"L'énergie solaire thermique, tout part de là" raconte celui qui porte le prénom d'un succès éclatant. Triomphant Tchulang est le patron de la start-up Clean Energy Services. Cet ingénieur camerounais de 25 ans installe des panneaux photovoltaïques suffisamment puissants pour alimenter des réfrigérateurs ou congélateurs et permettre aux populations des villages ruraux africains de conserver leurs produits dans de bonnes conditions. Entretien. 

Entrepreneurship: interview with Triomphant Tchulang, the Cameroonian engineer and boss of Clean Energy Services

Bi-Solar Tech Fridge, it's 3 in 1: cold, outputs for lighting, a phone charger with USB port

"Solar thermal energy, everything starts from there" says the one who bears the name of a brilliant success. Triumphant Chulang is the boss of the start-up Clean Energy Services. This 25-year-old Cameroonian engineer installs photovoltaic panels that are powerful enough to power refrigerators or freezers and allow people in rural villages in Africa to keep their products in good condition. Interview.

54 ETATS : Triumphant, could you tell us about yourself. Your journey, the birth of your company and your first prototype?

Triomphant Tchulang : I grew up between Bafoussam and Yaoundé where the climate is rather mild and cold. After my bachelor's degree at Bafoussam Bilingual High School and a year in physics at the University of Yaounde 1, I continued my studies at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure Polytechnique de Maroua (ENSP), in the extreme north of Cameroon. So I left the mild and cold climate of Bafoussam and Yaoundé to join the hot and dry atmosphere of Maroua. 45 ° in the shade, a furnace!

Before joining the NPHS, a medical examination was required. So I went to the hospital. It was a shock. Terrible images still invade my mind. I have seen patients in agony, on makeshift stretchers, drying out under the hood for lack of room in the hospital. Worse, that day, the power was cut in the hospital and the generator that was to troubleshoot them was down. As a result, all vaccines were good to throw away.

That's where I get my motivation, my rage to get there. In Maroua, I obtained a degree in renewable energy engineering specializing in solar photovoltaic and thermal. It was obvious that my first product should serve those people in pain.

54 ETATS : How was born your company, CLEAN ENERGY SERVICES?

Triomphant Tchulang : In March 2018 with the flagship solar refrigerator. My first prototype dates from 2017.

After two years of research, I realized that the sun could produce cold, this is a phenomenon called absorption. I was not satisfied yet. My prototype silica gel was too big, the thickness of the insulation was too large and the fridge only generated freshness at night.

Le 1er prototype - 2017

Continuing my research, I realized that by merging the photovoltaic works the day and the thermal takes over with the phenomenon of absorption at night. So I named my invention Bi-Solar Tech Fridge Photothermal solar fridge. This refrigerator will make life easier for rural people by keeping their products cool. And then, it's the first of its kind on the planet to value both heat and sun energy.

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Bi-Solar Tech Fridge will be offered as a priority to people in the agricultural, hospital and pharmaceutical sectors who will be able to keep vaccines and other medications that require freshness. Did you know that more than 25% of food is lost between the time of harvest and the time of consumption, because of the rules of conservation not respected.

54 ETATS : What are the other peculiarities of the product?

Triomphant Tchulang : Surplus energy can be used for charging electrical devices and lighting through USB outlets. More than 650 million people in sub-Saharan Africa will not have access to energy until 2030. CLEAN ENERGY SERVICES also has a training component: carbon management, energy efficiency, photovoltaics.

54 ETATS : Are you numerous in your start-up?

Triomphant Tchulang : We are five.

54 ETATS :  What do you hope with the help of EDF PULSE AFRICA?

Triomphant Tchulang : I need a technical and financial support to standardize our refrigerator models and launch a pilot phase. We have had agreements with health centers and NGOs agree to test our refrigerators: Medecins sans Frontières and NRC. In the future, the price of a refrigerator would be around 230,000 FCFA.

54 ETATS : We are nearing the end of the interview. What expression best describes you?

Triomphant Tchulang : Never give up!

Priscilla Wolmer
Directrice de la rédaction