Electric mobility, NFT, stable parts and water pumping solutions to boost Liquidstar’s rural electrification ecosystem
According to February 2021 “Unblock the African mini-grids market”Final report, 60% of the African population lives in rural areas. Only 5% of this rural population has access to modern electricity services. In most cases, these rural customers have low demand for electricity. Low electricity consumption represents a challenge for mini-grid developers in their quest to increase the average level of income and therefore profitability.
The African Mini-Grid Developers Association (AMDA) Africa Mini-Grid Benchmarking Report indicates that the average consumption per customer is around 6.1 kWh per month. This leads to an average monthly revenue per user of around $ 2.96 to $ 4.83, while OPEX costs range between $ 2.50 and $ 6.00 per customer per month. This scenario makes it difficult for private for-profit operators to grow in this sector.
Mini-grids are still one of the fastest ways to extend access to electricity beyond the grid. Utility companies find it difficult to extend the network to these locations as it can be quite a costly exercise. For example, in Nigeria it costs around $ 150 per meter to deploy overhead lines. For traditional centralized mini-grids, transmission and distribution infrastructure also accounts for a huge share of the costs of establishing and operating traditional mini-grids.
Liquidstar is working to revolutionize the off-grid electricity market with its Decentralized Autonomous Utilities (DAU) platform. Scott Salandy-Defour said: “Liquidstar’s platform runs on the rails of the utilities of the future by integrating a blockchain-based stack to efficiently manage identity, transactions and secure meters. By removing the costly elements (power lines and electrical crosslinking systems), Liquidstar’s ‘cordless’ battery-powered sustainable ecosystems aim to solve energy access issues for some of the world’s 1.1 billion people. helpless people in the world.
Liquidstar is now ready to deploy its first sites, starting with Djibouti. Liquidstar recently obtained a grant from USAID to deploy its solution in Djibouti. It is also in various stages of discussion with organizations in Kenya, Nigeria and Benin. In Benin, the company will offer a motorcycle / electric bicycle taxi service with a local partner. “After participating in COP26, we are now carrying out site visits in our target countries. “
At the center of this ecosystem is what they call a “Waypoint” charging station. “We use 20ft sea containers that we custom designed with our partner Blackstump in Australia.” These containers generate between 40 and 60 kWh per day and are used to charge the batteries. Each Waypoint will have 40 X 100 Wh, 40 X 200 Wh and 5 X 2.4 kWh of recycled lithium-ion batteries. This will allow the business to meet a wide range of customer requirements within a community.
In addition, Liquidstar will use the excess electricity to pump and purify the water. “We are also experimenting with the generation of atmospheric water,” Scott explains. The largest 2.4 kWh batteries come from Betteries. Betteries batteries are durable, second-life lithium-ion batteries reused in versatile stackable packs.
“A bigger question for us with Liquidstar is what is the easiest way to turn electricity into money. This is why our solution has evolved to include the supply of electricity and water. We realized that battery rentals alone were not enough. In order to stabilize profits when battery rental usage is low, we mine Green Bitcoin and Ethereum. We also use the Ethereum network to record environmental readings with our Maru prototype and generate non-fungible carbon credit (NFT) tokens from our proprietary solar data logger.
An NFT is a single, non-interchangeable unit of data stored on a digital ledger (Blockchain), according to Wikipedia.
“These carbon credit NFTs will be linked to a larger NFT drop that we are doing with Nicole Buffett and Colin Adair, where the carbon credit NFTs will be represented by Nicole’s mind piece art collection and incorporated into different 3D scenes. If the NFT drop is successful, it will allow us to deploy 10 additional waypoints, but most importantly for NFT holders every three months, the community will be able to vote on how the profits from the charging station are distributed to local entrepreneurs. and non-benefits near stations.
Liquidstar is also working on a power-backed stablecoin linked to local central bank digital currencies, such as the recently launched E-Naira in Nigeria.
“What is unique about our offering and our approach is that we focus on working closely with central banks and finance ministers, but for the end users of our electricity backed coin, we take a percentage of Bitcoin mined, Ethereum mined and carbon credits. and buying local currency by rewarding our end users in the country with what is essentially a usage-based discount that they can spend in the market local.
The percentage of extraction will be paid monthly in local currency, for example, in e-naira and the percentage of carbon credits sold is paid on the basis of the rental of batteries. People who rent batteries and buy water more often will get a larger share of the NFT percentage of the carbon credit.
The last piece of the puzzle is the electric mobility part. Many of these rural communities are cut off from major economic centers due to inadequate transportation and infrastructure services. Liquidstar will also deploy e-bikes that they have developed in-house.
“We designed our own bike because after doing surveys we couldn’t find a bike that meets the demands of cyclists. We also wanted to design something that we would like to use on our own.
Initially, the e-bikes will be used by Liquidstar agents to deliver charged batteries to their customers as well as to recover discharged batteries. She will then open the bikes to community members, starting with a bicycle taxi service. The flexible architecture allows the bikes to be configured in both e-bike mode and more powerful motorcycle mode. The bike Liquidstar is building is in partnership with Hashaam Tariq, founder of EMF Technologies, whom the Liquidstar team met at the World Future Energy Summit in 2020.
Here is a summary of the characteristics of the electric bike:
The bike has a range of around 100 km in a mixed city depending on a number of different aspects e.g. riding style, rider’s weight, weather conditions, temperature, road surface and tire pressure. For high speed driving (70 km / h), the range is approximately 42 km.
1) Configuration of the assistance to the pedal of bicycle: the ultimate mode for the autonomy. It has a top speed limited to 35 km / h (22 mph).
2) Motorcycle configuration: For a mix of active trails and urban walks, with a top speed of 90km / h and good acceleration. This mode is perfect for longer daily journeys and outings in the forest.
Type: External charger from standard 220 V sockets
0-80%: 2 hours
0-100%: 3 hours
Battery Bike Mode:
Cells: 32700 LiFePO4 premium cells
Voltage (nominal): 51.2 V
Capacity: 24 Ah / 1.2 kWh
Features: Removable, can be charged when installed in the bike or separately
Battery in motorcycle mode:
LiFePO4 prism cells
Voltage (nominal): 76.8 V
Capacity: 50 Ah / 3.84 kWh
Features: Removable, can be charged when installed in the bike or separately
Type: Direct drive, chain
Electric motor: Mid Motor, permanent magnet motor
Type: Drive hub
Electric motor: brushless DC motor (hub motor)
Power: 5000W nominal 9000W peak
Electric motorcycle taxis can generate income during the day with the remaining battery pack taken home. The remaining capacity can then be used at home to power the typical low wattage devices found in these rural homes.
Liquidstar has already secured investments. The main investor in Liquidstar is Taizo Son. Taizo Son is the founder of Mistletoe, a community with collective impact that advocates a new style of business through support for startups, to solve social challenges in a medium and long term perspective. It is good to see these innovative solutions focused on electrifying communities in rural areas. We really hope they can evolve quickly.
Images courtesy of Liquidstar
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