Impact4All has selected a handful of the most inspiring start-ups we’ve come across in the past few months. From flying kites to high-tech storage, these start-ups are examples of raw innovation in the global clean energy market.
HiGi Energy focuses on producing bio fuel to create an alternative for countries that still heavily rely on charcoal or firewood as cooking fuel. How? It turns water hyacinth, an aquatic plant that is usually considered a pest, into environmentally-friendly charcoal used for cooking.
By doing so, it is helping reduce the cutting of trees, as it is estimated that 2.6 billion people around the world still use charcoal and firewood to cook three times a day.
The start-up aims to introduce other energy products such as a solar installation service to close the gap between solar manufacturers and customers. HiGi won the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit, which was held in Silicon Valley, in recognition of is efforts.
Going by the slogan ‘Make your own green energy’, SeAB is specialised in waste-to-energy solutions. The UK-based company has patented two innovations: the Muckbuster and Flexibuster, compact Anaerobic Digestion (AD) systems in shipping containers.
The systems are easy to install and have found customers globally. More importantly, the systems turn organic waste into energy during the stage where waste is produced and energy is needed. How? By using special bacteria that break down waste to produce biogas which is then used to produce clean electric power.
Headquartered at the University of Southampton Science Park, a hub for clean tech innovation in England, SeAB’s Flexibuster has been using the bio-waste of local business in the area since 2011. When the start-up receives requests from potential customers, it analyses customers’ feedstock samples and estimates how much green energy its systems can produce.
This start-up imagines a future where energy is cheaper, greener and more secure. It aspires to build a real-time marketplace for distributed energy. With additional renewable power generation added to the energy mix globally every year, electricity systems require more flexibility to cope with the intermittent nature of renewables. Flexibility indicates the ability of a power-generating system to turn up or down, or on or off, a feature that is becoming increasingly valuable to balance the power grid.
Origami Energy has come up with an innovative, adaptable and secure system that can generate value from this flexibility and in real-time. Their tech allows new renewable power generation to be added to the grid at a highly-efficient capital cost; flexibility providers to generate better financial returns from their assets; and flexibility users to buy, sell and trade better.
The company offers its solutions through strategic partnerships with energy suppliers and traders. But it doesn’t end there. The UK-based firm provides fully funded, turnkey energy storage solutions that promise to cut bill costs, create new income streams and boost energy security. Its tech has been tested and commercially proven in the UK.
With an exciting view on wind power, Simon Heyes, CEO of Kite Power Systems (KTS), created the world’s first commercial kite-driven power station. Heyes recognised the growth in the wind energy market globally, but also the challenges the industry faces. Barriers include infrastructure, extreme weather, intermittency and unsuitable environments.
Looking for a cost-effective solution, KTS developed kites that can be used for in and offshore wind generation. Their system comprises of two kites flying to resemble the number eight at an altitude of 450 metres.
The advantage is that wind at 450 metres is higher than what available wind turbines currently use. This allows the kite exposure to more consistent higher wind speeds. KTS aims to provide a low maintenance solution that doesn’t require government subsidies.
This start-up focuses on addressing the intermittent nature of renewable energy, a key challenge facing the industry.
In the absence of sunlight or wind the power grid needs to receive electricity generated through conventional sources such as gas, oil or coal. The solution many companies are working on developing is energy storage, making sure excess power produced with renewables is stored for use later. H2GO Power is one of them.
The company has come up with a hydrogen-based energy storage system to store significant amounts of clean energy. Hydrogen, dubbed as a green fuel, can be used for fuel and storage. It is a carbon-free synthetic fuel that can be released on demand. H2GO Power also offers its solution to hydrogen vendors, including the electric vehicle market and consumer electronics and drones.
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