Watch: Lord Drayson on CleanSpace & leading the free energy revolution

By Oliver Smith 9 March 2016

We sat down with the technology entrepreneur and former science minister last month at Mobile World Congress to find out more.

Six months after launching CleanSpace, an app and wireless dongle to map out Britain’s air pollution crisis, The Memo sat down with Lord Drayson to find out what discoveries he’s made.

“We’ve made both big and small discoveries,” Drayson told The Memo last month during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

“We’re learning that the pollution on the upper deck of a bus is better than the lower deck, and if people thought they were safe from pollution inside a car… often the air in cars is coming from the most polluted parts of the roadway and you’re breathing that stuff.”

Read more: How Lord Drayson hopes to stamp out Britain’s air pollution crisis with an app

The biggest change from people who have bought CleanSpace’s £75 portable pollution sensors, says Drayson, comes from the change in behaviour they are seeing.

“People are getting connected to the idea of working out what the air is like where they are breathing,” he says.

“This type of information, which is only possible by having these connected devices… gives people a insight into how pollution affects the way they live and what changes they can make to improve that.”

But from a business perspective, the most interesting developments are in the underlying technology that powers CleanSpace.

Freevolt for all

CleanSpace’s pollution monitors are powered by Freevolt, an incredible technology which harvests ambient energy from wifi and cellular signals in the air around us.

At the launch of CleanSpace the likes of Apple, Vodafone and Hailo all came along, showing an interest in the underlying technology which Drayson’s team invented.

Read more: How making electricity from thin air became a reality

“We have about a dozen discussions ongoing with companies who are exploring the tech,” Drayson told The Memo.

“I imagine we’ll be in a position to announce our first customers in the second half of this year.”

Drayson declined to say who he is in discussions with to license the Freevolt tech to, only saying that even at Mobile World Congress he had been approached by more interested parties.

“Freevolt is powerful enough to power a small beacon, a sensor or a wearable device, so this is the perfect place to show off the technology.”