Portable washing machine wins at Red Bull Basement 2020

14 Dec 2020

From left: Red Bull Basement winners Joanna Power and Paramveer Bhachu. Image: © Mark Roe

The innovation competition final also featured UCD graduates Ben Ralph and Tadhg Crowley with their sustainable energy solution.

Paramveer Bhachu and Joanna Power of Brunel University London won Red Bull Basement 2020 with a portable washing machine that cleans clothes with recycled shower water in a third of the usual time and using a third of the power.

The Red Bull Basement competition invites tech innovators and student entrepreneurs from around the world to create innovative solutions that can have a positive impact on the future.

This year, more than 3,800 student teams from all over the world applied for the competition and, according to Red Bull Basement, most of the ideas concentrated on sustainability solutions, with more than 1,250 addressing education, nearly 1,000 involving accessibility and others tackling topics from smart cities to energy.

Out of more than 3,800 teams, 38 finalists were chosen to take part in December’s global workshop, which took place online. During the workshop, each finalist had the chance to refine their concepts with the help of mentorship programmes.

Bhachu and Power’s winning project was Lava Aqua X, a washing machine that collects water on the floor of nearly any shower, filters it and reuses the water to clean clothes.

Ireland’s innovative finalists

Alongside Lava Aqua X in the final 38 were UCD graduates Ben Ralph and Tadhg Crowley with their sustainable energy solution, DemRes.

DemRes is a platform that aims to solve the challenges of intermittency and lack of grid scale storage that can cause problems for wind and solar energy.

It aims to enable consumers to intelligently schedule their electricity demand over the course of the day via an app, thus reducing electricity consumption and cost and, in turn, their carbon footprint.

Ralph said reaching the global final of the Red Bull Basement has been “a whirlwind couple of weeks” for him and Crowley.

“We have been exposed to some big players in the tech, innovation and energy industries via the Red Bull Basement programme, which has effectively spring boarded us into what we hope will be a bright future for DemRes.”

Crowley said he was amazed at the raw innovative talent that exists. “Every single idea that was brought forward to the global workshop was a gamechanger. Projects that ranged from a wastewater washing machine to an app which aids in the prevention of the extinction of indigenous cultures, showed us that the future of our planet is in safe hands.”

Jenny Darmody is the deputy editor of Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com