In a move set to further heat up the national energy debate, an Australian startup has launched the first ever in-home coal-fired micro generation unit.
Start up Power Miner says the units, which go on sale on Monday for $4,999 including installation, will give households a way to benefit from the unused fuel available following the closure of coal-fired generators in Australia.
Each unit takes up the space of an average-sized family fridge. The bottom section is reserved for water to prevent the unit from overheating, and small lumps of coal can be fed in through a wooden shaft at the top.
“Safety is our top priority, hence the intake shaft being out of the reach of small children”, says Power Miner MD Flora Mars. “But when we did our first tests with customers, the kids showed a real interest in burning fossil fuels.”
The mini conveyor belt is an optional extra and so far has been pre-ordered by four in five customers. It allows a ten centimetre wide conveyor to run from the home’s coal storage facility straight to the intake. "The kids love it. They're basically generating the power their own home," said Ms Mars.
Mum of two, Galliardise Tourney, said she’s used the little power station as a great educational tool. “It’s really hard being a parent these days”, said Mrs Tourney. “Our kids are exposed to such inconsistencies. They watched the news one night and saw people handing around lumps of coal in Parliament. Next thing they were handing around these shiny gadgets. We decided it was time to take a stand.”
“We want the best for our kids, which is why we’re saving money by burning leftover coal”.
Asked if the launch of the Power Miner is likely to provoke an angry response from those supportive of renewable energy, boss Ms Mars was defiant: “Coal is a national treasure in Australia. You wouldn’t drink a bottle of wine made in a big factory that comes in a steel bottle, would you? But a wine that’s been left to lie for literally millions of years? Now that’s quality. That’s what I’m talking about here”.
The Tourney family say the installation of the Power Miner has slashed their quarterly bill by over ten dollars. “It’s so great to get an immediate payback,” said Mrs Tourney, who paid nearly five thousand dollars for her miniature thermal plant.
Neighbour Argot Preens isn’t quite as impressed with the developments over the fence. “I’m not opposed to people making their own power,” said Mr Preens. “In fact, I’m quite up for it”.
Mr Preens had hoped his neighbours would install solar panels and maybe one day consider a battery, as he’s done. “I’m not one for neighbourly conflict so it’s really up to them how they make their own power. But I do think they should have got planning permission for the cooling tower”.
This article was published on 1 April 2017. Our thanks go to Wordsmith.org for their anagram finder.