Around Zimbabwe

20-year-old boy provides electricity to thousands in West Africa

20-YEAR-OLD Jeremiah Thoronka grew up in the West African country of Sierra Leone and when he was a child, he had no access to electricity, along with three quarters of the country’s population.

Growing up with his mother was difficult and they often had to use firewood or homemade lanterns to provide heat and light to their home.

Even today, only six percent of rural residents in Sierra Leone have access to electricity, relying instead on expensive batteries or kerosene.

But homemade lanterns powered by kerosene are often dangerous and quickly cause fires in many homes.

And cutting down firewood depletes the area’s forests and increased the likelihood of landslides.

When Thoronka was sent to a private school thanks to a scholarship at the age of 10, he realized that his family’s lack of light and electricity wasn’t everyone’s experience.

“Every day I was moving between two worlds,” he recalled to the BBC. “There was electricity in abundance at school, and none back at home.”

So, when he was 17, Thoronka founded Optim Energy, a startup that harnesses the kinetic energy of objects in motion and converts it into emissions-free electricity.

The device he developed can be installed underneath busy roads, where it generates electrical currents from the vibrations of cars and even pedestrians.

So far, Optim’s pilot programs have proven to be successful. In Kuntoluh, the area where Thoronka lives, the startup has provided free, clean energy to 150 households and 15 schools with over 9,000 students.

“The Sun is not always shining, water is drying up, fossil fuels are not always going to be used,” Thoronka told the BBC, “but people are always moving.”

“I wanted to develop a more sustainable energy system, educate people about energy efficiency, and stop their overuse of natural resources,” said Jeremiah.

“It is inefficient, costing millions of dollars and pushing so many people into energy poverty. Even in the big cities, people cannot connect to the national grid. There is a vacuum of energy in rural areas.”

Thoronka’s invention doesn’t only provide light, it also relies on kinetic energy instead of natural gas alternatives or other green options like solar or wind power.

Kinetic energy uses movement to harness energy and in Thoronka’s case, he is utilizing the energy of cars traveling on a highway.

The startup Thoronka founded at the age of 17 is called Optim Energy and he has now supplied power to 150 small buildings and 15 schools.

About 10,000 people are helped by Jeremiah’s invention, and it is easily utilized without the use of batteries, power grids or heavy maintenance. – BBC/Agencies

Jobs & Scholarship Opportunities!

  1. If you want job opportunities in South Africa, CLICK HERE.
  2. If you want fully-funded scholarships, CLICK HERE.
  3. To join an HourlyHits telegram channel, CLICK HERE.
  4. If you want funding opportunities for your business or project, CLICK HERE.

Related Articles

Back to top button