Biogas Economy for Transport

Biogas Economy for Transport: Sustainable Public Transport for Developing Countries

PhilippinesBatangas City, Philippines
Year Founded:
2013
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Idea
Budget: 
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

In the Philippines, Jeepneys and Tricycles are kings of the road. They'll be converted to hybrid electric-biogas vehicles run by biogas created from solid wastes sourced from homes. Families will be given credits to properly segregate their wastes for biogas generation that they can use for fares.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

Public transport in developing countries are completely sustainable while reducing carbon footprint and improving waste management too!
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In developing countries, majority of the population rely on public transport which are usually inefficient and unsustainable. Fare hikes are common because of the price variability of fossil fuels. At the same time, city governments spend a lot on waste management as people here are not usually compliant with the proper segregation of wastes. Biogas technology has advanced but tonnes of solid waste are lying and still being wasted more.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

First, public transport vehicles should be made more efficient by making them electric-powered. The problem is EVs lack the range needed. Here is where biogas becomes the key, turning the vehicles to hybrid EVs. This will eliminate the problem with range. The biogas supply will be sourced from farms that are common in the country as well as from the millions of households that will be given incentives via a smart card points system when they segregate their waste properly. This in turn will make it easier for the city's waste management to process the waste and turn organic matter into biogas which will power the Jeepneys and the Tricycles that will use electronics technology to accept the smart card credit as fares of the passengers.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Jeepneys in the Philippines are big heavy bus-like passenger vehicles that use old engines to reduce acquisition costs. This makes them very inefficient, coupled with worsening traffic, much energy is wasted everyday ferrying commuters. Converting their engines to electric motors cuts the energy waste considerably as they do not consume power when stuck in traffic. With the help of biogas from homes, range anxiety would not be an issue. At the same time, solid waste management would vastly be improved as citizens will now have the incentive to correct their behavior in managing their own wastes. Landfills will be smaller while energy is being extracted from the feedstock. Fertilizer production is also a nice by-product of the whole system.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

If public transport vehicles have their own sustainable energy source, this would ease the demand on the supply of oil in the country. This will automatically affect prices in many aspects of the economy. For example the Philippines have up to 300,000 Jeepneys and double the number in Tricycles. These vehicles travel long distances each day but are bound to a predefined route. Using cheaply sourced biogas as fuel and increasing their efficiency, fare hikes would be halted and even reduces fares by 50%. At the same time, the city as a whole will generate savings by increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of their solid waste management process by crowd-sourcing the segregation of the waste even before they leave the home. In a country like the philippines, segregation of waste is usually an afterthought. This idea would be changing the culture of a whole country.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

The financial benefits to the Jeepney and Tricycle drivers through fuel savings and the fare credits to the households would organically fuel the growth and acceptance of this change in perspective. This could be done in a pilot city first to show its feasibility and the process and experiences will be freely shared to other cities so that they can replicate it in their own localities.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Prove the concept and show the stakeholders that everyone will benefit using the system. The financial incentives to participants would drive the growth and acceptance of the system. Revenue can be generated by supplying the technology such as converting the vehicles to hybrid and building the biogas digesters. After that, it is all a matter of maintaining the system.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Right now there are companies that are trying to develop electric jeepneys and electric tricycles but they are having difficulties addressing the problem of short range for pure battery-powered electric vehicles. As far as I now, very little is being done to improve solid waste management in the country aside from the biggest cities.
Team

Founding Story

It started in 2012 when we won first place in the Electric Vehicle design contest of the Department of Energy. After that we supported the budding EV industry in the Philippines, even developing supporting technologies such as our GoCharge system. Yet until now, all electric vehicles suffer range anxiety. We always thought that public transportation doesn't need to share this burden as they don't need a whole new infrastructure to be converted to electric. It was our inspiration when we were contacted to help in the automation of locally made biogas digesters. Right there and then we saw the synergy of the two ideas and the potential in creating a solution that combine them.

Team

I, Allen Pilares is an electronics engineer and the current President and CEO of Rethink Tech Inc. Our team is composed of other engineers and designers that share the passion in improving the society we live in. Patrick Quinay, our Vice President is an industrial designer. Duke Amuan and Arjay Garcia are also electronics engineers while Mark Verano is a mechanical engineer.
About You
About You
First Name

Allen

Last Name

Pilares

About Your Project
Organization Name
How long has your organization been operating?

Project
Organization Country

, BTG, Batangas City

Country where this project is creating social impact
What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Friends and family, Individuals, NGOs, Businesses.

Supplemental
Sector

Greenhouse Gases, Waste and Packaging, Sustainable Sourcing, Smallholder Farmers.

Audience: Who have you identified as your customer/recipient groups and do these groups value your solution for different reasons? How do you engage different customer/recipient groups to deliver your solution?

Public transport drivers and operators as well as families and households. Through an information drive and web presence.

Scaling the solution: How would the prize money and publicity help you to achieve your objectives over the next two years?

If we can show them that there is a better way of doing things where everybody wins including the planet, inspiration will come from every one part of the society. The prize money would be used to develop the prototype and partner with a city or cities for the pilot program.

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered

I have designed and patented charging systems for electric tricycles. I pitched this idea to investors and we are able to secure funding to develop the prototype which is the GoCharge system shown in www.rethink-tech.com

I have also started an electronics information sharing site to improve the knowledge sharing in terms of technology development in the country. This is our website: www.tinkbox.ph

Are you are eligible to attend the Accelerator event in Cambridge and subsequent events in London, UK in January, 2015?

yes

Will you require a visa to enter the UK?

yes

Are you are a current Unilever employee?