Vision and entrepreneurism are disrupting the energy sector as new entrants challenge incumbent companies with new and innovative solutions in an expanding and fast moving environment.
Each year the World Economic Forum presents its selection of technology pioneers and from the 35 companies nominated in the fields of energy, environment and infrastructure and IT, Engerati has selected those you should be watching (presented in alphabetical order).
Six energy, environment and infrastructure pioneers
Carbon Clean Solutions, based in Bangalore, India, provides out-of-the-box technology solutions to power-plants, steel, cement, fertilizer, chemical and petrochemical industries for reducing CO2 emissions. The post combustion carbon capture technology is designed for more than 90% CO2 capture from power plants and industries.
Heliatek, based in Dresden, Germany, a spin-off from the Technical University of Dresden (IAPP) and the University of Ulm, is pioneering the development of organic photovoltaics. These thin, light and flexible solar films are enabling new applications such as solar PV from building facades and vehicle roofs. [Engerati-Organic Photovoltaics Are Enabling New Solar Market Opportunities]
Plant-e, based in Wageningen, Netherlands, a spin-off from Wageningen University, develops products in which living plants generate electricity. This is achieved by harvesting the electrons released as micro-organisms break down organic matter produced by the plants in the photosynthesis process, but without compromising plant growth, enabling whole fields or for example building roofs to be turned into power generation facilities.
Sensity Systems, based in Sunnyvale, California, embeds networking technology and sensors within LED luminaires to provide the first Light Sensory Network implementation. Applications include lighting management, public safety, parking control, asset management and retail analytics.
Stem, based in Millbrae, California, combines its energy management software with storage options from partners to provide intelligent storage solutions that can lead to lower electric bills. A dashboard provides down to the second visibility of energy use and the PowerMonitor tracks the building in real-time and sending commands for when to store and deploy energy. [Engerati-Storage An Attractive Investment Proposition]
Tokamak Energy, based near Oxford, UK, aims to aims to accelerate the development of fusion energy by combining spherical tokamaks and high-temperature superconductors. With such a device expected to be significantly smaller than other fusion machines currently proposed, the focus is on developing a compact spherical tokamak fusion energy source to demonstrate net energy gain.
Six other pioneers
Ayasdi, based in Menlo Park, California, has developed software that reveals patterns and relationships in complex datasets using Topological Data Analysis (TDA). This promises improved quality and speed of analytics, which is required as the collection and analysis of data from transactions, sensors and biometrics grows as we evolve towards an Internet of Things.
BlueOak, based in Burlingame, California, is building distributed mini-refineries to extract precious metals and rare earth elements from electronic waste. Recycling will provide a large and untapped source of these metals for use in alternative energy technologies such as wind turbines, hybrid vehicles and fuel cells, among others.
CoeLux, based in Lomazzo, Italy, has developed an optical system based on nano technology to artificially reproduce the natural light and visual appearance of the sun and sky. Aimed for all types of indoor architecture, the technology can create the sensation of infinite space.
Darktrace, based in London, UK, is committed to closing the gap between cyber attack methodologies and defense technology. Its Enterprise Immune System allows computers to learn what 'self' is with regards to individual users, devices and entire computer networks and thereby to detect even the subtlest of deviations from the normal pattern of life of these entities.
Spire Global, based in San Francisco, California, develops satellite based data collection and analysis solutions. Its Stratos solution uses GPS radio occultation to determine very precise profiles for temperature, pressure, and humidity in order to significantly improve weather forecasting.
Vicarious, based in San Francisco, California, is building a unified algorithmic architecture to achieve human-level intelligence in vision, language, and motor control. Currently, the focus is on visual perception problems, like recognition, segmentation and scene parsing.