Microgrids for a brighter future – IMPRESSO #20

In this edition: sharing electricity through solar powered peer-to-peer microgrids, snowflake paint against climate change and city planning improved by sharing bike data.


Share electricity. Brighten the future.

While having energy available 24-7 is just a matter of fact for us, it is still a luxury for (far too) many people. With the government in Bangladesh promoting solar panels, some found their way into the most remote villages. A startup called me-solshare found a way to enable persons with a panel sharing their energy surplus with a neighbour who cannot afford buying a panel himself. And the outcome is remarkable: those villagers practically create their own local mini peer-to-peer power grid! And I love their mission statement: “Create a network. Share electricity. Brighten the future.” After the installation of the micro-grid in the rural town of Mymensingh, one happy girl’s comment says it all: “Light makes a lot of things easier. Like cooking and studying”. Imagine rolling that out across the planet, giving even the most remote areas access to energy. That’s what I call making an impact at the intersection of entrepreneurship, leadership and innovation! Watch Video


Snowflake paint against climate change

An A/C is a great way to keep you cool. But when it comes to climate change they are a doom loop. Rising temperatures push the demand for A/Cs. But their increased use and energy consumption pushes temperatures even higher. Emissions resulting from air conditioning are expected to double (!) in the near future. A research team at Columbia Engineering might have found a solution: Painting houses with an innovative super-reflective polymer coating that makes your AC obsolete by mirroring basic structures of snowflakes. While not only helping your personal energy bill, this paint may also significantly curb emissions. If you’re interested in the detailed science behind it, read the full article published in Science Magazine. If you want a quick and short overview, simply watch the video


Improve your city’s street map with your bike

Riding a bike is good for your health and if you’re using one of those popular dockless bikes out there, your activity also has a positive side-effect: It improves your city’s streets and planning! Companies like the Silicon Valley startup Lime anonymously track the bike’s journeys – starting and end points, duration, length, route, etc. – with the underlying GPS function. And local authorities can then use that data (e.g. a heat map where the most riders are located) to determine the best locations of new bike paths or decide where protected bike lanes are particularly useful. Isn’t that a great way to use data? Read more