It’s about the closest you can get to an energy industry beauty parade.
Every year, InnoEnergy, an accelerator backed by the European Institute of Innovation & Technology, holds a two-day gathering to present the companies and projects under its wing to customers and investors.
Called The Business Booster, this year’s event in Barcelona, Spain brought together 150 of InnoEnergy’s ventures. InnoEnergy, which usually holds a 10 percent share in the companies and projects it fosters, gives some of the most promising startups a 4-minute slot to pitch their concepts to the audience.
Energy storage companies are getting increasing attention at the event. Here are some of the companies that took to the stage.
This Portuguese firm thinks it may have a hybrid supercapacitor to take on batteries. Co-founder and Executive Manager Rui Silva describes the firm as being like a cross between a marathon runner and Usain Bolt. Plus the supercap is safe and cheap.
France’s Eco-Tech Ceram has a 92 percent-efficient ceramic thermal storage medium that could be used to capture some of the 3,500 terawatt-hours of heat lost from industrial processes every year. Steel giant ArcelorMittal is interested in the technology.
Dutch firm Ecovat is looking to provide "seasonal storage" with massive insulated hot water tanks that lose just 10 percent of their energy over six months. “Our vision is to have sustainable heat all year round,” technical commercial officer Ruud van den Bosch said.
“A very, very low-cost energy storage system can be done, and Elestor knows how,” said Wiebrand Kout, founder and chief technical officer of this Netherlands-based flow battery startup. The firm is commercializing a hydrogen-bromine flow battery first developed by NASA.
You would hardly think of reducing battery project costs with a piece of planning software. But E-Sims says its MUST PLAN software-as-a-service package has helped cut the cost of storage on the island of Martinique by 30 percent, just by helping developers make better choices.
Listed as a smart electric grid company by InnoEnergy, Ferroamp has a three-phase bidirectional power inverter linked to a process control system called EnergyHub, which integrates PV, wind, energy storage, vehicle charging and smart Swedish design.
HySiLabs’ motto is: "We make hydrogen easy to use." The four-strong French startup does this with a stable, nontoxic, non-flammable hydrogen-based fuel that can be used to power a fuel cell. The company is initially looking to test the concept in buildings.
Lancey CEO Raphaël Meyer says heating accounts for 67 percent of home energy use and there are 200 million old heaters worldwide that need to be renovated. His plan is to replace them with the world’s first heater-and-battery combo, which is 75 percent cheaper than gas.
Polish university spin-out MarCelLi started out 10 years ago and still has two or three more to go before commercializing its technology, said CEO Marcin Molenda. It is working on a new cathode material for lithium-ion batteries, so the potential rewards are high.
Skeleton is hardly an energy storage minnow, after pulling in $10.7 million last year and $14.5 million in August. The Estonian supercap maker was at The Business Booster to seek support for a project called UCGEN3, to develop next-generation ultracapacitors.
France’s Sylfen is targeting building developers with an integrated energy storage and combined-heat-and-power system that uses excess or cheap electricity for hydrogen electrolysis in a unit that also acts as a fuel cell. The concept is covered by 22 patents.
Arguably the most user-friendly energy storage system on show, Wattsun’s product is a stackable battery pack designed to replace noisy, polluting diesel generators. “We work in the event business, we like to party, but we don’t like noise,” explained founder Paul Schurink.