Having clean water and energy in some parts of the world is a challenge that has yet to be met. One of the solutions that catches our attention is a small “box”, designed by an Italian company, which has technology to fulfill a double function: guaranteeing drinking water and generating renewable energy.
OffGridBox, is a box capable of collecting, treating and distributing drinking water. All thanks to a five-stage microfiltration tank that absorbs water and produces clean, bacteria-free drinking water. In addition, it can generate, convert and store solar energy by means of panels installed on the top. It also incorporates two small wind turbines to generate electricity. An innovative “two in one” that can help many families around the world.
The product has the capacity to serve up to 1,500 people per unit. The most basic model has 12 solar modules, an inverter and a storage battery. Measuring one and a half meters, it is capable of supplying energy for 300 families, and each unit is capable of charging three lights with autonomy of 4 hours and two mobile phones.
After three years in the market, the product has already been tested by non-profit organizations in Madagascar, Nigeria, Rwanda, Colombia, among other places.
Another part of the production was sold to private consumers, partly nature lovers who have found a good accessory with OffGridBox to go to the campsites. Some units went to the Philippines, helping people affected by the typhoon in 2013. Ideal for isolated areas.
The biggest obstacle to this “magic box” is its price: $15,000. “In Italy it is not easy to find the right funding, mentors or acceleration programs,” says founder and CEO Emiliano Cecchini.
The project has been selected for an acceleration program in Boston, Cecchini will take the opportunity to reshape the business. A family of four will pay 12 cents (Rwandan francs 100) a day for water, the batteries will be subsidized by the company. The idea is already being tested in Rwanda, where the company plans to install units in 18 villages. Even the local government has already hired 14 people to work in rural areas. With this alliance, OffGridBox aims to satisfy 420,000 customers in 2020.
In the future, the idea is that each unit can have Wi-Fi for associated business activities, thus opening up other possibilities to make profitable and create a business model that works.