Green light for innovations
Will cars start flying soon? When will our cities become smart? How will blockchain change the markets? We’re looking for the answers to these kinds of questions – as quickly as possible.
„The new industrial revolution has already begun.“Kerstin Eichmann at the Innovation Hub
To help us lead the way in shaping the energy market of the future, innogy founded the Innovation Hub several years ago. By making targeted minority shareholdings in promising start-ups and actively supporting their growth, the Innovation Hub is developing a portfolio of innovations. Within this portfolio we generate value for the start-ups through interdependencies and interactions with each other’s products, services and technologies resulting in significant synergies. Our ambitious goal is to promote trailblazing ideas that have the potential to revolutionise entire business models and industries. The innogy Innovation Hub focuses on four subject areas: “Machine Economy”, “Smart & Connected”, “Disruptive Digital” and “Cyber Ventures”.
innogy promotes innovations
Learning from start-ups
The innogy Innovation Hub is present in the world’s major innovation centres: Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv, and at the European Headquarters in Berlin, with presence in London and Warsaw. In each of these locations, we engage with local innovation ecosystems where business models are being rethought and cutting edge technologies are being developed and deployed. In collaboration with business partners, we jointly founded the world’s first global energy accelerator: Free Electrons.
The response to Free Electrons has been overwhelming: more than 515 start-ups from 65 countries applied for one of the coveted positions in the second round of selections in 2017.
International expertise and ideas
innogy believes in the power of innovations and we have made it our mission to encourage and promote them. Below, we present 3 projects that are changing the playing field.
How solar film revolutionised an industry
Ultra-thin and highly flexible: HeliaFilm® and HeliaSol® solar film, made by Heliathek in Dresden, weighs less than 1 kilogram per square metre and, therefore, has less than 5% of the weight of a traditonal solar power module. Thanks to resource efficient production the solar films by Heliathek generate only 20 grams of CO2 per kilowatt-hour, which gives them the lowest carbon footprint compared to any other form of power generation. Most importantly they can be laminated onto almost any material such as concrete, glass or steel – in particular, it can also be used on flexible surfaces unsuited to traditional solar technology.
innogy Venture Capital has been supporting this wonderfilm since 2009. The investment has paid off: Heliathek entered the market in 2012 and is now the world leader in organic photovoltaics. The start of high volume production is planned for 2019.
Cutting costs with drone inspections
Thanks to drones, inspecting solar power plants has now become faster – and more affordable. According to a study and practical experience, more than 80% of all photovoltaic installations in Germany show signs of damage and malfunction sooner or later. As a result, these plants no longer deliver the results that owners and operators expect. To avoid this problem, technicians have to climb up onto the roof for each plant inspection. This process has now become much easier – and cheaper, thanks to a new start-up, ucair. They carry out maintenance using drones.
ucair works with a network of over 50 drone pilots in Germany, Italy, Austria and Switzerland, who fly the drones to take thermography photos of the plants. The data is forwarded to ucair and analysed centrally. Damage to cells or modules can be identified based on the temperature differences – and the customer receives a report with recommendations for necessary repairs. Since its foundation in March 2017, ucair has already inspected plants with a capacity of around 100 megawatts – and helped customers gain potential additional yields of 380,000 euros.
Transparent consumption without back payments
Fresh Energy is the first fully digital electricity provider in Germany to use smart meters, eliminating back payments thanks to monthly billing after consumption. With Fresh Energy, customers get 100% clean energy, a free smart meter and an app for real-time visualisation of electricity consumption – even for individual household devices. Fresh Energy thus combats electricity wasters and sharpens customers’ awareness of their electricity consumption. With Fresh Energy, saving electricity is made easier and more transparent. This benefits the environment as well as the wallet.
The GreenTech start-up draws on a new concept: algorithms based on machine learning use the collected data to determine the electricity consumption of individual devices or specific types of devices in the household. Consumption is displayed in real-time visualisations on the app or the user’s website – with the primary focus on data privacy and security.