Volta Energy offers alternative equipment for off-grid locations such as events and construction sites. It provides a power supply using portable solar panels and battery storage instead of diesel generators. It means less waste and noise and no CO2 emissions all for the same price.
CEO Roel Bleumer explains why Volta Energy is so special.
What prompted you to start this?
First of all, it stems from the background of my brother Luc and I, the founders. Our father was head of technical services at a factory. And mum is a bit of mother nature type. We learned from her to have an eye for the environment. So we got technology and sustainability handed down to us from an early age.
One time we were at the open day of a company that develops wind farms. There was a diesel generator for audio, digital presentations and coffee and tea. At the time, we thought it should be possible to do things differently. You already had electric cars and solar panels, but there were only polluting generators. We quickly sold our first prototype for mobile solar panels. There ought to be a huge market for it, so we thought.
What does Volta Energy actually do?
We take care of the energy sources in places where there are no connections or insufficient power. Think of festivals or the construction world. No diesel generators which waste a lot of energy and are constantly blasting away. We supply solar energy in combination with batteries. We know what’s needed, what the ratio is. Partly on the basis of measurement data such as the number of hours of sunshine in a month. We use batteries as a back-up, but biodiesel as well.
Our approach is more sustainable because it produces less CO2 emissions. It is also more user-friendly since you don’t have to refill it. Our Volta Naos generator is made up of three modules: the battery module, inverter module that provides serviceable energy and the solar module. The first two can be clicked together; in the case of the latter, a cable connects to the inverter module. This allows the solar module to be placed further away. The entire system easily fits into a van or a station wagon and can function on its own for a longer period of time. There is no stink or noise and no additional costs.
It is often unclear how much waste there is with the current diesel generators. Basically, nobody knows how much they use. However, customers do want to be able to meet peak demands. For example, if they specify 60kW, we build in a threshold of up to 80kW.
What’s different from other companies?
It’s a more sustainable approach, without the extra expense. The advantages, not the disadvantages.
What have been the reactions?
They’ve been super positive. It’s been a case of waiting for an initiative like ours. Even our competitors give us compliments.
What kind of problems are you facing?
The hardest part is understanding exactly what the customer requires. The difference between kilowatts and kilowatt hours plays a role. New products are often labelled in kilowatts, whereas people are used to kilowatt hours. The first is an indication of power, the second of consumption.
Moreover, we learned at festival locations such as Oerol and Zwarte Cross about the maximum power demand of end users. This is more than anticipated and at unexpected moments. You have to take that into account.
Are you already achieving some success?
The order book is almost completely filled for the coming period. You can see that the market wants to become more sustainable. In addition, we have been elected best Arnhemse starter and have won the HAN (Arnhem and Nijmegen University of Applied Sciences, ed.) Pitch final minor in Entrepreneurship.
What’s in store for next year?
More products will be introduced. We will be offering more choices as a standard. That will be 6, 15, 30 or 120 kilowatts for customers, which we will then convert into power in kilowatt hours on the rear side.
Where will Volta Energy be in five years’ time?
We actually hope to be able to cater to all construction sites and events in The Netherlands. That there’ll no longer be any smelly diesel generators anymore.