Twelve start-ups out of 270 applicants have been recognized by BloomergNEF as potential game changers in the shift to clean energy.
The latest announcement of the decade-old BNEF Pioneers program identifies a variety of technology proposals, from network storage to aviation to carbon offsets and a group of “wild cards”.
BNEF analysts selected the 12 game changers from more than 270 applications from 27 countries, including Australian solar technology developer Vast Solar.
They were assessed on the potential impact on greenhouse gas emissions and the planet, the degree of technological innovation and novelty, as well as the likelihood of adoption and potential scalability.
Not all previous choices succeed. Australia’s DyeSol and California’s solar heating company Brightsource Energy, for example, both fell by the wayside, but others have done well, including Germany’s son Battery and Australia’s Building IQ.
No Australian company made the final listing this year, but this is a list of the companies that did, in their various categories.
Challenge 1: To supply electricity without emission around the clock
Energy Dome (Italy) invented a CO2 battery to make long-term energy storage an economically viable offer. Using a closed thermodynamic process, the Energy Domes CO2 battery stores electricity cost-effectively with what they describe as “unprecedented round-trip efficiency and no emissions to the atmosphere.”
“We believe that our approach, which relies on tried and tested components, combined with low cost and high efficiency, paves the way for the rapid introduction of CO2 Battery in the global energy sector, ”said Claudio Spadacini, CEO of the Energy Dome.
“We believe that CO2 Battery will help significantly accelerate energy conversion by replacing baseload fossil fuels with fully emitting solar and wind energy. “
Kairos Power (US) developed a new advanced nuclear reactor technology to supplement renewable energy sources. Kairos Power fluoride salt cooled high temperature reactor (KP-FHR) is designed to be cost competitive with natural gas in the US electricity market and to provide a long term cost reduction.
“We believe that nuclear power is necessary to combat climate change, and we must deliver a cost-effective and secure technology to achieve our mission of enabling the world’s transition to clean energy,” said Mike Laufer, CEO of Kairos Power.
“Kairos Power’s dedicated team works hard every day to solve difficult problems and achieve a feat that has never been done before. We are grateful to receive BNEF Pioneer’s award recognition as we make progress on our path to commercialization. “
Nuvve (US) offers a vehicle-to-network technology (V2G) to control power among EV batteries and the network. Nuvve bills itself as “the only electric fleet service with high-powered, vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging with 24/7 maintenance and intelligent energy management on a global, commercially available platform,” Nuvve offers 100% financing and no upfront costs .
“As the electrification of everything unfolds at the same time as decarbonization, the challenge of synchronizing energy production with load becomes more complex,” said Gregory Poilasne, CEO, Nuvve.
“At Nuvve, we are focused on intelligent electrification of the planet and are grateful for our ecosystem of partners and customers who are in line with us to strike a new path – a path for the world to follow.”
Reactive Technologies (UK) helps network operators, electricity companies and regulators measure network inertia more accurately. The company describes itself as “a highly innovative energy technology company that provides grid operators and owners of renewable assets with market-leading and mission-critical technology solutions to accelerate the transition to clean energy.”
“By supporting the resistance of the grid, throughout the transition to 100% continuous clean energy, with the first of its kind real-time grid data, we aim to help as many operators and utilities as possible get to net zero safer and faster, Said Marc Borrett, CEO, Reactive Technologies.
Challenge 2: Scaling long-term carbon removal technologies
Carbfix (Iceland) provides a natural and permanent CO2 storage solution by capturing CO2 and turn it into stone underground in less than two years.
“The award comes at an exciting time for Carbfix as we work to implement our proven technology on a significantly larger scale than before,” said Edda Aradottir, CEO, Carbfix.
“The potential to use permanent CO2 mineral storage in basalt around the globe is huge, and is increasingly being recognized. We look forward to maximizing the impact of Carbfix technology in the years to come. “
Climate Robotics (US) developed agricultural tools to produce biochar – a soil change that improves soil health while binding carbon. The technology is based on automation and mechanization along with existing carbon sequestration technologies.
“At Climate Robotics, we are developing solutions to permanently bind atmospheric carbon in the earth as biochar, while improving the economy of commercial row crop farming,” said Jason Aramburu, CEO, Climate Robotics.
“By implementing our equipment on farms around the world, we will sustainably increase global soil health while capturing over 1 billion tonnes of CO22 annual.”
Verdox’s (USA) technology removes CO2 from industrial emissions and the air with 70% energy savings compared to conventional approaches. By using only electricity, Verdox’s technology platform is able to remove carbon dioxide both directly from the air and from emission sources.
“We believe that carbon offsets will be crucial to the sustainable development of mankind, but they will never be implemented to a significant extent if the energy and costs required can not be significantly reduced,” said Brian Baynes, CEO, Verdox.
“We launched Verdox two years ago on the promise of our new electrochemical carbon capture system, which has been shown to reduce the energy penalty for collection by up to 70%. The future of carbon removal will be electric.”
Challenge 3: Decarbonization of aviation
Twelve (USA) transforms captured CO2 to critical chemicals, which can then be converted into materials and fuels using a patented CO2 PEM electrolyzer. Instead of extracting carbon – which is necessary for chemical production – from fossil fuels, Twelve extracts it directly from CO2 by replacing the fossil carbon in critical chemicals with renewable, recycled carbon from CO2.
“Dealing with the climate crisis will require new, innovative technologies in all sectors,” said Nicholas Flanders, CEO, Twelve.
“As we scale and develop new partnerships with globally leading brands in some of the industries that are hardest to reduce, we help companies manage emissions and pave the way for a fossil-free future.”
ZeroAvia (US) designs and develops zero-emission, hydrogen-electric aviation powertrains, targeting a range of 500 miles for a 10-20-seat aircraft.
“We are initially targeting the regional commercial aviation market with our hydrogen-electric powertrain for 19-seater aircraft with trips up to 500 miles,” said Valery Miftakhov, CEO, ZeroAvia.
“But as we scale, we will implement the technology in larger aircraft and be able to fly for longer trips. We believe that with our zero-emission technology we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the life cycle by more than 90 percent and at the same time reduce operating costs significantly, thus enabling more people to fly with all the positive societal impacts it entails. . “
Addionics (Israel) 3D electrodes increase energy density and power, increase safety, extend life and lower the price of lithium-ion batteries with any chemistry. With a 50% reduction in charging time and a lifespan of up to 150% longer, Addionic’s battery technologies also reduce battery costs.
“Better performance, safer and cheaper batteries are an integral part of increasing EV adoption and realizing a net zero future,” said Moshiel Biton, CEO, Addionics.
“With the support of our OEM and supplier partners, we look forward to accelerating our product development and laying the groundwork for commercialization in support of global electrification.”
Blue Frontier (US) combines efficient air conditioning for buildings with integrated, inexpensive energy storage. Blue Frontier’s products offer a replacement for the packaged roof units that dominate the air conditioning for commercial buildings, offering a 60% reduction in annual electricity consumption and an 80% reduction in peak demand for electricity.
“We at Blue Frontier are developing the next generation of air conditioners that not only have dramatically higher efficiency than conventional units, but also intelligently change their electricity consumption to match the grid production of renewable energy, without compromising the building’s occupants. comfort, “said Daniel Betts, CEO, Blue Frontier.
“Widespread deployment of our devices will fundamentally change the load shape of buildings, making them compatible with low-cost net-zero networks. This is a huge mission, and through this award, BloombergNEF and its partners give us a big hand in helping us reach that.”
Carbon Cleans (UK) technology reduces the cost of carbon capture compared to existing solutions thanks to modular carbon capture technology with 90% + capture rates that deliver industrial grade CO2 for recycling or sequestration.
“Carbon Clean is revolutionizing industrial decarbonization for essential industries that are difficult to reduce, such as cement, steel, refineries and waste energy,” said Aniruddha Sharma, CEO, Carbon Clean.
“Our latest groundbreaking product, CycloneCC, reduces the size of carbon capture technology by 10x and physical footprint by 5x. Involvement in the program enhances the power we have to enable the capture of 1 billion tonnes of CO2.”
Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has been writing about climate change, clean technology and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew Economy and The Driven since 2012. His preferred mode of transportation is his feet.