Can virtual conferences be successful in the COVID-19 era?
2020’s NREL Industrial Growth Forum was a little different this year. BRITE staff attended the Denver-based conference in late April. We were curious how the event would go because it is one of our favorites for gaining best practices from leading energy-tech incubators across the US and for meeting startups seeking investment. 2020 didn’t disappoint with the creative problem-solving of the organizing team. We were able to hear from over twenty startups at various stages, connect one-on-one with entrepreneurs interested in BRITE’s services during in scheduled hangouts and most surprisingly, a thoughtful “With Love from Colorado” package that included popcorn, tea and coffee was sent to our homes!
Hearing the pitches of energy storage startups excited the BRITE team more than anything. BRITE is actively working with several energy storage startups creating battery, fuel cell and internet of things solutions. It’s helpful to hear and connect with other startups in the space to gain industry insight. Here are a few of the companies that really stood out to us in this space:
Addionics has developed a smart approach to improve the mechanical design of electrodes in batteries. This results in significantly shorter charge times and longer lifetime and range. The solution is simple to deploy; all chemistry and materials stay the same. Why Our Heads are Turning: This startup has found a cost-effective way to reduce charging time and increase charge and lifetime of batteries with endless applications from drones to medical devices.
Microgrid Labs is a software company specializing in electrification of transportation and microgrids. MGL’s expertise includes mathematical modeling, simulation and optimization. Why Our Heads are Turning: How to manage seamless charging of fleet electric vehicles is the question of the year. The UK is piloting several projects with Schneider and Hitatchi, how the US develops its infrastructure is yet to be determined.
NETenergy is a thermal energy storage company that is creating a Hybrid Air Conditioner + Thermal Energy Storage System using its proprietary phase change composite material. It stores cold at night when prices and demand are low to reduce peak building cooling consumption by up to 40% and improve cooling efficiency by 10% and can provide payback to building owners in as little as 3 years without incentives. Why Our Heads are Turning: For one, Netenergy calls its technology Black Ice. More importantly, this technology provides a solution for peak demand in the commercial sector.
Feasible uses ultrasound and machine learning to rapidly and non-invasively deliver actionable information throughout the entire battery value chain. The patented process-control and process-enabling solutions are designed to help customers achieve best-in—class battery performance, reliability and safety while reducing overall battery costs. Why Our Heads are Turning: The number of batteries that are scrapped during the manufacturing process is staggering. This technology allows the electric vehicle market and others to meet demand by improving development and quality of batteries.