Africa ClimAccelerator Start-Up Spotlight: Arone

Despite Nigeria being Africa’s largest oil producer, the country continues to experience an energy crisis that is costly for businesses, government and citizens. In fact, 43 per cent of the country’s population does not have access to grid electricity. 

However, work and life must continue, contributing to a heavy reliance on back-up generators across the country. These costly diesel-powered generators are harmful to the environment. The situation makes it difficult to not only start a business but to run it as well.

“We came up with a solution that is not only good for the environment but is also reliable and sustainable,” said Emmanuel Ezenwere, CEO and Co-founder of the organisation.

Powerhub being assembled

The solution developed by Arone Energy is called Powerhub, a compact, light and sleek cuboid unit that can be charged using solar power, a generator or electricity mains.  It is easily portable and when fully charged, can power a standing fan, a 45-watt television and three lightbulbs for 10 hours.

The popular unit currently provides affordable, uninterrupted power supply to thousands of Nigerians.

“Our Powerhub provides the best power/energy storage capacity-to-cost ratio. This has seen us able to provide uninterrupted power supply to millions of Nigerians because we have significantly reduced the cost barrier. We focused on reducing cost because it greatly hampers access to power for millions of our citizens whether in their homes or businesses,” he added.

Arone Energy started with the provision of logistics infrastructures like drones, drone delivery, drone operations and licenses before venturing into electronics.

The start-up uses smart aerial logistics technology powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and renewable energy sources to deliver medical supplies from urban health facilities to those in remote, rural areas using drones.

Powerhub in use at client’s store

Arone’s Powerhubs are locally produced to provide affordable electricity to homes and businesses.

The firm is supporting government initiatives to meet the country’s sustainability goals by accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources.

“The significant impact of Powerhubs is that most of our customers are moving away from generators and relying solely on our devices to power their homes and businesses. By doing this, we are offsetting carbon dioxide emissions,” explained Ezenwere.

The smallest unit of the Powerhub device costs approximately € 360 (160.000 Naira) while the largest unit costs approximately € 610 (270.000 Naira). Customers also have the option of paying in instalments. The devices are already positively impacting the environment and communities in various ways. For instance, the use of Powerhubs has achieved over € 16.000 (7.3M Naira) cumulative savings in generator fueling and maintenance costs and has offset 2.3M metric tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Arone’s vision is to pioneer breakthrough energy solutions with Powerhub as the starting point. The start-up aims to produce even more new energy solutions to improve the quality of life for millions of Nigerians and to expand its physical footprint with more factories and offices across the globe.

Arone was one of 15 start-ups selected to participate in the Africa ClimAccelerator, the first pan-African accelerator focused on scaling the most promising climate-focused innovations. The six-month programme was delivered by partner organisations GrowthAfrica and the Carbon Trust, supported by the Climate-KIC International Foundation and funded by the German Corporation for International Cooperation GmbH (‘GIZ’) exclusively on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (‘BMZ’).

An original version of this article was published here on 14 April.