A green battery for construction sites
A sustainable and economical solution
On construction sites, contractors use diesel generators because the grid connections are not strong enough to power large appliances such as cranes. Bright Energy wants to replace those polluting generators by placing a battery between the grid connection and the yard.
This not only provides sufficient power but also emits less CO2. To ensure that their sustainable solution becomes a logical choice for contractors, they try to make the mobile battery as economical as possible.
“With artificial intelligence, we completely adjust the energy intake to the user and we free up space as a buffer for the electricity grid,” says Bright Energy founder Sam Van Acker. “In this way, the battery is not only used during construction hours but also outside of it.” Bright Energy offers the batteries as a service via a subscription. This allows the contractor to focus on the construction process and while Bright Energy takes on the energy issues.
It all started with a battery at home
The idea of the smart battery originated in their parental home. “I convinced my father in 2016 to be one of the first in Belgium to install a Tesla home battery,” says Arne Van Acker, co-founder of Bright Energy. “It turned out not to be a profitable model if you didn’t do anything with it. That’s why I programmed a smart control in my spare time to get the most return from it.” Their energy bills fell by half for two years in a row. Then the brothers started brainstorming how to commercialize that. “We got into conversation with people from Tomorrowland, who asked if we could do that for their campsite,” says Arne Van Acker. “But that turned out to be too expensive and technically difficult to achieve.”
Sometime later, Sam Van Acker at Ghent University made a group work about a business model for eliminating generators at festivals with a battery. “During that process, we were reminded that construction sites use far more generators than festivals,” he explains. “That market turned out to be more interesting because the projects last longer, are more suitable for training algorithms and there is almost always a grid connection nearby. From the experience with my parents, we were convinced of the importance of artificial intelligence to create a profitable business model. That is how we ended up at ML2Grow.”