Man receiving award from woman
Man shows a powerpoint presentation with tree
15 avril 2024
ITC News

At the Trinidad & Tobago Energy Conference, held from 22-24 January in Port of Spain, the innovative green tech company ProtofabTT took centre stage by winning the conference’s award. Its groundbreaking product, the SolarPonix garden tower, is a revolutionary green farming solution, offering 100% portable farming capabilities, powered entirely by solar energy with climate adaptive technology.

ProtofabTT: Best Social Investment Award winner

ProtofabTT, a pioneering, Trinidad-based, green tech company, won the T&T Energy Conference Award in the "Best Social Investment Project" category. This marks a double victory for their innovative, smart hydroponic/aeroponic garden tower. SolarPonix also secured the "Best Technology Innovation" award at the same competition in 2022. The proof of concept was first recognized by the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) in its Green Innovation Challenge in 2021.

SolarPonix: A greent tech revolution

ProtofabTT's SolarPonix revolutionizes green farming by offering a completely portable and AI-ready solution, powered entirely by solar energy. This climate-smart appliance allows people to easily grow herbs, vegetables, and even root vegetables like potatoes, right at home. It’s also suitable for less abled persons, schools, and various institutions. The towers incorporate a zero-toxin pest deterrence system, ensuring healthy crops without harmful chemicals.

ProtofabTT has already received growing interest in the product. The now established partnerships with the Ideas Infinite Foundation and with the Trinidadian MIC Institute of Technology will greatly accelerate production. A mechatronics workshop in a retired oil refinery site will produce exportable towers at scale. A pilot programme deploying the technology in Burkina Faso is beginning this year. This will test the technology, its exportability and ease-of-use by consumers, and its impact on food security in a water-scarce region.

With an easy-to-use digital interface and communications over the Internet of things, the towers are also easy and convenient to monitor and operate. Powered by renewable solar energy and recycled laptop batteries offering five-day battery backup capability, the garden tower is suitable for deployments in areas where there is no infrastructure, requiring no plumbing or grid power. The towers are also fully portable, even when filled with soil and planted with growing crops. The portability and autonomy of the systems, combined with toolless setup and breakdown in 15 minutes also makes them suitable for disaster areas or conflict zones.

ProtofabTT is a beneficiary of the tech startup programme under the United Kingdom Trade Partnerships (UKTP) Programme at the International Trade Cente (ITC). According to founder Ancel Bhagwandeen, the UKTP project gave him access to major activities in the technology sector and networking with key contacts. The programme also developed his expertise in AI and machine learning, helping him to identify novel revenue streams through data collection. Knowledge on the application of these technologies enhanced the climate adaptability of the smart tower gardens.

About the programme

The United Kingdom Trade Partnerships (UKTP) Programme aims to increase trade from countries benefiting from an Economic Partnership Agreement with the UK or from the UK’s Developing Countries Trading Scheme. It is implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC). ITC is United Nations (UN) and World Trade Organisation (WTO) agency with the objective of supporting SMEs and their ecosystems in emerging economies.

Its tech start-up component supports the digital technologies sector in the Caribbean region, namely in: The Bahamas, Barbados, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago. Activities for tech start-ups focus on equipping them with business coaching, investment readiness, internalization support, attendance at (inter)national tech events, linkages to international business and investment opportunities and more.