Antwerp start-up to deliver ‘grid-independent powerwall’
Antwerp start-up, Lifepowr, has developed a concept to provide for their own power without using the grid by using solar panels, batteries and dedicated software. By producing and storing electricity locally and use it on the spot, the price per kWh might drop considerably.
Lifepowr wants to launch its product in 2020, because the start-up believes that the market will become very important by then. As from 2021, new buildings will have to be nearly energy-neutral due to stricter standards.
This will almost automatically encourage people to install solar panels. With the introduction of digital meters, it will also be profitable to store electricity locally. The company has the ambition to launch a new capital round of 1 million euro in the coming months.
Different from Tesla
Lifepowr’s solution is technically different from the Tesla Powerwall. “Tesla sells a battery that works with older technology. Its Powerwall works with alternating current (AC) and has to be connected to the grid. We work directly with direct current (DC) produced by the solar panels to charge the battery, without using the grid, which makes our battery 8% more efficient”, says Dries Bols from Lifepowr.
“The owner of an electric car can even charge his car directly with his solar panels because the car battery also needs DC to be charged. When using the Tesla Powerwall, you have to switch between battery-grid (DC – AC) and grid-car (AC – DC)”, he adds.
The Antwerp company is well known already on the battery market. It started back in 2014 with mobile power solutions like for electronics. Lifpowr sells a power pack with flexible mini solar panels that fold up like a cover around an A4 notebook. The packaging of the Lifepowr battery states that it is good for a full recharge of a laptop. The new technology may also offer an alternative to mobile diesel generators.
The step from small electronic applications to power systems for the housing market is huge. “We will certainly have to start partnerships. We are not going to install these systems by ourselves, but leave that to professional installers.”
Bols does not rule out the possibility that partnerships are also being sought with network operators, such as Eandis”, Bols explains. “Private consumers are facing a payback period of 7,5 years for their home power solution. The most interesting part is that electricity costs might drop to 16 cents per kilowatt hour.
Power solution for a rock band
Lifepowr is an Antwerp based company founded by Dries Bols, a young engineer. His interest in batteries arose when he developed a power solution with batteries for a Dogs or Cibola rock band. Their recordings on the move were often fogged because the diesel generator was making too much noise. Today Bols rides an electric motorbike with self-developed batteries.