Optim Energy provides his community with electricity by leveraging kinetic energy

In Sierra Leone, Jeremiah Thoronka founded Optim Energy to provide people in his community with clean, affordable and reliable energy. His innovative idea is to leverage kinetic energy – the energy objects have when in motion – to generate clean electricity.

When he was 17, he designed a piezoelectric device that harnesses energy from heat, movement and pressure. When installed under a road, it absorbs vibrations from the ongoing traffic to generate electric current -- without any external power source nor emissions!

With only two devices, Optim Energy managed to provide free-of-charge power to 150 households and 15 schools. However, the benefits for the community go beyond its energy needs. Indeed, children's health and school performance improved once they gained access to lighting and lived in smoke-free homes. Also, street lightning increased safety in the neighbourhood, which allowed businesses to stay open later into the evening. Finally, deforestation fell in the area since people no longer rely on firewood.

Why does it matter? In Sierra Leone, only 26% of the population has access to electricity. In rural areas, this proportion plunges to 6%. Most families, therefore, rely on charcoal and firewood to generate heat and light, which leads to poor health conditions and frequent house fires. Moreover, the related deforestation made the country highly vulnerable to climate change, extreme flooding and landslides.

By 2030, Optim Energy intends to provide power to 100,000 people as well as health clinics throughout Sierra Leone. Jeremiah believes that access to energy is a human right. Through his startup, he is developing a sustainable energy system while enhancing education, health and safety in his community 🤩

(Source: bbc.com)