Unveiling Europe’s 7 Game-Changing Energy Storage Innovators
Sustainable energy storage solutions taking the CleanTech world by storm
Published: 3 January 2024
By Rose Shohet
Future of Utilities
Renewable energy must overcome its intermittency problem. Unlocking storage capacity – that is, storing energy in a safe and secure way which provides backup power in the event that renewable production runs low – is therefore one of the key challenges to kickstarting the energy transition. Start-ups are providing solutions to improve the lifecycle of batteries, find alternate materials to produce batteries, and create larger scale, innovative, longer-term forms of energy storage.
As well as this, batteries are currently produced using materials which are energy intensive and unsustainable, such as cobalt and lithium-ion. Developing greener solutions and 2nd life battery recycling strategies are therefore another imperative. Start-ups are piloting and manufacturing new types of storage systems, aiming to make them more sustainable, as well as commercially viable. At Future of Utilities: Energy Transition Summit, we’ve rounded up the 7 start-ups working on the most cutting edge and innovative storage solutions.
Making the lifecycle of batteries more sustainable
EV batteries tend to last 6-8 years, but once they have reached the end of their lifecycle, they still have 80% of their capacity available. betteries are a German start-up specialising in upcycling 2nd life EV batteries and transforming them into sustainable power systems. They also provide assistance to battery management systems, battery validation and certification, predictive maintenance and battery recycling. In embracing circular economy principles, they aim to help fast-track the transition to renewables, make e-mobility truly sustainable, and avoid waste. Meanwhile, their battery-as-a-service offering helps lower EV cost for consumers.
CEO: Thomas Duscha
Based in: Germany
Swobbee offers battery swapping stations for electric micro-mobility vehicles (such as scooters, bikes, and segways) to enable the rapid exchange and charging of their batteries. They currently have 29 charging stations open across Germany and offer public stations for all customers, as well as private stations for fleet operators to exclusively charge their batteries.
Using greener materials for battery components
UP Catalyst is an Estonian CleanTech start-up using molten salt carbon capture to reprocess CO2 and transform it into sustainable materials—such as carbon nanomaterials and graphite—which can then be used in electric vehicle (EV) batteries. Graphite makes up half of EV battery weight, and with European supplies of graphite running low, a scaled-up form of this production could revolutionise the battery industry.
CEO: Andrey Shigaev
Based in: Finland
Based in Helsinki, Geyser Batteries use water-based electrochemistry to develop and manufacture high-power, sustainable, non-lithium batteries. These fast-storage batteries are competitively priced and emit lower greenhouse gas emissions, all the while prioritising safety and simple recycling. Unlike traditional high-power heavy-duty storage solutions, Geyser Batteries are free of Nickel and Cobalt, ensuring batteries are produced via greener, more ethical processes.
Italian start-up Sinergy Flow are developing a low-cost and sustainable redox flow battery (RFB) for long-duration energy storage (LDES). Designed for power grids, they aim to help grid operators bring more renewable power into the energy mix using greener materials by replacing lithium-ion with sulfur.
Polar Night Energy converts electricity to heat, then stores it in sand—a cheap material that can be heated up to 1000 °C and safely deployed at a large scale. A heat transfer system is installed within the sand which transports this heat energy to and from the storage system, allowing for long term storage with minimal heat loss.
In industrial processes, 40% of energy is wasted during production and transferred into heat. Germany based start-up Kraftblock makes use of this wasted heat energy and recycles it through their Waste Heat Recycling System. The thermal energy can then be stored for up to two weeks and later transferred back into useful energy – for district heating, electricity, and cooling. This scalable solution helps speed up industrial decarbonisation, providing low cost, efficient solutions applicable to multiple industries.
This year’s Innovation Stage at Future of Utilities: Energy Transition Summit showcases the most innovative and interesting CleanTech start-ups pitching and presenting their ideas. Meet the founders of Geyser Batteries, UP Catalyst & more in Amsterdam this March. Secure your place now!
Are you a CleanTech start-up looking to put yourself in front of key industry players and investors? We have a variety of opportunities to get involved at Future of Utilities: Energy Transition Summit. Download the prospectus here.