Achieving net zero by 2050 is a significant endeavor and technology in the energy sector is vital to achieving carbon neutrality. To no surprise, startups have a unique role to play.
To talk about innovation, startups, and technology in the carbon neutrality space, we organized an innovation day focused on hydrogen innovation, where experts in the energy and sustainability industry talked about the importance of hydrogen in achieving carbon neutrality for a more sustainable future. They discussed how innovation and startups can help us reach our net zero goals. Listen to what experts have to say in the following video.
Carbon Neutrality Technology: The Challenges
According to the International Energy Agency, or the IEA, most CO2 emission reductions through 2030 will come from technologies on the market today. However, by 2050, almost half the reductions will come from solutions currently in the prototyping phase.
To reach ambitious goals such as lowering the intensity of CO2 emissions to 50% by 2030, new innovative carbon neutrality technologies are needed, such as carbon capture, low carbon fuels, and energy storage.
Edison International, a utility holding company that provides electricity to 15 million customers through its subsidiary - Southern California Edison - is looking across carbon neutrality technologies and business models to drive decarbonization within the electricity, transport, and building sectors. Senior Vice President of Strategy Drew Murphy explained they want to collaborate with startups in grid edge, electric transportation, customer engagement, and climate resilience. With a focus on collaboration and innovation, Edison International can pave the way toward a greener and more sustainable future.
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Dominion Energy, a Richmond, Virginia-based utility operating in 16 states, has set net zero goals for its electricity and gas businesses. Mark Webb, Chief Innovation Officer of Dominion Energy, shared that besides the technologies mentioned above, they’re also looking for green hydrogen, distributed energy resources, DER, data analytics, and energy efficiency startups to improve their performance, efficiency, and customer experience.
However, just a few big, game-changing startups can't solve these issues. “Millions of small improvements and iterations will solve it,” says Bradley Andrews, President at Worley - one of the largest energy services and engineering companies. “My advice to the startups is that it doesn’t have to be big; you just have to find one part where you can differentiate yourself in this energy transition, and that will be big enough,” said Bradley.
Based on the abovementioned challenges, these corporations chose 15 emerging startups from a list of 100 applicants to Plug and Play’s Energy Program (Batch 8) to explore pilot opportunities within the carbon neutrality technology space.
15 Startups in the carbon neutrality technology space
The startups in the following bundle are focused on: Power grid analytics, weather data, climate change, and vegetation intelligence monitoring software.
Hive Power is a Software as a Service provider that can assist end-users, energy retailers, fleet, and grid operators optimize their operations and improve asset management. Their platform leverages machine learning and AI-powered applications, like Smart Charging and V2G & V2X, for national aggregation, white labeling, user engagement, and analytics. The startup also offers an optimal management system for flexible devices, such as water heating boilers, heat pumps, storage batteries, and electric vehicles.
Sync Energy AI
Sync Energy is leading the charge in making Digital Twins widely accessible through a no-code digital environment. Their platform has a highly flexible engine capable of simulating the most critical infrastructure. It is a go-to-market strategy for electric utilities seeking a more precise and comprehensive visualization of power grid vulnerabilities.
Apart from streamlining planning and operations during emergencies, Sync Energy's AI-based predictive software benefits engineers from rural electric cooperatives and electric vehicle companies. With their platform, customers can achieve what used to take a team of 7 to 10 data scientists no less than two weeks in just hours.
Rebase Energy is a startup revolutionizing the energy industry. They've created a cutting-edge platform enabling energy AI forecasts in minutes, giving utilities a competitive edge. The Rebase platform handles everything from weather datasets to data pipelining, utilizing state-of-the-art open-source ML models for accurate forecasting. And that's not all - it connects utility analytics, energy aggregators, and building energy optimization platforms to utility, asset, and property owners.
Overstory uses carbon neutrality technology to provide real-time intelligence about the planet's vegetation to prevent wildfires and power outages, enabling innovative infrastructure management and safer communities.
Utility customers can benefit from detailed information and predictive insights from high-resolution satellite data. By applying specialized AI algorithms to trees and vegetation, Overstory helps customers predict growth and fall-in risks based on factors like species, growth rate, weather, climate, and vitality. This facilitates predictive planning and provides timely reports on vegetation management, empowering informed decision-making and action.
Kuva Systems is an industrial IoT solution that provides continuous monitoring and precise quantification of methane and VOC emissions. With its turnkey solution, Kuva ensures cost-effective monitoring of assets prone to emission events, whether above-ground infrastructure or underground gathering pipelines. The on-site cameras capture images that undergo rigorous qualification by the Kuva cloud to eliminate false-positive alerts. The data is then quantified and displayed on a dashboard, providing real-time insights to the operators.
Dynamhex has developed enterprise software for decarbonization, enabling cities and companies to take targeted climate action while tracking outcomes. As a deep-learning optimization and resource planning platform for climate change mitigation and adaptation, corporate sustainability professionals, municipalities, and power utilities turn to Dynamhex for AI-based analytics.
EV charging and EV charging infrastructure
Ev.energy offers managed EV charging services with its software platform for homes and utilities. The platform is highly adaptable and wirelessly connects to different hardware solutions, providing utilities with the maximum controllable load. With Ev.energy, utilities can streamline their EV charging services and deliver a better customer experience.
SineWatts is a startup that has revolutionized the power electronics technology necessary for energy systems and electric vehicles. With a worldwide patent, years of development have resulted in trade secrets and a platform technology with multiple use cases. One of their innovative products is the Universal OBC, which enables unified and bidirectional charging for L1, L2, and L3 charging standards. It replaces the onboard charger for EVs and is backward compatible with DC fast charging. SineWatts provides the necessary infrastructure for EV and energy sustainability, making it a game-changer in the industry.
This innovative startup provides advanced technology to achieve carbon neutrality. Their innovative modular, scalable, distributed energy storage solution, VPort, and impressive overhead power and communication systems pave the way for cleaner, more efficient energy. The startup takes a step further by providing intelligent project automation and site control products to facilitate the electrification of transportation.
Sustainability, CCUS, Green Hydrogen, Energy Storage, Fuel Cells, Waste to Heat, and New Materials
Energy Dome is innovating long-duration energy storage with CO2, making strides toward solving climate change. Their carbon neutrality technology is based on a thermodynamic process that uses CO2 to store electricity cost-effectively with unprecedented round-trip efficiencies.
Planetary Hydrogen provides an innovative solution to produce carbon-negative hydrogen through its patented Planetary Hydrogen Ocean Air Capture technology. The technology ensures a sustainable energy source by utilizing renewable electricity to produce hydrogen via conventional water electrolysis.
Electro-Active Technologies specializes in converting waste into renewable products through its carbon neutrality technology. By leveraging an advanced microbial and electrochemical process, they produce renewable hydrogen with organic waste and electricity. This innovative approach is helping pave the way toward a cleaner, more sustainable future.
Proof Energy specializes in commercializing Fuel Cells 2.0, an innovative metal-supported Solid Oxide Fuel Cell, or SOFC, carbon neutral technology. The breakthrough technology not only enhances performance but also reduces cost. It provides a 95% reduction in battery pack size and substantial savings for medium- and heavy-duty EVs.
This startup is a chemical innovator committed to decarbonizing transportation, industrial manufacturing, and energy production. They achieve this by leveraging their proprietary Alkaline Exchange Materials platform. This technology replaces perfluoro-sulfonic acid polymers to create more cost-effective electrochemical systems that generate, store, and distribute energy, chemicals, and fuels.
Last, we have Kanin Energy, a startup offering an innovative solution to heavy industries. Kanin’s technology helps to monetize waste heat while reducing carbon emissions, assisting businesses to reduce their environmental impact. Heavy industries can improve their bottom line with Kanin Energy and take proactive steps toward a more sustainable future.