The French-Swiss company WattAnyWhere, with the support of EPFL, HES-SO Valais/Wallis and industrial partners, is developing a new system that uses renewable ethanol to power the charging stations of electric vehicles. It is independent of any infrastructure such as the power grid or gas network and allows for instant deployment at lower cost.
Electromobility is booming: according to Alexandre Laybros, co-founder of WattAnyWhere, 44 million electric cars will be on Europe’s roads by 2030. As a result, more than 3.5 million charging stations will be needed across Europe by then. Today, their deployment is slow and costly, as it relies on the current grid : “You need to buy equipment and draw new power lines. The work can cost up to CHF 500,000 for a single site, not to mention the timeframe : that can take up to two years,” explains Alexandre Laybros in the blog of The Ark Foundation.
WattAnyWhere provides an innovative solution that solves the problem of electric vehicles fast charging. It is independent of any infrastructure such as the power grid or gas network and allows for instant deployment at lower cost for the Charging Point Operator. The system is based on solid oxide fuel cells and fueled by renewable ethanol, a liquid hydrogen transport vector that is safe, economical and available in large quantities throughout Europe. Indeed, more than 10 billion liters of renewable ethanol are produced each year in Europe. “Nowadays, ethanol is mixed with gasoline and used in cars. At WattAnyWhere, we want to use it to support the development of electric cars,” says Alexandre Laybros.
A wide range of additional applications discussed with industrial partners and utility companies confirm the large extent of potential markets, such as off-grid backup power for the telecommunication or maritime industries, and power for construction or industrial sites.
WattAnyWhere has joined the incubator of The Ark Foundation on the Energypolis Campus in Sion, Switzerland, as well as the incubator IncubAlliance in Orsay, France. The company has been supported by GGBa and Economic Promotion Valais in its efforts to set up in Switzerland.