Dutch events, street parties, festivals and open air markets consume 15 million litres of diesel every year. In off- grid situations it is common to use fuel generators as a power supply, but these generators typically have low energy efficiency, emit vast amounts of CO2, smell bad, and make a lot of noise.
To make this sector more sustainable, a more sustainable alternative needs to replace the diesel generators.
“Together with other students I started a project in the industrial product design course to come up with a solution for this,” says Wattsun founder Koen Olieslagers (28 years old). “Right away I understood that the potential reached much further than just events, but also in many other markets. That’s why I decided to set up my own business. And so, I started Wattsun.” Initially the focus was on product development but it soon turned out to be necessary to add commercial know how. Bart Hendriks (24, finance student) stepped in. “I already knew Koen from our students years. At that time I was still a recruiter, but while talking with Koen about his plans, I got really enthusiastic. I wanted to be part of it.”
With its two different modules, a “Dock” and a “Pack”, the Wattsun is a portable plug & play power supply that increases in capacity through stacking units. The “Dock” (basic module) is equipped with a 230 volt socket and can be charged with (sustainable) main power or renewable energy. When the “Dock” runs out, you simply put a “Pack” on top and they will be automatically link. The smart operating system controls the rest. The top “Pack” of the stack delivers energy first. And when its’ empty? Then the “Pack” below begins to supply energy. By changing the “Packs” you are continuously supplied with power.
For Koen and Bart, the drive to make this product is two-fold. “It gives you a kick to make a difference in the current energy transition that we all face,” says Koen. Bart adds: “In addition, business and developing your own product is extremely instructive and challenging.” The challenge with product development is that you have to make a product that you can bring to market as quickly as possible. Koen and Bart have a lot of other ideas that they want to develop in the future and may want to apply to the product, for example: upgrades for the next versions. According to Koen the challenge is not just the development of the product. “There’s a lot involved in running a company, and InnoEnergy Benelux and Generation-E support helped us here. You can take part in meetings and events, but also make use of specialists’ knowledge in the field of entrepreneurship and sustainable energy. You build a valuable network that way. For instance, a legal specialist gave us insight into the importance of good conditions of purchase. It’s great when you can do some brainstorming with other people every now and then. A 15-minute call can bring you 10 steps closer to your goal.”
Bart and Koen hope to launch their product in 2018. They are now busy obtaining CE certification for the Wattsun. “People believe in our product. Not only people who work in event organisations but also in the construction and rental sectors, as well as private individuals, such as boat owners. It’s now a matter of perseverance.”
If you want to meet bart and Koen, or see Wattsun’s sustainable power supply unit for events yourself, come and visit them during The Business Booster on the 25 and 26 October in the RAI Amsterdam. For tickets go to: TBB.com