Denis Bastien & Pierre Blanchet
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Idénergie has developed a portable river turbine that joins with existing renewable energy technologies to provide a reliable source of green energy.
Prior to founding Idénergie, each of the three main partners had distinct skill sets in the fields of electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, accounting and finance. One partner, Pierre Blanchet, had a long history of starting entrepreneurial ventures while the others, Denis Bastien and Gilles Trottier, had been curious and excited by the idea of starting a business but had no experience in the space. The idea of bringing a portable river turbine to market motivated Pierre to find complementary partners and soon brought the three together.
The concept for a working prototype came to Pierre while in university. His professor challenged the class to simulate different forms of renewable energy generation. Tired of developing simulations, Pierre asked his professor to develop a real prototype. He spent three days building a river turbine model and was amazed that, after putting it into a local river and connecting it to a generator, it generated a few watts of electricity. From there, the team formed and now, after multiple prototypes and four years of research and development, they are in the final stages of testing a model that generates 275 watts – enough to power a small home.
When asked about some of the early challenges of starting a new company, Denis said, “Our family and friends were concerned with the risks involved – financial and others – and the time it would take to create a successful business. It took some determination and courage, but our early financing efforts were successful and really gave the business a kick-start.” In addition to other granting organizations, the Idénergie team has recently started a relationship with Futurpreneur Canada.
The product will be marketed to niche North American customers who live or have homes off the grid. Looking globally, the possibilities for mass market adoption in developing countries where significant populations live without power are endless.
“Be ready, it is a lot of work. You must have a complementary team and a lot of respect must exist between partners to overcome challenges and occasional disputes. You will all be tested, so make sure you find the right partners! It takes a lot longer than you think to accomplish your objectives and meet your goals.”