In the summer of 2015, Ouishare’s teams embarked on a big adventure: bringing together designers, engineers and scientists in a French castle to prototype a zero carbon and zero waste society. During 5 weeks, 12 sustainable technologies were developed and an international community of innovators was created. 4 years later, we wanted to know what happened next: what was the impact of POC21 for the teams that worked there? Where are they now? What are their next steps? An encounter with those who are preparing for a post-carbon society with low tech.
What did POC21 bring to your project?
Solar OSE is a solar concentrator that transforms solar energy into steam to use in food processing: cooking, pasteurization, distillation… It is also possible to add an engine to it to create electricity. The device is an energy brick which, unlike photovoltaics, only incorporates simple metals: copper, steel or, aluminium and can also be used to create electricity.… This project is developed within Open Source Ecology.
Hugo for Solar Ose. Beyond being an intense learning experience for the whole team, POC21 saved us about a year in the development of the project: by forcing us to free up time for the project, providing us with all the necessary tools and giving us access to funding.
Faircap is an open source antibacterial water filter that provides access to drinking water for all. It can be screwed to the mouth of a bottle, which makes it possible to drink drinking water from any source: tap, well, river, stream…
Mauricio for Faircap. Because the design was createddone collaboratively with the support of the community (advice, networking, technical skills), we were able to go through the process smoothly while saving time and resourcescomplete the steps easily and in a short time. Under “normal” conditions, we estimate that the development of our product would have cost us about €80,000. Also, POC21 allowed us to optimize the use of the grant we received from the Humanitarian Innovation Fund. Instead of just one product, we have manufactured a range of products and accessories as a result of POC21: a bottle filter, a family filter with a pump that also eliminates viruses, a special bottle for the outdoor and travel market, a version of the sports bottle filter and, a version with activated carbon for running water.
MyFood is an automated greenhouse that combines permaculture and aquaponics. It aims to encourage households to produce their own food, even in small spaces and with an optimized yield.
Mickael for MyFood. For us, what counted a lot was the visibility that the innovation camp gave us: through the media on the one hand and through public visits on the other. The meeting with the general public allowed us to validate the relevance of the concept and encouraged us to start working on the project full-time at the end of the event.
What happened after that? Where are you now?
Hugo. We validated the proper functioning of Solar Ose in 2016 with the kilowatt output, automatic sun monitoring and maximum temperature announced in the wake of POC21. Since then, we have launched a professional version: this one is four times more powerful and 10m long. We are at the limit of industrial size, let’s say that it is adapted to the size of an eco-village that would like to be self-sufficient in terms of energy for its economical activities. The computer design is now almost finished, so we want to move to manufacturing in 2020.
Mauricio. Since POC21, numerous collaborations have enabled us to develop new types of filters and new products. To develop new filters, it is essential that we carry out screening tests. These normally require expensive equipment, a laboratory, supplies and experienced personnel. To overcome this constraint, we have made the test process open and distributed: we have created a test kit that we send to researchers or NGOs wishing to test them on their filtering issues. We have created many partnerships with universities and NGOs (University of Barcelona, R0g agency in Berlin, etc.) The other area of development is new products. For example, we plan to create a filter with Soulbottles glass bottles so that users can drink tap water. Today, nearly half of the people who have access to tap water do not drink it because it is cloudy or because it has a bad taste. With a project like this, we could help reduce the purchase of plastic bottles. In addition, it would support our business model and social mission: for every filter purchased in Europe, we could offer a family filter to an NGO.
Mickael. We created the company with our own funds and installed the first 50 greenhouses in a year and a half. We then launched our first fundraising campaign to continue to develop the project and finance the team. To date, we have installed 200 connected greenhouses and we are 10 people working on MyFood. We have just launched a second participatory fundraising campaign with the crowd equity Lita platform.
What do you need to go further?
Hugo. The association is open and we would be happy to integrate new recruits who recognize themselves in the project: technical skills are welcome but not only… We would like to relaunch the think tank and event component to which we now have little time to devote.
Mauricio. We believe in the power of collaboration and are therefore open to new opportunities to reach the market (co-branding, distribution, communications, reporting, marketing, etc.) like the collaborationas with Soulbottles in Berlin. Feel free to contact us if you have any ideas! In addition, we have been selected by MIT as part of the Solve program, and you can vote for Faircap and discover the other projects here!
Mickael. Our current challenge is to make ourselves known to a wider audience. Our decentralized greenhouses are a relevant response to the need to decentralize food production, particularly to reduce carbon production in the food sector. Today, we are not very well presented from this angle, it is something we want to work on, especially with the support of the media.
Hugo & Solar Ose – [email protected]
Mauricio & Faircap – [email protected]
Mickael & MyFood – [email protected]
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