SFU alumni entrepreneurs to bring affordable renewable energy to remote communities
By Vivien Lee
Four SFU alumni entrepreneurs are giving used electric vehicle batteries a second life by converting them to clean-energy storage units that can help remote communities inexpensively transition to renewable energy.
The increasing global demand for electric vehicles means more electric vehicle batteries will be disposed in the landfill unless they are repurposed.
Entrepreneurs Sumreen Rattan, Gurmesh Sidhu, Gabriel Soares, and Edward Chiang saw an opportunity to solve the problem using their knowledge as graduates of the Faculty of Applied Sciences.
Coupling their education with their passion for clean tech, they established Moment Energy in 2019. The company builds custom energy-storage units by modifying the electronic and mechanical components of used electric vehicle batteries.
Moment Energy’s repurposed batteries harvest renewable energy when it is being produced. This allows users to overcome the challenge of intermittent renewable energy. For example, solar energy cannot be generated when there is no sunshine. The energy storage units solve this problem by storing renewable energy for users to access at any time.
This September, Moment Energy secured a supply chain with Nissan North America for used electric vehicle batteries. The first shipment arrives at the end of September.
“This puts us on the road to efficiently deliver renewable energy to remote communities and also prevent usable batteries from producing toxic waste in landfills,” says company co-founder Sumreen Rattan. She notes that repurposed batteries are more environmentally friendly than traditional energy storage options, which are costly and deplete raw materials.
Mark Thorpe, director, business planning and development aftersales, Nissan North America, says, “Moment Energy is proving that second-life Nissan LEAF batteries can continue to have value beyond the vehicle.”
Moment Energy receives entrepreneurship support from SFU’s Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection, an early-stage business incubator for SFU students, alumni, faculty and staff who are pursuing entrepreneurial ventures. Moment Energy’s mentor, Douglas Fast, has been coaching the team since 2019.
Company co-founder Gabriel Soares says, “Venture Connection provided us with the mentorship and support we needed to get on our feet. Our weekly meetings with Doug helped us to truly leverage the skillset of our team and to reflect on what entrepreneurship means to us.”
Their entrepreneurial goal, says Soares, is to leave a positive impact on the world.