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SER Project

Born to solve the problem of access to safe water, electricity and thermal source for the cooking of food, in isolated off-grid communities.

Photo of Box Synergy
22 10

Written by

Name or Organization

Box Synergy Startup - CEO: Franco Paez Lauricella - CPO: Luciano Cecaloni - CFO: Rodrigo Duran - CAO: Sebastian Tapia - CTIO: Gustavo Federico Becker


Our startup is located in Córdoba, Argentina. In the first instance, 4600 Argentine rural schools.

What is your stage of development?

  • New Innovator, with less than one year of experience in ECD


  • Individual

What is the stage of your proposal?

  • Prototyping: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing my idea.

Describe how your solution could be a game-changer for your selected Opportunity Area (600 characters)

We believe that in the early stages of life is when nutrition and children's health matters most. That is why Project SER, would improve the quality of life of many isolated communities, refugees or displaced, allowing them access to safe water, electricity and thermal source for cooking their food. Preventing them from losing communication, health, and also avoiding infant mortality.

Select an Innovation Target

  • Product: A new or enhanced physical product that creates value for end beneficiaries.

Tell us more about your innovation (1500 characters)

The SER project aims to apply high technology and implement it in innovative open source design products that provide services of primary resources for children and communities, as well as information through an APP for NGOs, Foundations, UN, etc. Through a platform to communicate the Scientific and Technological Communities of the world that want to support with the development and investigation of the product, Companies that want to realize Corporate Social Responsibility, be allies or partner, and finally the NGO's and UN who have access to the communities with children most in need in the early stage of life. To address problems such as access to safe water, electricity and thermal sources of cooking in isolated sectors and address the Sustainable Development Goals. Apply it in a first instance in rural schools in Argentina and in the medium and long term in communities around the world as refugees and displaced persons. In a business model by which 3 products are sold to companies (field research, oil & gas, mining, military, etc.) that need the same resources to be in isolated outdoor environments and a product is donated to a community in need.

What problem are you aiming to solve? (3 sentences)

The access to sources of unsafe water, which makes children in the community sick by arsenic, viruses and bacteria, affecting cognitive development and commits his life. The demand of electricity in rural schools, affects the social, educational and cultural environment of students, limiting their level of social inclusion by not accessing information and communication technologies. The uncomfort of cooking with firewood, or propane cylinders that depend on a service outside the school.

Explain your idea (5000 characters)

Our Social Impact development is the "SER Project", which refers to the collaborative development of Rural Energy Systems that can provide drinking water and/or electric power and/or thermal sources for cooking. It is about the creation of modular products adapted according to need, and designed for isolated areas, with lack of access to water and energy. In Argentina alone, 4600 rural schools with 140,000 children do not have access to basic resources. Going even further, 50% of the world's population is affected by the same problem. The application of SER is not limited only to schools or vulnerable communities, which are our potential target users, but also those companies, NGOs or governments with off-grid activities such as mining, agriculture, oil & gas, research fields, military field , or use of resilience, they need these same resources and they will be our clients. Currently there is no precedent for a platform that offers the versatility we propose with SER. We propose a portable system that can be installed in 1:30hs. In terms of supply, SER can provide resources to at least 6 people approx per day. Our strategy is to generate value through a business model in which, for every 3 Rural Energy Systems sold, 1 will be donated to a school or community in need, in interdisciplinary work with different NGOs that can access the heart of these. In addition, the collaborative development together with the Global Scientific Technology Community through open source open source for the continuous improvement of SER, will allow us to adapt it to each particular context. We want to do a web platform that allows the CyT Community to be nuclear, interconnect it with our clients and sponsors, and link these to the NGOs. Then, through collective financing with the clients themselves, we will fund ourselves to carry out the production of each Rural Energy System. The entrepreneurial team is composed of 8 people who work from the management, administration, finance, research, product development and engineering. In terms of impact, for each person reached, their access to 24,000 liters of drinking water, 5,500 Smartphones charges and 11,000 hot infusions is guaranteed over 15 years. The purpose of Proyecto SER is not only to provide primary resources, we want to empower people by satisfying their basic needs. That is precisely the synergy. The SER project contemplates the operation of the Rural Energy System under sustainability principles, whose only necessary inputs will be Solar Light, Gray Water and Salt. With this the system would be able to supply a good quality water resource, through the use and recovery of gray wastewater. In addition, the technology of the system would allow the use of a renewable energy resource, such as solar light of high availability of incidence and intensity of light according to the proposed area to be used, to supply the system with an energy resource, generating cycles of use what they do to save energy and efficiency in its use. In a complementary way, the operation of the product would involve the use of common table salt, available and low-cost resource, using in minimum quantities to operate the brine-based electrolytic system. Within the water supply system, the gray water obtained from the environment, loaded manually or by hose or pump is filtered. The purification system is obtained, by means of a filtering process through gravel, sand, activated carbon, cation exchange resin and anion exchange resin), in this way a resource source is obtained without sediments, chemicals, or heavy metals, but that still contains bacteria. To do this, the system also includes the electrolytic system that separates salt molecules (NaCl) and water, converting them into chlorine, the main antibacterial to purify drinking water. After having gone through this process the water is safe and can be used for consumption (drinking, cooking, washing dishes), but these last two can be reused, filtering back into a feedback loop that makes an efficiency of 66% in the cycle. And finally, and making the system self-sustaining, there is the fog trap, made in a hydrophobic sheet, which makes it possible to condense the nocturnal moisture forming drops and that these are collected for use, generating up to 7 liters of water per night. The system offers 27 liters of water for each cycle of use, which can be repeated repeatedly every day according to need for use. This is just the explanation of how the water purification system works. We leave you images so that you understand the other systems.

Who benefits? (1500 characters)

The SER project has a clearly social impact goal. It is currently planned to supply isolated Rural Schools of Gran Chaco Americano, since the problem of accessibility to them, causes a situation of abandonment and isolation, leading to a series of specific problems: - Access to sources of water without purification, which makes children in the community sick, by arsenic, viruses and bacteria, affecting cognitive development and compromising them for life. - The deficit between the capacity and electricity demand in rural schools, affects the social, educational and cultural environment of students, limiting their level of social inclusion by not accessing information and communication technologies (ICTs). - The deficient autonomous capacity to obtain fuels for cooking. This forces them to use firewood, or propane cylinders that depend on a service outside the school. These factors result in a problem of housing comfort. 4600 Rural Schools with very difficult accessibility were counted, that have between 6 and 60 students, to whom it is possible to get to satisfy their needs with the SER Project. But we know that its potential is even greater, technically it could evolve its development to become a system that can supply isolated rural communities anywhere in the world, also in areas of resilience, as happens in a number of areas of Africa , or for war refugees or catastrophe zones, and also in those environments that involve research activities.

What kind of impact will your idea have? (1500 characters)

We believe that Proyecto SER can be the driving force behind many other projects that join the cause and interact in a synergy to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. With SER and many other projects, we could help in the early stage of life, many vulnerable children who are isolated from the big cities. The lives of children in isolated rural environments, for example, in the territory of the Gran Chaco Americano, is very different from any child born and living in the cities. Here the basic needs are not resolved, which is why the simple fact of providing them with these three resources (drinking water, electric power, and thermal energy) can considerably change the quality and condition of a child's life.

How does or how could your idea impact low-income children? (1500 characters)

The SER project has a clearly social impact goal. It is currently planned to supply isolated rural schools in Gran Chaco Americano, but we know that its potential is even greater. Technically, its development could evolve into a system that can supply to isolated rural communities in any part of the world, also in areas of resilience, as happens in a number of areas in Africa, or for war refugees or catastrophe zones, and also in those environments that involve research activities. Any place where you can not get drinking water, electricity, or thermal energy for cooking food, is a candidate site to carry the SER Project.

Scale: Describe how your idea could reach a significant number of end-users. (1500 characters)

Main features of the business model: · 10-year model · 1 out of every 3 units sold is donated. · Sales increase at a rate of 20% per year. · The total in 10 years of units sold is 26 thousand units and 7,800 donated. · The sale price is 6 thousand dollars. · The cost of sale is 2 thousand dollars. · It starts with 4 employees and ends with 10. · 5 directors of the company. · Both employees and directors have a salary of $ 3,000 per month. · $ 100,000 per year in marketing and $ 50,000 per year in administration · Investment in manufacturing pilot plant 500mil · Investment in R & D 250mil In this way, the business is worth USD 20M and has a TIR of 216%.

Feasibility: Where are you with understanding the feasibility of your idea? Describe what you’ve done so far and your plans. (3000 characters)

In the previous answer, explain a little about the business model and how this will allow reaching the end users who are vulnerable children. There are current staff as an electronic engineering intern and a potential team that can advance the idea in an interdisciplinary manner. The idea is feasible both from the operational side and that we could count on the support of the UN in terms of logistics to bring these systems to the communities that really need it. As well as from the technical side, as we have the support of different scientific and technological entities of Argentina. The only goal of this project is to improve the quality of life of children in rural environments by satisfying their basic needs. The short term SER Project aims to supply primary resources. In the medium term, the objective is set to prevent diseases and intoxications; and improve the cognitive development of the child, through improvements in housing comfort. Finally, in the long term, the objective is to promote the social inclusion of rural children

Tell us more about you (3000 characters)

I am Gustavo Becker, Industrial Designer graduated with the SER Project as Final Work of the Career, along with Franco Paez Lauricella and Luciano Cecaloni (in the collaborative work with the Dr. in Chemistry Osvaldo Cámara of CONICET, Dr. Ramiro Rodríguez of the Incubator of Companies of the UNC and the Electronic Engineer Reinaldo González Reyes, and assistance of the company Plásticos DISE SA, social counseling by the Plurales Foundation.), Currently in charge of executive management at Box Synergy, whose business is incubated in Fide (Foundation for the Incubation of Companies). Where we also work together with MBA Sebastian Tapia and MBA Rodrigo Duran in the training society. Regarding my experience with the early stage of childhood. I had the opportunity in high school, to perform professional practices in day care centers for children, in which I got to know both socially and psychologically the behavior of children and the vulnerability of them. When I did the field research stage, together with my colleagues at the end of the career, we could understand that there is even more vulnerability of schools that are outside of the cities, in sectors where there is no access and services such as electricity and Water does not arrive.

Do you have the people and partners you need to do what you’ve described? (600 characters)

We currently have a small team of partners, plus the collaboration of companies and companies that help us with the project. We would like to get in touch with the example of Nicolás García Mayor, who helps many people in the stages of vulnerability with the UN.

Would you like mentoring support?

  • Yes

Are you willing to share your email contact information submitted on OpenIDEO with Gary Community Investments?

  • Yes, share my contact information

[Optional] Biography: Upload your biography. Please include links to relevant information (portfolio, LinkedIn profile, organization website, etc).

[Optional] Attachments: Please upload relevant attachments or graphics or show us how you prototyped.

[Optional] Video: You are invited to submit a 30-60 second video that introduces you and/or your team and your idea.


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Photo of Virginia Barberis

Vamos los chicos! Excelente proyecto ! Felicitaciones

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