Answering the call: Accelerating a new cohort of clean energy innovators
Climate Change: A Universal Call to Action
Of the many findings coming out of COP27 in Egypt last November, one stood out above the rest: We are way behind on greenhouse gas reductions. According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, emissions need to fall 43% by 2030. Climate change is one of humanity’s most consequential issues, yet we’re still not making progress fast enough.
Speed matters, and clean energy technology entrepreneurs around the globe are emerging as some of the fastest movers, inventing and reinventing, shaking the status quo. Startups’ knack for experimentation, approach to risk taking, and constant improvement, as it turns out, is also what makes them a natural fit to tackle complexities of climate change.
Global investment in clean energy startups has grown exponentially in the past few years. With billions of dollars more committed from the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act last year, and other commitments from governments around the world, it’s clear that many are taking this wake-up call seriously. The market for carbon-reduction technologies is projected to grow to $1.4 trillion by 2027.
A Critical Tipping Point: Bridging the Innovation Gap
Not all clean energy innovation and R&D investments however result in real-world impact. And nearly half of the emissions reductions needed to achieve net-zero emissions will need to come from technologies that are not yet past the demonstration stage according to a 2022 report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Laying the Groundwork for Global Impact, at Scale
Since the program’s inception, as an experiment, in May of 2021, the mission of the AWS Clean Energy Accelerator has been to do just that—speed the adoption and development of clean energy technology by individuals and organizations, at scale, for the benefit of people and planet.
By connecting innovative clean energy startups with global energy companies and experts, helping them design customer trials, while using digital tools to experiment, automate and unlock data and AI-driven transformation faster, the accelerator acts as a catalyst to bring much-needed climate solutions to market much faster than they could on their own.
For over 18 months now, more than 1,100 startups from across 64 countries have applied to the program. All energy companies who participated as the startups’ piloting partners in 2022 have returned to the new edition- plus a few more, with the likes of Enel, Iberdrola, EDF, Siemens Energy and others. The program includes international support from VCs and industry bodies such as, the Climate Pledge Fund, EIT Climate-KIC, ETF Partners, Blackrock Decarbonization Partners, Eurelectric, Lisbon Municipality, Wind Europe, and others. We’ve started to see some encouraging results. To date, the program has helped over 14 pilot kickoffs (and growing), influenced more than $207 million in seed funding for clean energy and climate technology startups and across the board accelerated their growth trajectories.
Rethinking Old Assumptions about Clean Energy Innovation
After months working with multiple startup cohorts, one of the most important lessons we’ve learned is how the program’s evolving dynamic and diverse make-up has forced us, the startups and participating energy companies to come to clashing moments with assumptions that we learned inhibit innovation and creative thinking – and challenge them.
One of those assumptions was that in order for a clean energy startup to succeed, they have to make incumbents fail though disruption. What we’ve seen however, is that often, by partnering with larger energy players, startups can leverage their experience, resources, and global reach. Another assumption is that innovation tightly follows highest investment geographies. However, we are starting to see that it’s decentralized and innovators are emerging from almost every corner of the planet. Aligning with human ingenuity, wherever it comes from, can pay off for organizations and communities alike.
Take Shifted Energy, a startup based in Hawaii that developed a leading distributed energy resources platform in close partnership with established utilities. They’re now using advanced machine learning to identify maintenance issues before they become problems, helping cut home utility bills by up to 90% in some cases, with over 95% of their install base in low-income communities. Shifted Energy is now partnering with customers in Europe and Australia.
Hybrid Greentech in Denmark, developed an analytics ecosystem for sizing and real-time optimization of energy storage, and Power-to-X solutions in energy markets. They have managed to reduce by 40% time to insights they can provide their customers on energy trading and energy storage asset optimization by leveraging advanced ML and AI . We’ve seen similar results from other past participants such as SmartPulse, based in Istanbul, connecting with new potential investors and partners, achieved 5x growth in their revenue and employees over eight months and is expanding to the UK and Nordics. Persefoni in the US, has to date enabled its customers to calculate more than 6.5 gigatons or 7.2 billion metric tons of CO2e. Persefoni is advancing more intelligent carbon footprint management and sustainability reporting with their platform, together with WindEsco named as one of the 10 most innovative companies in energy and sustainability in 2023 , among many others—all of which had close collaboration with industry incumbents and leaders who share their passion and commitment for bringing clean energy innovations to market faster. Local innovators are often better informed to address local problems before they become global.
Announcing a New Cohort of Clean Energy Startups
Today, we’re proud to announce the 15 startups that we’ve selected to take part in our next round of the Clean Energy Accelerator
Andes (USA) is a biotech startup that uses beneficial microorganism technology combined with artificial intelligence in agricultural fields to permanently remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, transforming it into minerals in the soil while improving yield and use.
Anodyne Chemistries (Canada) combines synthetic biology with electrochemistry to deliver enzymatic electrolysis, a low carbon, low temperature method to produce renewable chemicals and fuels.
Arenko (UK) software and hardware solution maximizes capabilities of energy storage and batteries for asset owners and operators. Its platform allows automated participation in multiple energy markets simultaneously, with control and automation of the assets.
CFEX (USA) built a platform to calculate scope 2 emissions on a 24×7 hourly basis. Meter-to-Carbon and Meter-to-Cash products are able to scale up to 10,000’s of enterprises with applications for automating PPA contracts and maximizing network effects between buyers and sellers.
DiviGas (Singapore) manufactures membranes that can purify hydrogen up to 99.95% purity from any feedstock composition, and maintains performance levels in extreme acidity and temperatures. DiviGas membranes reduce the cost of clean technologies such as Biomass Gasifiers, Solid Oxide fuel cells.
Element 1 (USA) produces on-demand green hydrogen from renewable methanol in compact and scalable generators for direct use by fuel cells or compression for hydrogen refueling. Applications include mobile, onsite and marine Hydrogen generation.
Fusebox Energy (Estonia) built a platform to integrate more renewable energy to the electricity system by balancing the supply and demand, using the flexibility of the consumers instead of hydrocarbon generators. Currently active in 12 countries in EU.
GENCELL (Israel) developed zero emission fuel cell generators capable of primary power using NH3 as a Hydrogen carrier designed to operate in a closed loop and 100% self-sufficient. Gencell systems can be incorporated for high energy storage and EV charging solutions.
Good Chemistry (Canada) uses quantum computing and machine learning to simulate carbon reducing materials properties at scale and accuracy before they are synthesized in the lab. Its record-breaking one million CPU core simulation speeds the discovery and design of improved materials and performance for battery storage, Hydrogen, CCUS, life sciences and more.
H2X Mobility (Australia) produces Hydrogen fuel cell powertrains, bringing clean hydrogen vehicles to market as well as Hydrogen generators for emergency power supply, peak load smoothing, off grid power, 5G communication towers and more.
Jungle AI (Netherlands) developed an artificial Intelligence platform to increase uptime and performance of renewable energy sources, built on existing sensors and data streams to improve machinery, predict component failure, and poor performance.
Leap Energy (USA) built a platform that connects distributed energy resources to wholesale energy markets creating a cleaner, more resilient grid with applications for battery storage, smart buildings and EV charging.
Levidian Nanosystems (UK) developed a patented self-contained carbon removal modular system that removes carbon from methane gas, creates high purity Hydrogen that can be used in existing infrastructure and generate graphene by-products to create carbon negative products.
Lyten (USA) is an advanced material manufacturer that invented Lyten 3D Graphene ™ platform and a proprietary process to liberate Carbon and Hydrogen with zero emissions. Lyten tunes and functionalizes 3D Graphene to create disruptive material performance in Energy, Defense, Automotive, Aviation applications and more.
SunGreenH2 (Singapore) brings a nanotech-level advance to green hydrogen production, using a complete modular electrolyzer system with an advantage of 30x reduce in use of precious metals, doubled (2x) hydrogen production and 10% lower renewable energy consumption.
We will immerse those startups in a hybrid 12-week course with business and technology leaders and introductions to like-minded innovators and industry experts. We’ll expose them to technical, business and go-to-market mentorship from AWS, as well as up $100,000 each in AWS credit through AWS Activate to kick-start their data and operations transformation in the cloud. With stops in Seattle in April 2023 and wrapping up with an Innovation Showcase at COP28 in Dubai, this year’s program has expanded reach and scope, with international exchange sprints to foster tech innovation hubs around the world, including one in the UAE in collaboration with Masdar City.
In addition to the primary cohort, a broader set of early-stage (pre-seed) startups and startups solving wider climate challenges will be selected to join part of the programing under the AWS Energy & Climate Lab, a technology and collaboration initiation module that advances startups preparedness to drive customer trial capability, investment competitiveness, digital maturity and engagement with industry networks.
We can’t wait to see what this new cohort of startups is capable of, and to continue learning collectively, sharing lessons from our participants and partners, on what’s working and what’s not in speeding clean energy adoption on a global scale. We’re eager to see some of their progress, you can pre-register to attend the COP28 Innovation Showcase in person or through broadcast
We’re hopeful those clean energy innovators will have a radically positive impact on health of our planet and quality of life by helping us address our hardest climate problems.
To learn more about the Clean Energy Accelerator and see the showcase for the last cohort, visit the AWS CEA page.