Peter Paul van Voorst tot Voorst founded Skoon Energy towards the tail end of 2017. Only 24 at the time, Peter Paul and Daan Geldermans, Skoon Energy‘s Co-Founder, were still studying naval architecture at the Technical University of Delft when they toyed with the idea of swappable batteries for ships.
The lightbulb moment
“While I was studying, I had a side job where I was chosen as a young maritime ambassador,” Peter Paul explains. “Since I was young and highly motivated, I was tasked with telling the world about the maritime industry and getting more people to apply for jobs in that sector.”
The maritime industry evangelist role allowed Peter Paul to meet a lot of people in different positions. With every conversation, he kept circling back to one theme: sustainability. “Everyone would talk about the industry needing to be energy-efficient and carbon-neutral, but no one was really taking charge,” Peter Paul says with a visible amount of frustration.
That simmering frustration reached boiling point during a Complex Vibrations and Forces class at Delft University of Technology. “The core lesson of this class revolved around the fact that ships had huge diesel engines that would make a lot of noise and, more importantly, vibrate a lot,” Peter Paul explains. “But the next 10 weeks of classes focused on how we should spend millions of euros to change everything about the ship so that the huge diesel engine could continue vibrating and making noise.”
Peter Paul channelled his frustration to find a solution to this classroom conundrum. As he devised the solution – swappable batteries for ships, – he was told by those around him he could be laying the groundwork for a much-needed startup.
Why Skoon Energy shifted from hardware to software
Peter Paul and Daan Geldermans soon realized that their swappable battery solution could be implemented across any industry using generators or dealing with other challenges around temporary energy supply and demand. The problem, however, was that to cast a net that wide the dynamic duo would have to run several business models at once to be successful. “That’s when we decided we couldn’t focus on the hardware,” Peter Paul explains. “We also wanted to ensure that if anyone was in this very situation after us, they wouldn’t face the same problems.”
Today, Skoon Energy’s core business is based on two software products. The first, a rental management software to support battery rental businesses. “This has been developed based on our experiences,” Peter Paul says. “We test and demo everything to make the batter owner’s life easier.”
The second software is part of the Dutch startup’s long-term vision: an open marketplace for mobile batteries. Peter Paul likens the open marketplace software to Airbnb where businesses can list batteries and Skoon Energy will take care of the rest including connecting business with potential customers. “We believe adding our software to batteries makes it easier for the end-user,” Peter Paul elucidates. “Combined with our software, businesses sell their product with a suite of tools that will make their customer’s life a lot easier. It also helps businesses sell fleets of batteries which, in turn, helps them scale up.”
The Skoon Energy and Portable Electric partnership
Peter Paul found Portable Electric by pure chance. “I was randomly browsing LinkedIn when I found you guys,” Peter Paul tells us. Today, Skoon Energy and Portable Electric are dedicated to disrupting the gas and diesel generator market by working together to speed up the adoption of battery technology. Skoon Energy has used our VOLTstack 5k units to power several projects.