Back to Light is a creatively scientific series by photographer Caleb Charland that explores the naturally electrifying power of ordinary objects like fruits and loose change. The images in the series features a number of materials, including consumables readily found in one’s pantry, generating enough power to light lamps and LED lights. We had previously seen Charland light a lamp with 300 apples, but now the grocery list has expanded to include oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, pomelos, and vinegar.The ongoing photo project, which began in 2010, was initially inspired by the powerful simplicity of the potato battery. The science enthusiast explains, “By inserting a galvanized nail into one side of a potato and a copper wire in the other side a small electrical current is generated. The zinc coating on the nail gives off electrons due to the electrolyte environment within the potato. These electrons then travel along the copper wire providing the electrical voltage to illuminate a small light emitting diode. The utter simplicity of this electrical phenomenon is endlessly fascinating for me.”Additionally, Charland reflects on his own project by saying: “This work speaks to a common curiosity we all have for how the world works as well as a global concern for the future of earth’s energy sources. My hope is that these photographs function as micro utopias by suggesting and illustrating the endless possibilities of alternative and sustainable energy production.”
Charland tells us that he hopes to expand his project this summer by making “little hydro electric generators and installing them in the landscape.” Until then, the photographer is showing a selection of his works at Schneider Gallery in Chicago and has a solo show coming up at Gallery Kayafas in Boston from May 17th through June 7th.
Battery From a Single Potato
Grapefruit and Pomelo Battery
Fruit Battery Still Life (Citrus)
Electricity From a Ring of Apples
Fruit Battery with Hanging Apples
Limes and Lemons
Vinegar Batteries with Glassware and Shelf
Garage of Organic Batteries
Potato Power, LaJoie Growers LLC, Van Buren, Maine
During the three-month period, there were 4,181 disconnections for non-payment of electricity bills. Of these, 3,496 were in the domestic market. Although the figure shows a significant reduction in disconnections compared to the corresponding period in 2011, it was an 18 per cent increase on the previous quarter.
According to the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER), Electric Ireland accounts for the majority of disconnections in the domestic and non-domestic markets. However, when adjusted for market share, Airtricity completed the highest disconnection rate per 10,000 customers.
The quarterly report notes that disconnection from a customer’s energy supply “should always be the last resort”. Suppliers are also required to offer a payment plan and pre-payment solution to households.
Between 1 July and 30 September, there were 2,479 disconnections completed in the gas market, a leap of 36 per cent on last year.
The vast majority of the switch-offs were seen in domestic addresses.
Bord Gáis Energy completed the majority of disconnections in residential and non-domestic markets. However, when adjusted for market share, Flogas had the highest rate.
Pay as you go
The CER says it has been working with suppliers to facilitate the rollout of electricity and gas pay-as-you-go meters for customers experiencing financial hardship.
There were 4,384 electricity meters installed in the three months, a 22 per cent increase on the previous quarter.
Since 2011, more than 11,000 meters have been put in Irish homes. There are also about 19,500 token-meters in operation.
There was a decrease in the number of gas meters installed in the year with 3,431 households obtaining one. Of these, 93 per cent were installed for financial hardship reasons.
The total number of gas pay-as-you-go meters installed since December 2008 is 63,933.
Fewer households are switching electricity or gas supplier than they were in 2011, according to the quarterly report.
Bord Gáis, however, continues to experience a net loss in terms of the number of customers leaving. Electric Ireland has seen a net gain of 7,395 customers as it wins back households.