Energy and the environment were significant threads covered at Web Summit and garner additional importance when considering the travel and accommodation footprint created by almost 44,000 attendees. It calls for greater awareness of the CO2 produced by the event and its participants. While Web Summit took place on the same days as COP26, it still managed to attract energy and environmental industry pioneers.
Being selected at the Web Summit Alpha program means something. It means your startups are disrupting their industries. The Alpha program offers the chance to join a global community of startups, each selected by the Web Summit team for potential, uniqueness, and world-changing ideas. If chosen, they get tickets to Web Summit, access to the world’s most influential investors, and can apply for pitch workshops, startup masterclasses, and mentor hours.
Given the importance of the energy and environment sector, we took a look at some of the more exciting Alpha program participants in Lisbon at the end of 2021.
Emax – a Belgian peer-to-peer energy trading platform
Emax offers a trading platform that allows users to trade electricity, including providers who supply electricity to homes, grid operators that provide consumers, businesses, and industry with electricity, and service providers that develop, design, build, and fund projects that save energy, reduce energy costs and decrease operations costs at their customers’ facilities.
In short, its users can sell excess renewable energy to other network participants through automated smart contracts using blockchain technology. What’s unique about Emax is that it makes energy trading as smooth as booking a hotel room.
All transactions are recorded instantly, with minimal effort, and safely and transparently through a blockchain. One observation, however; this technology may face growth challenges in that all participants need to have smart meters and be registered in the network.
Bio-Carbon International – a US startup focused on producing biocarbon for all industries and helping mitigate climate change
Bio-Carbon International utilizes waste biomass from timber and agriculture and creates quality biocarbon products at an industrial scale. The biocarbon production from waste biomass sequesters CO2 and prevents methane and other harmful gasses from being generated during the decay process. Biocarbon can be used in dozens of industries in different forms and can help restore arable land and increase global biomass organically.
What is unique about their patented Terra Preta Mix is that it could revolutionize agriculture, reforestation efforts, and water conservation by increasing water retention in soil, promoting microbial activity, and eliminating the need for chemical fertilizers that pollute earth and groundwater.
In addition, Biocarbon international is thinking ahead and will tokenize its biocarbon production and the associated carbon credits and allowances. After tokenizing its products, it will develop an asset-backed crypto commodity exchange and project platform. This will allow other carbon and climate-friendly companies to list their products and credits and connect a global project network that token holders can donate to or set up token farming on to develop new businesses.
Blue Planet Ecosystem – an Austrian startup turning sunlight into seafood
Blue Planet Ecosystem has miniaturized an entire ecosystem in a closed-loop, recirculating aquaculture systems facilitated by computer vision to turn sunlight into seafood.
The sun feeds the algae, which provides fuel to the zooplankton, feeding the fish with no fish meal or pesticides. Quality is controlled by computer vision, which monitors every fish’s health, resulting in healthy fish free of any harmful additives.
ANNEA – a German startup that makes renewable energy machines intelligent
ANNEA is the leading next generation of condition-based predictive and prescriptive maintenance platforms for wind turbines, solar farms, and hydropower plant machines. Its end-to-end solutions enable you to create digital twins of each component of your devices through artificial intelligence, physical modeling, and normal behavior modeling. It then analyzes any damaged parts and replicates them.
Laava Tech – an Estonian startup that makes indoor farming more efficient through artificial intelligence
Laava Tech uses smart lamps, sensors, and IoT controllers to manage the indoor farming growing process. The CEO, Tatsiana Zaretskaya, claims that Laava Tech reduces energy consumption up to 88%. Their AI solution is trained to automatically monitor the types and states of crops and adjust physical surrounding parameters, such as light wavelength, pulsation, temperature, humidity, and CO2 level. It’s like having an indoor greenhouse on your phone.
Ecofye – a UK startup that evaluates the sustainability performance of businesses and organizations
Ecofye grades a company’s level of sustainability while generating tailored solutions for improvement. Ecofye uses algorithms to analyze a client’s entire value chain, including emissions and social impact.
Its 360º Assessment evaluates its clients’ value chain and provides an ESG score – a measurement of a company’s level of sustainability – free of charge. Using that information, Ecofye develops solutions aligned with the client’s business objectives, designed to minimize environmental impact. It looks into waste, material use, supply chain, distribution, and energy to create solutions that make commercial sense and have a high potential to reduce emissions.
KEME – a Portuguese company that aims to expand renewable energy generation in companies and society
KEME implements individual and collective self-consumption projects in renewable energy communities, offering a service that allows any citizen, group of citizens, or companies to produce, consume, share, store, and sell surplus energy, connecting production units to one or more points of consumption.
What is different about KEME is its business model. KEME Energy’s services follow the ESCo (Energy Service Company) model, where KEME plays the role of a Self-Consumption Management Entity during the contract period agreed with the client. During this period, the savings obtained from implementing the project are shared. After the contract period, the equipment ownership is transferred wholly to the customer, and all the savings obtained in energy costs. This means that clients gain immediate benefits after implementing the project without any initial outlay.
Big events need big energy and environment solutions
These were some of the outstanding energy and environment startups from the Web Summit Alpha program. It behooves such huge events always to take this sector seriously, and help find the next generation of solutions, since the energy cost of bringing so many people together is difficult to explain without equal attention on how to solve the problem, not just for the event, but the planet as a whole.
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