Lebone Solutions, which is being financed by a $200,000 grant from the World Bank, is developing a microbial fuel cell battery that makes small amounts of energy out of common household items like manure, soil and cloth.
The Lebone Solutions’ founders were classmates at Harvard, and used a class project focused on sustainable lighting technologies to explore what would work in Africa. The team brought technology to a village in Tanzania to understand how households would use the batteries. According to the New York Times, “For three hours each night, six families used batteries made of manure, graphite cloth and buckets, and a copper wire to conduct the current to a circuit board.”
Lebone seeks a new business model for energy creation and distribution in Africa, creating home-grown fuel cells tested on the continent, rather than altering existing developed-world technologies to meet the needs of Africa’s villagers.