Growing greener, getting smarter: the rise of a new age
Connie Stacey is in the energy storing business, which is perfect given that she’s full of energy. She’s the mastermind behind Growing Greener Innovations, and hopes to bring her world-changing energy storage system to the masses.
They call it the Grengine, but it could be the answer to global energy poverty, as well as blackouts and unreliable power literally anywhere.
The Grengine is a completely silent, scalable, portable, and buildable battery that can not only compete with traditional gas generators, but surpass them. It’s chargeable by anything that meets the minimum voltage of five volts, which includes any wall outlet, solar power, and hand-crank.
Recently, the World Bank Group came out with a report titled “Energy Storage Trends and Opportunities in Emerging Markets” which had a list of installed cost per kilowatt hour for different types of batteries. The lowest cost batteries were lithium ion, and the installment cost was over $2100 USD per kilowatt hour. The Grengine’s retail installment cost is under $600 USD. How is this possible? For Grengine, there’s no electrician needed and it’s infinitely scalable. It would be accurate to say that they’ve put the electrician in the box.
The installment cost for normal batteries is so high because a trained electrician connects every single battery to the next, one at a time. But the Grengine’s batteries just need to be stacked onto each other, making it an easy and quick process – like Legos.
This helps promote local economies since instead of bringing in outside experts, you can bring in locals, and therefore create local economic growth. As Connie said, “If you’re in sub-saharan Africa, your next-door-neighbor isn’t an electrician. If you’re going to a place that does not have grid access, or has an unstable grid, that’s probably not the case, right?”
The Grengine’s easy system allows those that wouldn’t normally have access to energy, a whole new world of opportunities. And while those living in privileged societies might not comprehend it, energy poverty exists, and it is extremely common. In fact, more than 1.2 billion people live by candlelight, and more than 2.6 billion people need to burn biomass in order to generate energy to cook food. “More than half of the world’s population live with unstable energy access,” adds Connie. “The ultimate goal of the Grengine is to change that.”
However, it can also be used in the world’s most modern communities and buildings. It’s scaleable nature as well as its storage capabilities means that it can be used at a scale that works for everything and anything, from charging a phone to powering an entire city. In developed areas it provides electrical load management for reducing costs and power outages. It saves a lot of money for users, especially in areas with time of use fees.
While their units currently use Canadian innovation, many components are sourced and assembled abroad. Connie says they’d prefer to have everything done one hundred percent here.
“The Edmonton metro region has an enormous advantage in manufacturing, especially given the low cost of and stability of the electricity here, our access to feedstocks including lithium, and that our universities and colleges both attract and generate amazingly talented people.
“Canada has more Free Trade agreements than any other G7 country in the world, and we’re roboticizing manufacturing, which results in the capacity to substantially increase profit margins. We’re a great destination for advanced manufacturing companies.” Connie’s passion for the Edmonton metro region is contagious and she strongly encourages other companies to investigate the region’s advantages.
“You’d be very, very hard-pressed to even find five cities in the world even competitive with the Edmonton metro region when you look at the big-picture.”