In the next of our catch ups with GapSummit 2017 VoT teams, second-place winner Team EverGreen's Joe Kennerly and Olivier Nijhuis give us an update on where they're taking their Energy Spaces idea.
Data from: U.S-Energy-Information-Administration, International Energy Outlook. U.S. Department of Energy, Washington DC, 2016.
What was the Gap you set out to address and what solution are you pursuing?
We were assigned the Sustainability Gap, and the problem we identified was the continued growing need for liquid transportation fuel, insufficient supply of electric replacements, and an increasing need to limit our use of fossil fuels due to climate change.
Global demand for liquid fuels is still rising, mostly due to expansion in the worldwide transport sector. 66 billion barrels of diesel and petrol will be burnt to power our transport sector between now and 2040. This energy need cannot be met solely using fossil fuels, if the world is committed to combatting climate change.
At the same time, popular renewables, like wind and solar, almost exclusively target the electricity market. Electrification of ground transport is not expected to outpace growing demand for reliable, energy-dense liquid fuels, and electric vehicles still only represent approximately 0.15% of the worldwide transport sector.
Our proposed solution is Energy Spaces. Energy Spaces is a household rooftop-mounted bioreactor that utilises algae to produce biodiesel. Unlike solar installations, which are designed to output electrical energy, Energy Spaces produces liquid fuel to capitalise on existing automotive infrastructure and address the continued need for liquid fuels in a more environmentally friendly fashion.
How did you all find the VoT Idea Challenge, and what were the biggest takeaways from the experience?
GapSummit 2017’s Voices of Tomorrow Challenge showcased some fantastic solutions to problems in the healthcare and energy sectors. The challenge prompted great discussion and collaboration between the Leaders of Tomorrow, bringing together internationally-distributed networks of expertise to help transform the ideas presented at GapSummit into real, impactful products. Team EverGreen took away a valuable network of advisors to help support future development of the Energy Spaces idea.
What are the next steps you’re taking to move your idea forward?
Energy Spaces is currently being pitched to accelerators and innovation organisations around UK, in search of further support and validation. We’re in discussion refinements to the system with some clean technology experts in the US and UK and hope to secure backing that will help us start developing a prototype in 2018.
What is Team EverGreen looking for to help develop their idea into a business?
The Energy Spaces project would benefit greatly from added technical capabilities, particularly chemical and process engineering related to algal biofuels. We’re also looking for help constructing our business case and would welcome team members with start-up business experience, particularly in the clean energy space.
Team Evergreen is made up of:
Joseph is an qualified process engineer working in bioreactor-based manufacturing for Oxford BioMedica in the UK
Olivier is a Global Operations Graduate Associate at AstraZeneca based in Stockholm, Sweden.