Shell launches multimillion-dollar clean tech incubator with NREL
Shell has announced a programme worth millions of dollars to advance emerging clean technologies, in partnership with the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
The programme, called the Shell GameChanger Accelerator (GCxN), will work with early-stage startups to develop technologies which look at long-term clean energy solutions, such as energy storage.
Shell and NREL will utilise their resources to help startups de-risk emerging technologies and accelerate their path to market, with GCxN providing up to $250,000 in non-diluted funding to successful applicants.
Lene Hviid, global manager for Shell’s GameChanger said: “Shell has a 25-year history of supporting early-stage startups and entrepreneurs that are impacting the future of energy. Capitalising on NREL’s world class laboratories and technical expertise, GCxN brings together industry experts and innovative thinking to identify promising new technologies and help move future energy solutions to market.”
Richard Adams, director of NREL’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (IEC) stated: “We are excited to expand out public/private partnerships with a global leader like Shell in order to address new areas for technology incubation that will be critical to the success of our energy future and leverage our combined expertise in this important work.”
This builds on the success of the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator, IN2, which has been developed in partnership with NREL over the past few years.
Speaking to Energy Digital for an upcoming feature, NREL’s Trish Cozart, Program Manager for IN2, said that the support offered by these kinds of incubator programmes is worth much more than just the capital on offer.
“Having experts in the lab is like expanding your team to something incredible, more so than they could ever do on their own, and the facilities are sometimes not even possible to get as a startup without something like that,” said Cozart.
“I think the support system is worth twice as much as the money in a lot of ways, maybe more,” she added.
The first round of successful applicants is set to be announced this year.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.