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Woman In Energy – Rita Gomes is a finalist in the European Sustainable Energy Awards 2024

Portuguese architect who develops solar solutions for interior spaces

Rita Gomes, architect and founder of Seenergy – a Portuguese start-up dedicated to creating innovative solutions, with exclusive design, that integrate renewable energy systems into decorative furniture – is the only Portuguese woman who is part of the list of finalists of the European Sustainable Energy Awards 2024.

“DSSCs (dye-sensitized solar cells) technology allows furniture and household objects to be transformed into renewable energy sources, offering an innovative solution that will help promote the European Union’s (EU) energy transition towards the use of greener energy”, says the Portuguese finalist.

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Woman In Energy – Rita Gomes

Based in Porto, the challenge of Rita Gomes’ start-up is to develop a range of economical and ecological furniture, capable of using and storing solar energy. “Our mission is to create innovative solutions in which we can apply, on a global scale, the advantages of this solar technology integrated into furniture, thus contributing to a more sustainable and environmentally responsible future”, reinforces the architect.

At the heart of the design she develops is a process of incorporating dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) into pieces of furniture and household items. “This fusion between design and technology allows us to create aesthetically beautiful products that not only enrich living spaces but effectively play an active role in reducing the carbon footprint”, explains Rita Gomes.

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Woman In Energy – Rita Gomes < table

Seenergy uses dye-sensitized solar cells that mimic the photosynthesis process in plants, converting light into electricity. Unlike common solar panels, solar cells can be used indoors as they do not require direct sunlight. Once collected, the energy is stored in a battery that is integrated into the furniture pieces and can then be used to charge devices or turn on lights via a USB port.

“We are developing a range of products, including a bedside table that is powered by solar energy, where the entire top is made up of DSSCs technology”, adds Rita.

The young entrepreneur hopes that her example and contribution in this area will serve as an inspiration to female audiences so that, more and more, women take on leadership roles in the energy sector.

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Woman In Energy – Rita Gomes < bedside table

“I faced some challenges, mainly related to stereotypes about the role and capabilities that women have in the area of technology”, she admits. “These challenges strengthened my commitment to excellence and reinforced my conviction that innovation and leadership are genderless.”

In November 2023, Seenergy won a first prize of 10 thousand euros, in the New European Bauhaus category, in the final of the EIT Jumpstarter of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, an initiative that distinguishes major technological innovations that can help Europe face some of its most pressing challenges.

The Portuguese architect will invest the value of this award in her ongoing project and, through partnerships that she intends to establish with the University of Porto and with sector leaders, Seenergy intends to accelerate the development of her concept and products and launch it to the next year.

“More than an award, this distinction reflects validation that our efforts are aligned with the European Union’s objectives in the areas of sustainability and inclusion, and with which we can have a significant impact in this field”, says the finalist.

bedside table 2
Woman In Energy – Rita Gomes < bedside table

Rita Gomes is one of three finalists for the 2024 European Sustainable Energy Awards, in the Women in Energy category. The award recognizes women who lead innovative projects and activities that, when replicated, can help promote the transition to the use of more sustainable energy sources in Europe. Special attention is paid to the female contribution to this initiative, in order to boost integration, in terms of gender, and support equal opportunities in the energy sector.

The other finalists are Françoise Réfabert from France and Karolina Attspodina from Germany. Françoise has developed an innovative vision in the area of affordable financing for home energy renovations. Karolina’s mission is to bring solar energy to the balconies of living spaces, through DIY kits.

European Sustainable Energy Awards distinguish the best European projects and leaders in the field of sustainable energy

The European Sustainable Energy Awards (EUSEW Awards) recognize people and projects that are notable for their innovation and commitment in terms of energy efficiency and renewable energy. The nine finalists were selected by a highly regarded and renowned jury, in three categories: Innovation, Local Energy Action and Women in Energy. The finalists will now be submitted to a public online vote, which will be open until June 2nd, with the winners announced during the EUSEW Awards ceremony, in June 2024.

European Sustainable Energy Awards 2024

European Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW), the largest annual event dedicated to renewable energy and the efficient use of energy in Europe, takes place from 11 to 13 June, under the theme “Zero solutions for a competitive Europe”. The event will bring together public authorities, private companies, NGOs and consumers to publicize initiatives that promote decarbonization, through sustainable technologies and solutions that allow for an adequate transition, both for people and companies.

Registration for in-person participation in Brussels and online participation is now open.

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