The future of energy just got a little brighter, with 15 energy start-ups selected from more than 500 applications from around the world to form the 2018 cohort of Free Electrons, the global energy start-up accelerator program.
Free Electrons is a global year-long program supported by Origin and another eight energy companies from around the world that supports start-ups with clever and innovative energy solutions. Each year, an cohort of start-ups are chosen to receive the support and mentoring to progress their big energy ideas.
Ideas from 65 countries were entered this year, with so much potential that the judges expanded the top 12 to a top 15.
Relectrify, a company exploring the possibility of giving retired electric car batteries a second life so they can be reused as energy storage units for homes and power grids, was the only Australian start-up selected to take part in the 2018 program.
Tony Lucas, Executive General Manager Future Energy said, “Origin is thrilled to be working with Free Electrons to help develop leading edge innovation in energy, and it’s even more satisfying when we can unearth a start-up with a great idea in our own backyard.
“It is a huge achievement for Relectrify to be selected in the 2018 intake of Free Electrons after more than 500 applications were received globally, and a great opportunity to help take their idea to the next stage.
“Relectrify is a company that has recognised an emerging market in repurposing electric car batteries and we’re excited to spend some time working with them to see if we can help them develop it commercially.
“Technology is driving rapid change in the energy industry, facilitating 24-7 interaction with our customers and giving them greater control over their energy use and costs. We are embracing start-up culture through our involvement with Free Electrons and opening the doors to new ideas and ways of interacting with our customers,” Lucas said.
Portugal’s EDP Innovation, another Free Electrons founding partner, said the standard of the applications was so high the program had to be expanded to 15 start-ups this year.
“It was not easy to pick from such a strong batch, in fact in the end we had to choose 15, and not the 12 we intended, and I believe that says a lot about the global quality of the program,” EDP executive board member Luis Manuel said.
During the program, participants will work closely with local players, utilities, mentors and other resources in order to accelerate their company’s growth.
Free Electrons 2017 generated an overall financial value of contracts signed between the 12 start-ups and the 8 utilities of about US$2 million, with a pipeline of ongoing opportunities surpassing US$12 million.