WattAnyWhere receives CHF 100’000 from the FIT foundation to convert Biomass to electricity

WattAnyWhere receives CHF 100'000 to convert biomass to electricity


In response to the growing demand for clean energy, WattAnyWhere has come up with an off-grid, mobile fuel cell based system that converts renewable ethanol produced out of biomass into high power electricity for electric vehicle fast-charging. In collaboration with EPFL and HES-SO, WattAnyWhere will use the Tech Seed loan from Foundation for Technological Innovation (FIT) to develop its 350W proof-of-concept.

WattAnyWhere co-founders, from left to right, Patrick Brennan, Olivier de Bruijn, Didier Roux, Alex Laybros, Philippe Ruez

The transition to battery electric vehicles requires tremendous amounts of energy to be available at the right place and anytime. In practice, 3.5 million charging points will be needed by 2030! To meet this growing demand, WattAnyWhere has conceived a 100% renewable, pollutant-free electricity production process. The cleantech start-up brings a unique solution with a mobile generator that uses Solid Oxide Fuel Cells to convert renewable ethanol – exclusively from used sugar beet by-product, wheat straw and other residues of the sugar industry – into electricity.

The generator is ultra-silent, produces zero pollutants, and is fully functional anywhere in just a month. Modular, it can be easily installed and stacked to follow the rapid growth of clean electricity demand. Thanks to the high energy density of ethanol and unique efficiency of the Fuel Cell system, the customer – operator of charging points – can provide ultra-fast charging to three thousand electric vehicles with just 30m3 of ethanol!

The five people-team behind the start-up has already completed the preliminary architecture design, protected by a first patent. Several additional patents about the global system architecture and the control algorithms will protect innovation developed out of the Innosuisse project. WattAnyWhere benefits from the support of The Ark foundation in Sion and IncubAlliance in Paris, from Venture Kick, as well as collaborations with EPFL, HES-SO, ENSEA and industrial partners Elcogen and Helbio.

Looking ahead, WattAnyWhere plans on using the Tech Seed loan from FIT to complete its 350W proof-of-concept within the EPFL lab in Sion, including a self-optimizing control algorithm and enhanced efficiency of the fuel cell. The startup is also preparing to raise funds to finance its minimum viable product (MVP), and further intends to start commercial activity in 2023 with launch customers. Once commercialisation is launched, WattAnyWhere will first target consumers of renewable energy for electric vehicles fast charging, construction site equipment, and other large consumers of clean electricity.