As companies strive to improve energy consumption, promote environmental responsibility and improve the use of sustainable fuel sources to either generate revenues or improve their bottom lines the risks are not always in the determination of capital budgets, project scheduling or execution but in the gaps between technology unit operations. Renewable energy facilities can have a dozen or more process unit operations, each with proven technologies yet at the unit interfaces the process can break down leading to reduced efficiencies, higher than expected start-up costs and lost profits.
Washington — To Amal Kabalan and her fellow entrepreneurs, the plight of schoolchildren in Guinea presents a fairly basic need that inspired a simple but creative business response. Guineans don’t have much access to energy for light. Kids wear backpacks. Why not attach a solar-powered device to the backpacks, collect energy on the walk to school, and then use the stored energy to power lamps so the children could study at night?
The idea earned the 27-year-old Lebanon native $3,000 in seed money to start the venture with her new business partners — people she had met just days before and who had been selected by Athgo International, a nonprofit organization that sponsored the competition in partnership with the World Bank Speakers Bureau.