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: over two editions, the program received +1000 applications, from 65 different countries, a testament to the global reach of this initiative.

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.

The future is light

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.

Automated inspections thanks to drones and AI

Cutting costs with drone inspections

Maintenance activities in the energy industry are expensive and largely manual. Autonomous drones and artificial intelligence-supported analytics will enable utilities to capture more data about the health of their assets faster and safer than any other methods available today.

Sterblue was founded in San Francisco in 2016. The start-up has developed a digital platform for infrastructure inspections, using drones and artificial intelligence in a fully automated workflow. Using standard, off-the-shelf drones, the Sterblue platform can be used to generate flight plans for automated inspections of infrastructure (such as power lines, electrical towers or wind turbines) as well as automated identification of defects.

innogy and Sterblue share the vision of the future of energy that has a self-checking and possibly self-maintaining grid infrastructure that takes away some of today’s inefficiencies. Sterblue´s capabilities will help us to move closer to achieve this common goal.

Dynamic load management

Holistic and flexible energy management

The energy market is rapidly changing and requires digital, decentralized and sustainable solutions. Consumers are increasingly becoming "prosumers" who not only consume electricity, but also produce it, for example, through their own solar or photovoltaic systems. Companies must respond to the new demands of digital transformation and offer their customers holistic, flexible energy management. The gridX technology captures, stores and manages data in real time and guarantees dynamic load management. The intelligent IoT platform of gridX saves companies expensive basic developments that have nothing to do with the actual solution and serves as a technical pioneer for all future business models along the (energy) value chain.

The gridX technology fully supports the vision of the innogy Innovation Hub of a decentralized and renewable energy world.

Next chapter Pioneers