In a world grappling with the challenge of energy poverty, individuals like Jeremiah Thoronka emerge as beacons of hope, igniting positive change and creating innovative solutions. Jeremiah's story is a testament to the power of fortitude and human ingenuity in addressing one of the most pressing issues of our time. He has become a symbol of progress and youth action in the fight against energy poverty.
Energy poverty is the lack of access to modern energy services, including electricity and clean cooking fuels. It affects billions of people worldwide, hindering their socio-economic progress and overall well-being. Energy poverty perpetuates a cycle of poverty by limiting educational opportunities, hindering healthcare access, and impeding economic growth.
Born and raised in Sierra Leone, Jeremiah experienced firsthand the hardships and disadvantages caused by energy poverty. Affected by the Sierra Leone Civil War, he grew up with his single mother in a slum camp for displaced peoples due to the ongoing conflict.
Energy poverty is a major issue in Sierra Leone, with just 26% of the population having access to electricity. Determined to make a difference, Jeremiah embarked on a journey of innovation that would transform lives. His breakthrough came in the form of launching his startup, Optim Energy, at the age of 17.
Optim Energy transforms vibrations from transportation and pedestrian activity into electricity. This piezoelectric device generates energy from pressure, heat, and vibrations to create affordable electricity. The device is buried in the ground, with vibration and kinetic energy produced by moving objects coming into contact with it.
Jeremiah's invention has immense potential to address energy poverty in rural and off-grid communities. Unlike other forms of alternative energy like solar and wind, his device does not depend on intermittent weather changes, nor does it need a battery or an external electricity connection. Jeremiah has unlocked a pathway to a brighter future for those living in energy poverty.
”The sun is not always shining, water is drying up, fossil fuels are not always going to be used, but people are always moving," Jeremiah said.
Optim Energy ran a successful pilot program in Makawo and Kuntoluh, Sierra Leone. With just two devices, the start-up provided free electricity to 150 households and 15 schools, powering approximately 10,500 people.Thoronka strives to provide energy for 100,000 people by 2030.
The launch of Optim Energy represents a transformative leap in addressing energy poverty. By providing a reliable, affordable, and sustainable solution to generating electricity, Jeremiah has empowered individuals and communities to overcome the limitations imposed by energy poverty.
Jeremiah's journey serves as an inspiration for young aspiring scientists, inventors, and entrepreneurs dedicated to alleviating energy poverty.
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