Meet the Young Innovators Selected at the Renewable Energy Innovation Challenge Demo Day


Twenty-four young innovators, aged between 20-25 years, pitched their sustainability ideas and projects at the Renewable Energy Innovation Challenge Demo Day at the University of Nairobi on 28 March.

  • Five feasible ideas were selected for the final round: Seaweed, Kendrogen, Umeme Sense, Mobilab, and Suntrack.
  • The winners of the challenge were Khamis Muniru and Edwin Maingi who pitched a device called ‘Suntrack’ to monitor changes in energy demand.
  • The first runners was ‘Umeme Sense’ by Mercy Rono, Sheilah Otuko, and Sylvia Maina.

Both ideas were focused on helping consumers of renewable energy track their electricity usage for analysis and informed decision making. For instance, the Suntrack system allows a solar power customer to pinpoint how much power each electrical device consumes.

“Many solar adopters are exploited in the market because they do not know what kind of system they need in place. There are inaccuracies when customers purchase solar power equipment based on hours. By installing this device called Suntrack, it will be capable of monitoring changes in your energy demand allowing you to enter the market with real-time knowledge,” Khamis Muniru said.

According to Khamis, understanding such metrics would enable customers to know exactly how many solar panels or inverters are needed to effectively power their homes.

The third position was clinched by ‘Mobilab’, a startup founded by Marybrenda Nyaboke and Soysline Wamoto, that intends to link students in areas with no digital or science infrastructure with hands-on practical knowledge thanks to solar-powered buses. Guests voted another innovation called ‘HyPro station’ as their favourite idea.

  • All the innovations were pitched by university students who had identified various gaps in industrial, organizational, and domestic transitions to green energy.
  • Each team’s presentation included a profit-projection model and market research.
  • Each of the winners, including the crowd favourite, won cash prizes between Kshs. 10, 000 and Kshs. 150, 000.

“Through the Renewable Energy Innovation Challenge, we have been able to mentor and journey with young people from across the country who have come up with impressive innovative solutions, proving that the youth have what it takes to ideate and implement green solutions that solve current and pressing socio-economic issues in the country,” Karen Chelang’at, Chief Innovation Officer, Jacob’s Ladder Africa said.

“The University of Nairobi remains committed to supporting entrepreneurship, innovation, and commercialization of solutions that address different challenges in the country and welcomes opportunities for like-minded collaborations,” said Professor Mary Kinoti, director of UoN Intellectual Property Management.

Opportunity

KendrogenMobilabRenewable Energy Innovation Challenge Demo DaySeaweedSuntrack.Umeme Sense

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