Interview with SunCrafter, who are using innovation to fight the spread of COVID-19

SunCrafter, a SET100 Alumni, has recently won The Global Hack 2020, a hackathon backed by the European Space Agency, the UN and the EU Commission among others. More than 12,000 participants from 98 countries submitted over 1,000 ideas for combatting the COVID-19 pandemic during the 4-day hackathon. In the end, the first prize was awarded to SunCrafter for their solar-powered hand disinfection station. They have successfully repurposed upcycled solar cells to generate ultraviolet light to disinfect people’s hands. This innovation provides an easy, affordable and barrier-free access to hand disinfection that can help reduce the spread of viruses like corona, both within Europe and abroad.

SunCrafter produces and provides solar systems offering energy access independent from existing power grids. Their systems work wherever needed – in both urban environments and rural areas. Whenever electricity access is needed, but difficult to achieve, SunCrafter’s products offer a simple, immediate, and efficient solution. By creating robust, high quality systems with upcycled components, they make solar power even more efficient, inclusive, and sustainable.

SunCrafter’s CEO Lisa Wendzich kindly took some time out to answer our questions about her company, their innovations and their recent participation at Global Hack.

Your COVID-19-aimed innovation gained you the first prize at the recent Global Hack, which featured more than 12,000 innovators (Congratulations!) Can you tell us about this solution and how it came about and is being used today?

LW: Far-UVC light has the ability to sanitize surfaces without being harmful to skin and eyes. We have found out that our off-grid solar generators are able to power these Far-UVC light sources, thus serving a variety of potential use cases, especially in those places where it is hard to keep up necessary hygiene standards.

Click here for a video description of SunCrafters Solar Powered Light Disinfection

How has your company navigated the quick and unique developments of the current pandemic?

LW: We have been restructuring our teams in tactical task forces, which are quicker to adapt to the constantly changing environments that a crisis creates. Additionally, as we cannot plan with contracts from the event sector, we have bundled resources and shifted focus towards R&D topics.

How do you think the pandemic could reshape the future of clean energy?

LW: There have been many discussions about life after corona recently, many of which endorse a society aware of the requirements for a more balanced future. Although investments in clean energy are plunging right now, we are convinced that the necessity to mitigate emissions remains unchanged. This will propel the topics of clean energy, zero waste and e-mobility into pole position to shape our global economy in the coming years and decades.

Are you currently cooperating with other start-ups in order to fight the pandemic?

LW: Not yet.

What would you recommend to other start-ups intending to contribute to Covid-19 containment?

LW: Combine, test, refine.

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