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Radiating ideas

Innovative German companies are devising energy solutions for developing regions.


The story made headlines worldwide: a good five years ago, a lawyer called Andreas Spieß and an architect by the name of Lars Krückeberg had the idea of designing a solar-powered kiosk that could meet the basic needs – especially in terms of electricity – of people in the world’s most remote villages. In 2012, their idea won them the Siemens Stiftung’s Empowering People Award – and the first solar kiosk was set up in Ethiopia. Today there are 120 such kiosks in ten countries, for the most part in Africa, providing a good 800,000 people with food and water, as well as electricity for refrigeration, mobile phones and the Internet.

One wind turbine supplies one household

2016 was the second time that the Siemens Stiftung awarded prizes for innovative technological solutions aimed at improving the lives of people in developing regions in a sustainable manner. Once again, Germany companies are among the winners. The audience award goes to the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. It has developed a biomass stove (Waste-Fuel Free Combustion/WAFFCO) that can be fired with agricultural and domestic waste, or with waste packaging material. It is designed for cooking and to lower emissions. Another prize went to a mini wind turbine made by the firm Breezergy. Comprising merely two components, it is lightweight yet robust, straightforward to assemble and easy to operate. The wind turbine reliably produces enough energy for one small household and is therefore particularly well-suited to areas with no electricity supply. The wind turbines will be available from the spring of 2017.