In 2002, young William Kamkwamba from Malawi built a windmill that generated electricity, using (believe it or not) the blue gum tree, bicycle parts and other materials collected from a local scrap yard. He later went on to build a solar-powered pump that supplied drinking water in his village.
Born into relative poverty and barely able to complete his elementary education, Kamkwamba taught himself to build his first windmill from books he read at the local library.
Kamkwamba was a guest at the TED global 2007 in Arusha, Tanzania. Answering questions in an interview at the event, Kamkwamba told the inspiring story of how he used a bicycle frame, a pulley and some plastic to construct a windmill that produced 12 watts of electricity and powered four light bulbs and two radios.