I’m not a machinist,” said Edwards, who currently uses such things as a hinge for a gear stop and a dumbbell weight for a fly wheel.
But that technical stuff, that’s the easy part. Coming up with the vision, that’s what’s hard.
“Before you can engineer, you have to ‘envisioneer,’ ” he said.
And Edwards says his idea — it’s is bright.
More on The GravPower Generator Co.
Owner: Garland Alan Edwards, Owner, Envisioneer
Address: 391 Pacatte St., P.O. Box 526, Pierron, IL 62273
Phone: (618) 616-6830
Email: [email protected]