Twenty-three teams from around the world have been chosen as global finalists in IEEE’s Empower a Billion Lives, an innovation competition.
The goal of the competition is to identify and promote cutting-edge, high-impact solutions to extreme poverty and lack of access to energy in the developing world. Solutions are expected to be scalable, regionally relevant, holistic, and should leverage 21st-century technologies with exponentially declining prices.
Unfortunately, billions around the world live in severe energy poverty, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. There are 3 billion people in the world living in energy poverty, and over 1 billion people without any access to electricity, according to the IEEE Empower a Billion Lives non-profit organization. Thus far, only 1.8 million people have gained tier 2 energy access by using off-grid electric services. To address energy poverty, new strategies are needed to scale energy access solutions 1000x.
Clean, affordable energy can drastically improve standards of living and prosperity and encourage social and economic development. IEEE Empower a Billion Lives offers a means for multi-disciplinary teams to devise and demonstrate economical energy access technologies and business models that bring electricity access to the rural poor.
After successfully completing two previous stages of Empower a Billion Lives including regional “pitch” competitions–the last of which was at IEEE Power Electronics Society’s Decentralized Energy Access Solutions workshop in Atlanta–these teams will now field test their solutions to prove them before the Global Final in Baltimore in September.
“We hope Empower a Billion Lives will accomplish a lot of vetting and due diligence in the energy access market, and let investors and other interested parties identify great companies to work with,” said Dr. Deepak Divan, Empower a Billion Live’s Chair. “We also want to give innovative teams the resources and profile they need to succeed.”
The competition began with more than four hundred and fifty teams registered, and over one hundred and seventy proposals were accepted and reviewed. Among those proposals, those from eighty-three teams were approved by expert reviewers, and those teams were invited to attend one of five regional competitions.
The twenty-three Global Finalists that will offer compelling, state-of-the-art innovations, and include entrepreneurs du Monde & Okra, Nanoé, SoULS Initiative, IIT Bombay, Xpower – Next Generation Micro-Grids, AgroHub, APOLLO, Baobab+, Bombay Bijlee, Café Lumière, Cygni Energy, Dream Grid, FDU Lighting Up, GreenSpark, Havenhill Synergy Limited, Perryman & Energime University, [email protected], Reeddi, Simusolar, Smart Grids Lab, Solageo & Partners, Solaris Offgrid, SolarWorX, and Winnie the Power.