Growing Greener Innovations new product, The Grengine.

One day while strolling her three-month old twins, Connie Stacey noticed a loud, and obnoxious generator by a house being built. It was unsettling – especially because her twins were peacefully asleep. 

Connie Stacey (left) during the design process.

 “Why do we use those things?” she says. “Environmentally – they are absolutely horrific, [and] in terms of practical use they are expensive to use, incredibly loud [and] heavy… why not use some kind of battery system that would be environmentally far better, silent, [and] that would be lightweight if using new battery technology?”

After countless hours of research and inventing, Connie Stacey, mad scientist and innovator, launched her site, Growing Greener Innovations and released her new product to the world: the Grengine.

“One of the founding principals for me is I wanted to build a company that was environmentally friendly,” Says Stacey. 

Just one hour of using a gas powered generator produces the same CO (Carbon Monoxide) as a car traveling from Los Angeles to Atlanta"

Portable generators can provide electricity to electrical appliances and tools that are used outdoors, during construction, or in emergency situations. By making the battery system interchangeable, rather than throwing out the whole product once it stops working, individual pieces can be replaced.

“As someone who really strives to do something better for the environment to make genuine change, I hate planned obsolescence” says Stacey. “Companies have been doing this for decades now [and] it has no other real purpose other than to make money.”

Companies are at fault of planned obsolescence when they purposely design their products to last for a short time with pieces that cannot be easily replaced, hence leading the person to buy more.

However, Stacey says that,  “even the best batteries in the world eventually are going to need to be replaced or recycled.” She decided to design her products so that if a more efficient battery were to be developed, rather than throwing out the entire Grengine, only the battery would need to be replaced.

Stacey also aspires to make her products into pieces so that people can stop consuming excess. “When you think back to the original philosophy of environmentalism, its reduce, reuse, recycle, and we so often forget about reduce” she says.

It is estimated that in Canada, each gas powered generator produces 2.619 tones of greenhouse gasses (GHG) per year. This means that each year gas powered generators in total produce an astounding total of 1 624 440 tones of GHG’s per year.

Just one hour of using a gas powered generator produces the same CO (Carbon Monoxide) as a car traveling from Los Angeles, US, to Atlanta. Carbon Monoxide is a lethal poisonous gas that is the leading cause of fatal poisonings in North America.

This picture does not look better for countries in Africa or the Middle East that lack a power grid – gas powered generators provide the bulk of the power, adds Stacey. Given that our planet's hottest regions are already struggling under the impacts of rising temperatures and unclean air, the toxic emissions from gas powered generators will only increase pollution and make the problems that much worse. That's why the zero emissions from The Grengine is safer to use from an environmental perspective.

By making the battery stackable one can easily switch out batteries that have been drained to have consistent power.

The Grengine uses a Lithium-Ion battery rather than a Lead-Acid Battery. A Lithium-Ion battery lasts longer, will not be damaged if not fully charged, wastes little to no efficiency, and requires little maintenance.

The Grengine as a whole also weighs much less than a conventional gas powered generator, is quiet, and can be stored in any space without worry of toxic gas build up. Overall – this little generator packs a punch, and as a bonus is also much friendlier to the environment.

Stacey says “If I can do something – some piece that helps everybody make that step towards being a bit cleaner, being a bit better, well, that’s a life purpose right there.”

Veronika Szostak is a student at the University of Waterloo in the Environment and Resource Studies program. She is a volunteer at A/J and aspires to become a journalist, artist, and environmentalist.

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