The importance of demand-side innovation for the energy transition
The ways in which energy is being consumed are shifting quickly and fundamentally. For a long time, three global drivers of change – decarbonisation, digitalisation, decentralisation – were shaping energy system developments throughout the world. In response to the faster pace of technological innovation and increasing uptake of climate policies, one new global driver has emerged – demand-side innovation. Such a disruptor reflects the rise of digitally empowered prosumers and new demand for clean and efficient energy services. Ultimately, end-users want ideas, which help them do more with less.
For this reason, the SET Award category (Demand Side Innovation) is dedicated to bringing to light the most cutting edge innovators seeking the next big breakthrough that will aide industries, cities and households to track, manage, reduce or adapt their energy consumption. Demand side innovators are becoming one of the key drivers in the creation of net-zero communities. Thanks to their pioneering work, we have easily accessible smart devices, applications, materials, substitutes and behaviour-changing innovations that allow us to improve our energy use and promote a cleaner way of living.
The SET100 alumni network is an annual compilation of the 100 most innovative start-ups in the energy transition. Throughout the years we have seen some inspiring demand side innovation focused start-ups reach great heights with their ideas.
In this edition, we will highlight 2020’s SET Award winner Enerbrain (Italy) and SET100’s Enersion (Canada) and Passive Logic (United States).
The Turin based plug and play solution for energy efficiency
Enerbrain, a SET Award 2020 winner, is a plug and play solution for energy efficiency. Founded in 2015 within the Innovative Enterprises business incubator of the Politecnico di Torino, Enerbrain has developed energy retrofit solutions for large buildings that allow drastic cuts in consumption as well as a significant improvement in internal comfort. Thanks to innovative Internet of things (IoT) hardware and powerful algorithms in the cloud to fine-tune energy usage in real time Enerbrain allows operational savings. Their main focus goes beyond energy by providing the best indoor air quality and educating occupants in order to generate a wider social impact thanks to engagement tools and a new way to access data across devices.
Enerbrain’s solution can turn energy-wasteful non-residential buildings into smarter, healthier and more sustainable ones by using innovative IoT sensors, actuators, and novel fuzzy algorithms. Due to a scalable “plug&play” kit of devices, that can be easily installed in every building, Enerbrain allows its client to fine-tune energy usage in real time, allowing an average of 30% operational savings, without any drastic changes or replacements to the existing HVAC system.
Enersions mission to rethink cooling systems
Enersion, a Canada based 2020 SET100 alumni, has as its mission to reduce the carbon footprint of conventional cooling systems by replacing them with green alternatives that use sustainable energy sources. The problem that current cooling systems present is twofold: electricity is required for cooling, and in the process of generating electricity almost 90% of heat byproduct is wasted. Secondly, toxic synthetic refrigerants (R-134a) are used which contribute 1000 times more to global warming than carbon dioxide.
Their tri-generation solution is an all-inclusive platform that uses sustainable sources such as solar, biogas and renewable natural gas to produce cooling. In the process of doing so, Enersion: first, utilize 100% of heat byproduct from electricity generation for their system’s thermal compression cycle and auxiliary needs that clients may have. Secondly, the excess electricity generated can be diverted to meet clients power needs, and thirdly they use plain water as the refrigerant. Their advanced cooling solutions are among the most efficient worldwide and can significantly reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
Enersion is a forward-looking company born out of the motivation to replace conventional mechanical compression cooling systems. Their founders are a group of scientists and engineers well versed in the field of adsorption and thermodynamics. Through their scientific discoveries, the innovative cooling technology was developed with the vision to reduce the carbon footprint of cooling systems worldwide.
Building Automation: The first fully autonomous platform for buildings
PassiveLogic is the first fully autonomous platform for buildings, going beyond “smart” or “automated. The PassiveLogic Hive platform is built on a physics-based engine that uses deep digital twin analogs of the building, its occupants, and its equipment to control inter-connected systems with an intelligent physics-based view of the future.
PassiveLogic’s revolutionary intelligent control technology dramatically improves building energy efficiency and operational costs, while eliminating the current market barrier-to-entry: programming.
PassiveLogic’s artificial intelligence-driven control brings the power of big-data down to the building level, providing every customer with their own virtual engineering team in one simple plug-and-play box.
Hive. Credits: PassiveLogic
Start-up success stories: join the SET network!
Today, the SET community counts more than 2,000 amazing innovative start-ups. Nevertheless, to keep supporting them in their journey is one of our priorities. This is why we regularly share their adventures in our SET Success Stories.
Make sure to follow us on social media and subscribe on our network platform to find out more about SET start-up success stories 2021. And if you have an innovation transforming either the energy or the mobility industry, go apply for the SET Award!
Source Header: Giga Khurtsilava/Las Setas