This French start-up is set to democratize self-consumption of energy by helping people to produce their own renewable energy at home - just like growing tomatoes in the garden. How? With a simple little wooden box.
The challenge for Skavenji is creating an energy-maker ecosystem.Founded in Nice in 2016 by Gaël Desperriès, an energy engineer who is anxious about the energy transition, the French start-up Skavenji's mission is to make renewable energy production autonomous and accessible. To do this, it has developed an ingenious box, which allows users to directly produce and consume small amounts of electricity.
Skavenji is a plug-and-play solution based on a box fitted with a small solar panel - easily sited in a living room or office – to which various small additional electrical sources (photovoltaic panel, small wind turbine, generator, etc.) can be connected. Then simply plug the box into a power socket and connect your everyday devices such as telephones, computers, tablets, entertainment system, routers, televisions, lights...
Towards energy self-sufficiencyIt is small-scale domestic production, which doesn’t take you off-grid (the 300 Wh produced per day by the solar panel and additional local sources are not enough to cover the consumption of all appliances, all day) or allow you to re-inject electricity into the grid. Skavenji nevertheless responds to people’s desire for self-sufficiency and is a first step towards sustainable consumption.
In addition, a mobile application displays production and savings, as well as its environmental impact. There are also tutorials to learn how to install your own sources of renewable energy published on a community platform. The challenge, for Skavenji, is "to help the emergence of an energy-maker ecosystem, promote innovation, educate and encourage people to take back ownership of energy issues."
Based on the premise that energy is everyone's business (which is why Skavenji's design and software will be open source), the start-up encourages users to become active producers, design, build and test their creations, be inspired by the achievements of other contributors and share theirs.
Low-tech and circular designInspired by the modular and sustainable Fairphone and the OpenEnergyMonitor project, the Skavenji system is both circular economy and low-tech. The boxes are designed to be sustainable, repairable and reusable. They are manufactured and assembled locally in France with natural materials – when possible reused or recycled.
The name Skavenji is a contraction of the word "scavenge" and the word "energy". It perfectly reflects the start-up’s desire to promote simple, practical and accessible technology where possible recovering old appliances: alternators, dynamos, stepper motors and old solar panels... "The project includes the idea that we can (and should) take advantage of a lot of small unexploited sources of energy," says the Skavenji website.
Funded in part by a crowdfunding campaign launched on the Zeste platform, Skavenji is still in the development phase. The first SkavenjiBoxes are expected to be delivered early in Q3 2019.
Main picture: @NoemieRosset/Veolia