British Columbia

Students at Okanagan College create solar-powered table to charge cellphones

Josh Wiebe, Cooper Simson and Nick Gallant came up with the idea for an outdoor table that doubles as a charging station and enlisted the help of engineering students to get their idea off the ground. Now, they're heading to Calgary for the chance to win $20,000 to get their product to market.

'We were outside and wanted to charge our phones and work at the same time.'

Cooper Simson is one of three students behind the creation of a solar-powered table that charges your phone. The first one was installed at the Kelowna campus and the group has been given the go-ahead to have them installed at the Penticton, Vernon and Salmon Arm campuses. (Dominika Lirette/CBC)

​Students at Okanagan College unveiled an outdoor table that doubles as a charging station at Okanagan College's Kelowna campus this week.

The table is the first creation by Project ReCharge — an initiative aiming to integrate solar technology with everyday objects.

The idea came when business students Nick Gallant and Cooper Simson joined with civil engineering student Josh Wiebe to find ways to charge their cellphones while enjoying the outdoors.

"A few of us had wanted to do something with solar energy," said Gallant.

"We were outside and wanted to charge our phones and work at the same time."

They enlisted the help of three more engineering students on campus to design and perfect their idea.

From left to right: Josh Wiebe, Cooper Simson and Nick Gallant came up with the idea for the charging table and enlisted the help of three other engineering students to make it a reality. (Dominika Lirette/CBC )

The group has been given the go-ahead to install similar tables at the college's Penticton, Vernon and Salmon Arm campuses. 

The team will be heading to Calgary on March 1 to compete with against twelve other regional finalists and could win a spot in the national Scotiabank EcoLiving Green Challenge, which asks student teams to showcase environmentally sustainable business ideas.

They will also be competing for a $20,000 grant that will allow them to expand and get their product to market.

"We're looking at restaurants and schools and bars and areas like that, that already have existing tables but they would like to allow customers to charge their phone at the same time," said Gallant.

With files from Daybreak South and Dominika Lirette

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