The electricity of nature. When innovation opens the door of tomorrow

16/09/2021, por Angel

The electricity of nature. When innovation opens the door of tomorrow

Pablo Vidarte

CEO, inventor and developer of Bioo


Empodera Impact Stories interwiews Pablo Vidarte, CEO, inventor and developer of Bioo, a biotechnology startup that generates electricity from nature. His areas of work include business management, engineering and finance. Vidarte has also led the development of geolocation tracking hardware, evolutionary artificial intelligence software, and systems for the organic generation of hydrogen in rivers for clean fuel applications.
With more than 20 international awards, Vidarte was included in the Forbes Under 30 Europe list at the age of 20. He has led his company to prestigious accolades including it in the ranking of the 50 Most Innovative Startups in Europe by the European Parliament and the Most Disruptive Company of the Year by Google and South Summit. Vidarte has also received numerous awards in London, Vienna, Bucharest, Prague, Sofia, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid and Brussels, among others.

 

Hello Pablo, thank you for being with us sharing your story. Tell us what prompted you to create BiooTech and what is the philosophy behind the project?

Thank you for counting on us. The concept of Bioo was born from a dream. One day I got up at three in the morning willing to put forward the idea of generating electricity from nature. From that moment on, the human and material resources to undertake the project and to create a team are gathered. The concept of a biological battery came from a concept that has existed since 1973. At that time there were already organizations such as NASA that began to work with biological batteries applied to wastewater treatment. At Bioo we use biological batteries, transform them and apply them in natural environments.

Bioo’s main mission is to merge nature and technology through innovative solutions that improve the quality of life. Our goal is to lead the change towards a greener future, where sustainability is the central axis and technology the main tool to achieve it.

Pablo Vidarte

From BioTech you work to boost energy production on a micro scale and domestic use. How does it work and how can this change our daily lives?

Within Bioo we are using different types of technologies. One of them focuses on obtaining energy from nature itself. In this case, electricity is produced from breaking organic substances found within the earth itself. These are organic components that the plants can secrete after photosynthesis, at which time they generate substances that are secreted by the roots and that we use to create free electrons and generate an electrical current.

 

“Bioo not only teaches the technical aspects of creating electricity, it demonstrates how to merge innovation with sustainability to create a revolution in the way people think.”

 

In addition to this application, we also use plants as biological switches. We use the changes in frequencies that are perceived by plants naturally. When we touch a plant, there is a change in its frequency and this change can be transformed into a voltage. We all know that plants perceive waves, for example, when you play classical music for them. When a human being touches a plant, this signal is transmitted through its own body, since they are conductors, and we use this signal to capture it and activate light and sound systems.

Moss with direct current. 02/10/2020 Picture by Zowy Voeten.

The next green revolution depends on a leap still in development. What are the challenges to overcome and how can disruptive technologies be the key to promoting durable solutions for more sustainable energy consumption?

 The challenges to be faced are focused on making Bioo’s activity increasingly scalable, efficient and, above all, that it reaches an increasingly wide audience. We focus on agricultural fields or directly on individuals who may have our products in their gardens. We consider that this is a feasible future in about ten years from now.

What actions and projects are you carrying out to achieve the a priori “unattainable” Sustainable Development Goals? Do you think a significant change can be achieved between now and 2030?

Bioo is working with four lines of business. On the one hand, the products that we currently offer on the market are the following:

Facilities: Bioo has created a sustainable technology that can transform plants into switches to be used in home automation with plants and the future of green architecture. Bioo Living facilities can activate music, lights, and even screens to enable unique and memorable moments in spaces ranging from retail stores to street marketing activations and events. With the ability to transform spaces into experience centers, Bioo Living Facilities can help underline a brand’s commitment to nature and sustainability. They can be custom built for events of any magnitude and are available to rent or buy.

Training for companies: In order to lead the change towards a greener future, Bioo also adapts a training version of its technology. It is a totally innovative project that aims to unify the use of sustainable technology with the business ethics of different professional teams. One of the main objectives is to promote a positive impact among the people of the same team. In the same way, it is also intended to enhance the concept of sustainability and the environmental impact that our actions may have.

On the other hand, the products that we currently have in development are the following:

 Bioo Sensor: Designed to help transform agriculture towards a greener future, Bioo Sensor will be the first 100% sustainable sensor powered by the earth itself. The device can read measurements of temperature, pH and humidity (among others) and send this information to the farmers. The cost of these sensors is exponentially less than those found in the current market, allowing the location of a large number of them and the creation of an accurate map of the needs of each field. It is designed to replace costly and environmentally hazardous chemical batteries used in agriculture, generating electricity from plants without damaging them. Today sensors around the world require an annual change of batteries, which implies great costs both in economic and environmental terms. Solar panels have proven to be more expensive in the agricultural field and also very inefficient due to the constant impact of dust, humidity, and wind. Bioo Sensor solves a global problem that is growing exponentially around the world. It is a small reactor based on microbial fuel cells applied to the ground. Electricity is produced from the decomposition of organic substances, carried away by the processes of rain and irrigation, and which is found naturally in the earth. This technology uses materials that are abundant on the planet, such as graphite, and whose extraction is clean. It also provides water savings compared to other types of energy sources.

Sensor

Bioo Panel: This is a 30×30 cm (just over 1 foot by 1 foot) panel that can be placed below the surface of a natural environment (eg, patio, garden, park) to generate electricity. Currently its use of energy is focused on obtaining energy to feed self-watering systems and, later, it is expected to be applied to points of light in parks and gardens.

We need to develop new ways to build a more sustainable way of life starting with education. From BiooTech, how do you promote awareness towards new citizen attitudes?

Schools and companies can learn first-hand how to generate electricity from nature with the Bioo Education kit. The kit includes different materials and a pedagogical plan. However, Bioo not only teaches the technical aspects of creating electricity, it demonstrates how to merge innovation with sustainability to create a revolution in the way people think.

What about the companies? Is it possible to use ethics, responsibility and sustainability as strategic levers for change in organizations? How do you see that the digital transformation process has to be carried out?

Investment funds today are looking not only for companies to be ethical, but to comply with the three pillars of being a social and sustainable company from an economic, human and product perspective. Apart from the product being good, it can also have a very sustainable and profitable economic model. The client is the one who commands and the one who looks for this type of solution. We live in a world in transition that is committed to companies with greater ethics and social responsibility.

You have a track record with several international recognitions, among which stand out as being the most disruptive company by Google or one of the 50 most innovative companies in Europe according to the European Parliament. What have these recognitions meant for you?

The balance from the beginning until now is very positive. We have managed to be a company that has literally started from scratch, promoting an almost non-existent technology in the market, to have practically all the products made with two lines launched on the market. Currently, we are very satisfied and excited with the launch that we are about to make in the agricultural sector.

 

Bioo is in the ranking of the 50 Most Innovative Startups in Europe by the European Parliament and has been recognized as the Most Disruptive Company of the Year by Google and South Summit

 

What is the future of BiooTech?

We are currently developing the two product lines detailed above (Bioo Sensor and Bioo Panel), as well as a project for individuals. In the latter case, the product has a handmade design and aims to incorporate the connection with nature in domestic environments.

What is your opinion and predictions on how everything is going during and after the global crisis of COVID-19 and how disruptive technology can generate sustainable solutions?

At Bioo we take the COVID-19 pandemic very seriously and follow the recommended guidelines for employees, partners and customers. Now more than ever, people understand the need for a greener future. As the world continues to assess how people live and interact with each other in the city of the future, Bioo will work to merge nature and technology through innovative solutions that improve the quality of life.

Furthermore, the reorientation of Bioo Education to training programs for companies has also been one of the updates that COVID-19 has caused, since all educational centers closed their doors. At the same time, the agricultural project has been able to maintain itself well, but the part of the facilities that is aimed at transforming or revolutionizing cities has been interrupted.

 

Bioo’s official website – https://www.biootech.com/

Facebook & Instagram: @Bioo.Official

Twitter: @BiooOfficial

LinkedIn: @Bioo

 

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