Despite Nigeria being Africa’s largest oil producer, the country continues to experience an energy crisis that is costly for businesses, government and citizens. In fact, 43 per cent of the country’s population does not have access to grid electricity.
However, work and life must carry on, contributing to a heavy reliance on back-up generators across the country. These costly diesel-powered generators are harmful to the environment. The situation makes it difficult to not only start a business but to run it as well.
“We came up with a solution that is not only good for the environment but is also reliable and sustainable,” said Emmanuel Ezenwere, CEO and Co-founder of the organisation.
Ezenwere was one of 15 entrepreneurs selected from an application pool of nearly 700 start-ups who participated in the Africa ClimAccelerator – first pan-African accelerator focused on scaling the most promising climate-focused innovations.
The solution developed by Arone Energy is called Powerhub, a compact, light and sleek cuboid unit that can be charged using solar power, a generator or electricity mains. It is easily portable and when fully charged, can power a standing fan, a 45-watt television and three lightbulbs for 10 hours. The popular unit currently provides affordable, uninterrupted power supply to thousands of homes and businesses.
“Our Powerhub provides the best power/energy storage capacity-to-cost ratio. This has enabled us to provide an uninterrupted power supply because we have significantly reduced the cost barrier. We focused on reducing cost because it greatly hampers access to power for millions of our citizens whether in their homes or businesses,” he added.
Arone Energy started with the provision of logistics infrastructures like drones, drone delivery, drone operations and licenses before venturing into electronics. It used smart aerial logistics technology powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and renewable energy sources to deliver medical supplies from urban health facilities to those in remote, rural areas using drones.
The start-up is supporting government initiatives to meet the country’s sustainability goals by accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources.
“The significant impact of Powerhubs is that most of our customers are moving away from generators and relying solely on our devices to power their homes and businesses. By doing this, we are offsetting carbon dioxide emissions,” explained Ezenwere.
The smallest unit of the Powerhub device costs approximately € 360 (160.000 Naira) while the largest unit costs approximately € 610 (270.000 Naira). Customers also have the option of paying in instalments.
The devices are already positively impacting the environment and communities in various ways. For instance, the use of Powerhubs has achieved over € 16.000 (7.3 million Naira) cumulative savings in generator fueling and maintenance costs and has offset 2.3 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Arone’s vision is to pioneer breakthrough energy solutions with Powerhub as the starting point. The start-up aims to produce even more new energy solutions to improve the quality of life for millions of Nigerians and to expand its physical footprint with more factories and offices across the globe.
The Africa ClimAccelerator was designed to enhance the development and deployment of innovative technology to accelerate climate-positive business solutions for a net-zero Africa. From January to June 2022, programme was delivered by partner organisations GrowthAfrica and the Carbon Trust, supported by the Climate-KIC International Foundation and funded by the German Corporation for International Cooperation GmbH (‘GIZ’) exclusively on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (‘BMZ’).
An original version of this article was published here on 14 April.