— AAAS Entrepreneur (@AAAS_Entr) September 22, 2016
Yessica Lopez Coyozi is co-founder of Mexican sustainable energy startup, Tope Energy. Tope Energy’s first device is a speed bump system that absorbs the mechanical energy generated by passing vehicles and turns it into electrical energy.
Yessica was a finalist in this year’s GIST Tech-I Competition, an annual competition for science and technology entrepreneurs from 135 emerging economies around the world. GIST Tech-I is part of the U.S. Department of State’s Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) initiative and has been implemented by AAAS since 2014.
We asked Yessica why and how the Tope Energy team supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #7, Affordable and Clean Energy. Below is a summary of her responses.
What inspired your team to develop sustainable energy technology?
We live in Mexico City where traffic is extremely common. The passing of vehicles doesn’t have any benefits to the environment. We decided it’s time to make use of that movement of vehicles and get a benefit that can directly impact the people’s lives. We are generating sustainable electricity from something that we do every day.
Who are your costumers? Where will the Tope Energy devices be installed?
Our speed bump device requires the passing of 100 vehicles per hour to work efficiently. It is important that we neither damage the cars nor excessively reduce their speed as they pass, and our device is designed so that they can pass at 30 mph and we generate electricity without collateral damages. In our first phase, we plan to install devices on access roads to airports, hospitals, tollway entrances, and low speed streets like main squares or parks in Mexico. We are also looking for strategic partners to install it around the world.
What trends do you see guiding the future of sustainable energy?
Sustainable electricity must be personal. It has to adopt generating methods for the things we do every day, like recovering heat and electricity from vehicles. Sustainable electricity should be like computers, at first only big companies could afford them, now child can have a smartphone. Electricity must be the same: today it is expensive, but eventually the generating methods should be affordable for all people.
What’s Tope Energy’s current stage of development? What’s next?
We are in the last phases of developing the commercial prototype. We are proud that we will soon be ready to go to market. We are also investigating other sustainable electricity generation methods. Mainly, we are extensively investigating prototypes of a technology to recover heat from ovens, furnaces, hot fluids in piping and transform that residual energy into electricity with industrial and domestic applications.