A year ago in his annual statement Bill Gates presented a simple equation to solve the energy problem we face. It’s about the scary combination of growing populations, increased demand and the potentially huge effect on carbon emissions.
At the end of 2016, Pavegen hosted a panel at Mindshare’s Huddle event made of those individuals addressing the problem head on and changing how we access and use our energy in the future. Pavegen call these energy pioneers Generation iO – like the power button.
Despite the fact the light bulb was invented over 100 years ago, 18% of the globe is still without electricity, equivalent to 1.3 billion people, the population of China! For a low-carbon world, we need a whole suite of distributed energy solutions, supporting the wind and solar revolution.
Archie Wilkinson, Head of Pavegen LIVE, has listed his top innovations that are addressing this global issue.
Liter of Light
NGO Liter of Light is dedicated to providing light to homes in communities with limited or no access to electricity. The grassroots movement has now reached 40 countries across the globe and has deployed them in over 1 million homes.
Liter of Light has two products, both with open-source designs. The first uses a recycled plastic bottle filled with water and a splash of bleach, which is then inserted halfway into a corrugated roof. The simple lantern diffracts the light of the daytime sun to provide 75% more illumination than the ambient light in homes without electricity.
The organisation’s second product targets homes in the evening, with a small solar panel which sits on top of the recycled bottle cap. A circuit board and capacitor stores energy from the sun in the day to light homes in the evening and replace dangerous kerosene lights.
Buffalo Grid is scheduled to hit 1 million individuals this year with its elegant charging and communications hub. Powered by solar, the rugged units contains a battery, cellular modem and Wi-Fi antenna. These units, which have been deployed across India, are managed by local entrepreneurs who serve customers and share the revenue generated by the hub.
Open Utility is changing how consumers analyse their energy use. Through a software platform and a partnership with renewable energy supplier Good Energy, consumers are able to see where their renewable electricity has come from – i.e. wind turbine, solar, hydro etc.
Pavegen manufacture pavement tiles to harness the kinetic energy from people walking to provide renewable energy and data. The latest generation of Pavegen produces 3 joules of energy per footstep, enough to take LED street lighting off-grid. Data is produced in real-time to provide information on pedestrian flow and volume. They have also recently developed a way of engaging, analysing and rewarding Pavegen interactions with a digital currency connected to smartphones.
Pavegen recently completed a large permanent installation at the Dupont Circle near the Whitehouse in Washington DC with their new V3 system. The units will provide off-grid lighting, all powered by many thousands of people that visit the site each year.
And closer to home, in January they launched #Step2Start, challenging a select group of London’s top event agencies to burn off the Christmas pudding calories using Pavegen systems. Wunderman came out on top, generating over 3,500 joules.
Wally use the sun to provide access to clean water, electricity and internet connectivity. The invention purifies dirty water or ocean using solar energy and also contains charging ports and a wireless router. This super awesome machine could really improve opportunities in communities with limited resources.
These companies highlight the importance of micro-level decentralised off-grid energy solutions and along with macro-energy supplies these are key if we are to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050. These organisations are embedding purpose into their business models with a focus on the ‘Triple Bottom Line’. We believe that there’s never been a better time for businesses and communities to take that next step, and consider People, Planet and Profits, not as distinct goals but as part of a whole.
Greenhouse often support energy pioneers with their PR, such as SmartestEnergy, Big 60 Million and Moixa. We work with organisations committed to renewable energy and clean tech, getting involved with communications planning, media relations, social strategy and more. Head over to our case study page or blog to find out what else we’ve been up to.