Smart Energy Challenge: NFGL innovators set to take centre stage

Learn more about some of the bright ideas from NFGL members who are competing in the finals of the Smart Energy Challenge 2017.

Smart Energy Challenge: NFGL innovators set to take centre stage

Last spring SI began accepting entries for the Smart Energy Challenge 2017, a competition designed to generate new ideas for ways to “influence others to live more sustainably by reducing energy use”.

The competition focuses on sustainable energy related to three of the 17 United Nations goals:

     Goal 13: reducing climate change

     Goal 12: ensuring sustainable consumption patterns

     Goal 7: establishing reliable energy sources

Specifically, the contest called for ideas to answer the following question:

“How can we nudge people towards energy efficiency in a fun way?”

Entrants in the challenge contest were tasked with coming up with “innovative and creative ideas for reducing energy use”.

As the finalists prepared to gather in Stockholm for a two-day event organized by the Social Entrepreneurship Forum starting on November 16th, SI News heard from several finalists from the NFGL network about their ideas and how they hoped to change the world.

How to minimize the accumulation of waste and manage waste created by international student mobility?

Ekatherina Zhukova (Sweden)

My project is about solving the problem of waste accumulation created by international student mobility. How to provide information to international students and staff to minimize waste accumulation upon arrival and whom to engage to manage the accumulated waste upon departure (e.g., dorm janitors, charities, waste organisations)?

I was motivated by two things: to raise awareness about the problem of waste created by international student and staff mobility; and secondly, my current presence in Sweden as a researcher encouraged me to participate in as many events as possible,

I truly appreciate the recycling system in the accommodation where I live in Lund.  However, when it comes to bulky accumulated waste (e.g., duvet, pillow, chair, clothes, footwear, etc.), there is neither information, nor an organised system about what to do with it and where to go. This should be changed.

I hope to learn practical tools of putting my idea into life – where do I start, with whom do I talk, whom do I encourage to move it forward. I would also like to learn about ideas of others, so that I can compare their approach to mine and be inspired, too.


Carbonica – a GHG Analysis Platform Andres Felipe

Suarez Correor (Sweden)

Carbonica is a digital platform for greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) tracking and analysis. It aims to decarbonize society through consumer behaviour changes and accurate data about the carbon footprint of products and services.

Since I started my studies, I have been interested in energy systems and how to optimize them. Moreover, my generation is facing many challenges on how to produce, distribute, and consume energy because our current infrastructure is not sustainable. Therefore, I believe engineering is an important field to build science-based solutions towards a more sustainable society.

In Sweden, sustainability is a topic that really matters for the government and society. Here, it’s easy to get caught by this philosophy and to have the chance to see how a society is working towards a better world.

I want to learn how to make this digital platform possible. It’s a draft idea for making a high impact on society with a low implementation cost, but my expertise is limited so I need to have some feedback. In addition, I would like to learn about other projects and offer my help in topics I feel confident about.


Integral waste management systems for clean energy security and agricultural sustainability 

Monserrat González (Mexico)

My project provides an integral waste-treatment system, a ‘biodigester’ that reduces water contamination, the use of chemical fertilizers, the use of biomass and fossil fuels, deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions directed to smallholder farmers. 

I believe the project will reduce social, environmental and economic impacts. However, there are still great limitations to the dissemination of the technology, therefore I saw the Challenge as a great learning experience in that sense. 

I see entering the Challenge as a great opportunity to work towards a better future for all. I hope to learn a lot about others’ experiences, as well as how to breakdown some of the barriers to dissemination of the technology. 

I hope to get a greater vision on the smart energy sector and on how it could have a greater impact.


Energy Clash App

Natalie Lopez/Imran Zahoor (Sweden)

We hope to entice people in the cities to consume less energy and people in rural areas to use their space to install clean energy sources like solar panels and wind turbines, and then sell the energy back to grid in order to power local communities.

We love any challenge in life that we know can have a positive impact in society and the planet. Through this app we will be able to educate the average person on healthy energy consumption habits and give more clean energy to the country.

Sweden has always been an example to the rest of the world in terms of its commitment to sustainability. The average Swede is very concerned about the environment and there is a strong support for sustainable initiatives.

Hopefully we will be able to get feedback from experts in order to develop a very lean startup and help Sweden achieve 100 percent renewable energy sooner than the 2040 target. Our app aims to be something that can be enjoyed by everyone in the family and to show that sustainability doesn't have to be boring.


Save your energy; transform your calories to electricity

Sai San Moon Lu (Sweden)

My project is about burning your calories to generate electricity: The energy used for physical exercise (e.g. playing on cycling machine) are be stored and transformed to electricity for daily personal energy usage (i.e. phone/laptop charging).

I was motivated by the fact that there are always alternative ways to utilize energy efficiently and be environmentally friendly.

At the finals, I hope to be able to integrate the shared idea and transforming the idea into actions


Pay for the Carbon WE Produce

Getnet Bitew (Ethiopia)

My project is aiming at leading a happy life and taking responsibility for the next generation. I am concerned by the increasing number of people who are more self-centred and do not care for humankind and future generations.

I want reduce the wasting of resources and reduce carbon emissions. I believe that both education (a change in attitude) and being accountable for our actions will improve our way of life. Sweden is a country with a narrower gap between poor and rich, and is more concerned about the environment. I appreciate the government’s and the people’s concern and action for the environment.

I hope many of the participants bring their ideas for reaching our common goal. I hope to learn more from others and shape my own views. 


Integration of Curtain opening System with Lighting in households

Henry Nkweto (Sweden)

My project aims to integrate an automatic curtain opening system with lighting.

Living in a sustainable society is my major motivation. Energy is an important component in buildings. Currently, energy use in buildings is gradually increasing due to increased population and wealth, and 80 percent of energy use today comes from fossil fuels. This has contributed to global climate change. Therefore, it’s important to optimize energy usage in sectors such as buildings.

This opportunity has allowed me to develop an idea that will optimize energy use. In addition, it’s enabled me to understand sustainable energy resources, energy efficiency measures, and policy making.

I look forward to learning more about how I can develop my idea into a finished product. In addition, I also want to learn from what other people have done.


P2T (Pedal to Travel) – An IoT Solution to Pedal and promote Public Transport

Kaustubh Karnataki (India)

P2T – Pedal to Travel, is a direct method of nudging people towards cycling and using public transport. Through the P2T mobile application, the public can get their travel card recharged by cycling.

My experience in working in a sustainable technology start-up in India moulded my thoughts to orient my future journey towards new business ideas. I believe contests like the Smart Energy Challenge act as a platform for innovative ideas and help bring the idea to reality.

A business and entrepreneurship course at KTH involved coming up with an innovative idea, doing market research, pitching to investors, and developing functional prototype. When I heard about Smart Energy Challenge, I saw this as a wonderful breakthrough to present my idea and potentially have a direct impact in cities’ efforts to encourage sustainable public transport.

Listening to inspiring entrepreneurs ignites the passion within aspiring ones. I hope to network with experienced entrepreneurs, pitch the idea, understand its potential to make a difference, and get their feedback on how to make this a reality.


Mama Map 

Mahmoud Hanafy (Sweden)

The Mama GPS application checks the destination you picked on the map, and guides you to the nearest transportation stop with a free parking spot.

Sweden cares about sustainability and the environment, and I found that makes sense when we are facing huge challenges related to pollution and making society more sustainable. Technology plays a vital role in the field of energy, so I found it is a good idea to make my mark through this challenge.

I found that creating smart and simple solutions can lead to a huge impact to the environment. I thought, instead of only guiding the driver to the nearest stop, the car itself could drive autonomously to that stop.

I hope to learn more about pitching my idea in an interesting and catchy way, and to learn from different ideas presented by my colleagues.



Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

Ronoh Philip, who is studying for his masters degree in Infectious Disease Control at Södertörn University, explains why he thinks the Swedish concept of 'lagom' is the best way to achieve good social health.

Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

During my one week orientation program on August 2019 at Södertörn University, we were presented with many aspects of Swedish culture and practices. One of the new aspects that I learnt was the “lagom culture”, As I quote one of the presenters about applying lagom to our studies, he said: ”Lagom will reduce your stressful burdens of hectic lecture schedules and ensure that you spend equal time of working and socializing in the university.”

So being a student with a background in public health and society, I got interested and searched for the deeper meaning of lagom, and how it can  apply to society and health. I found out that it is a Swedish way of life, it is a concept which means not too much and not too little, just enough. I learnt that it came from a Viking tradition laget om which means 'around the group' and was allegedly used to describe just how much mead or soup one should drink when passing the bowl around in the group.

If this concept is applied to achieve social health goals, it would really fit well. So, what is social health at first? Social health is how you interact with other people and adapt in different situations, it deals with how people in society deal with each other. It is important to note that there is a close link between good social health and improvement of the other aspects of human health, this can lead to the achievement of SDG goal of good health and wellbeing. It also leads to self-satisfaction and happiness; no wonder Sweden is ranked as one the happiest countries in the world. It is ranked 7th in 2019, according to world happiness report. I believe lagom has a big role in this achievement.

In the country where I come from, Kenya, one of the greatest challenges we face in our society, is the ability for people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds to interact and form positive and cohesive relationships with each other. From my perspective, when I finish my studies and return, lagom will be worth implementing in the workplace, the place where I live and the society as whole, as it is the best way of finding simple, attainable solutions to our everyday worries like stress, eating better, having downtime and achieving happiness. It’s a balance of work and life, so everything is in sustainable existence with each other.

My goal during my entire university studies at Södertörn, will be to learn more about the lagom principle and also be able to apply it on our SI NFGL Local Network platform, because it is surely one of the best ways to achieve a good  work-life balance, reaching consensus with my colleagues and adapting a team minded approach in dealing with issues in an organization and the society.