When you think “power lunch,” what comes to mind? Maybe a fancy restaurant with the boss, or inhaling a salad over endless emails. Whatever your definition, it’s fair to say that Shell is giving the term its most literal interpretation. Feeding the crowds at this year’s Fast Company Innovation Festival is a Shell energy innovation: The Synergy Truck, a food truck featuring six “bright energy” ideas from the entrepreneurs supported by the
#makethefuture campaign, with contributions from students from eight U.S. colleges.
The Synergy Truck uses energy generated by customers themselves, or sourced from the natural world around it. It’s basically a clean technology kitchen on wheels—with a high-powered menu by L.A.- based celebrity chef Ludo Lefebvre to boot. No two of the technologies are the same; each offers a different clever method of generating energy. And some are downright cool. Take Pavegen’s kinetic walkway in front of the truck’s concession window. The tiles convert customers’ footsteps into usable power, allowing them to “pay” their lunch bill with the energy they produce. Or check out Gravity Light’s hanging lamps, which illuminate the truck using only the universe’s fourth force.Elsewhere, a pair of Insolar umbrellas charges phones and USB devices, while solar panels on the roof help power the kitchen appliances. A Capture Mobility turbine generates energy from wind, and a grill unit using bio-bean’s carbon-neutral Coffee Log briquettes cooks the range of crepes on Lefebvre’s menu. Finally, a MotionECO capture unit shows the potential energy contained in the waste cooking oil collected.
“What better way to get people engaged in the global energy challenge than by tapping into a universal passion—food,” says Malena Cutuli, who leads the #makethefuture campaign. “We hope the Shell Synergy Truck will serve a more interesting lunch experience, and one that gets them thinking differently about how we all use energy.” Although the inventive technologies may sound experimental, most are already in place in various communities around the world. Pavegen’s kinetic tiles provide player-powered floodlights for a favela’s soccer field in Rio de Janeiro, and GravityLights are a safer source of light to replace kerosene lamps in homes in rural Kenya. Those applications demonstrate the sense of possibility that Shell hopes the Synergy Truck drives home.
“We’ve worked with entrepreneurs and innovators over the past three years to create more and cleaner energy solutions and put them into action all over the world,” adds Cutuli. “The size and complexity of the world’s energy challenge demands collaboration between and among businesses, entrepreneurs, governments, communities, and citizens.” This month’s Innovation Festival is only one stop on the Shell Synergy Truck’s nationwide tour of colleges and communities across the U.S. to showcase its flavorsome food and new energy solutions.
This story was created with and commissioned by Shell.