Substation33 uses eWaste to build solar flood signs

Flooded road warning signs made from recycled electronic waste and powered by solar energy are the latest innovation from YFS’ social enterprise, Substation 33.

In partnership with Logan City Council and Griffith University, Substation33 started working on the automated signage system last November and has now completed 11 out of the possible hundreds of crossings planned for the Logan region.

The low-cost innovative system allows Logan residents to receive early warning alerts about severe weather and may reduce the risk of people driving into flood water.

Substation33 Manager Tony Sharp said the signs operate using a box with a solar panel that charges a bank of recycled laptop batteries.

“In adverse weather conditions when the creek water crosses a public road, a float switch triggers four LED light panel with the flashing words ‘Road Flooded’ and automatically sends communication to the Logan City Council’s disaster management team to be uploaded on their website,” Mr Sharp said.

With more crossing signs to deliver in the coming weeks, this is a new and exciting venture for Substation33 according to Mr Sharp.

“In the past months we have turned from being a recycling business and innovation hub to a manufacturing facility where volunteers can also create a world class product that has the potential to save lives,” he said.

“Substation33 is a place for innovation and we have the smarts here in Logan. Our focus is people. We want to make sure we are always operating high quality support for people,” he added.

Substation33 operates as an electronic waste recycling centre in Logan, providing a workplace where volunteers and employees gain confidence and skills for the transition to sustainable employment. It currently recycles 12,000 kilograms of electronic waste every month.