Sep 10, 2020

World’s largest sustainable energy accelerator expands to US

EIT InnoEnergy
sustainable energy
Catherine Hunter
4 min
EIT InnoEnergy expands its European ecosystem to the US, opening up transatlantic opportunities for sustainable energy commercialisation and collaboration
EIT InnoEnergy expands its European ecosystem to the US, opening up transatlantic opportunities for sustainable energy commercialisation and collaborati...


EIT InnoEnergy, the world’s largest sustainable energy engine headquartered in Europe, has today announced cleantech capital Boston as the launchpad for its expansion into another primary market, the US. The new office will help entrepreneurs develop their innovations and reduce time to market by providing direct access to 500+ industrial partners in EIT InnoEnergy’s ecosystem.

The transatlantic expansion will be mutually beneficial to start-ups and partners on both sides of the ocean, offering access to new markets and resources including investors, educators, and talent. By enhancing its ecosystem in this way, EIT InnoEnergy will further dismantle barriers to innovation spurring a wave of new sustainable energy technologies in areas such as offshore wind, storage, and e-mobility.

Supporting the launch, EIT InnoEnergy has signed a partnership with Greentown Labs, the largest cleantech start-up incubator in North America. EIT InnoEnergy and Greentown Labs are both active members of the Incubatenergy Network, a consortium of US clean energy-focused incubators that have supported more than 500 companies.

EIT InnoEnergy’s involvement with the Network, coupled with organic growth in its start-up portfolio, led the accelerator to consider a greater presence in the U.S. to further accelerate innovation. EIT InnoEnergy’s new office is led by former Greentown Labs founding team member Mark Vasu, who has been appointed as US Operations Manager while EIT InnoEnergy’s Innovation Director Elena Bou has joined Greentown Labs’ Advisory Board.

Welcoming the partnership Elena Bou, Innovation Director and Executive Board member, EIT InnoEnergy, said: “Solving the energy transition is a challenge without borders. By expanding our ecosystem to incorporate more diversity and richness, we can ensure that the very best sustainable energy innovations benefit all corners of the world.

Following an extensive search, it was clear that the Northeast US is the best location from which to expand our ecosystem and Greentown Labs is the perfect partner in the region to work with. Together we can create new opportunities for transatlantic partnerships, research and sales, not only shortening time to market, but also substantially increasing the impact of all involved.

“Over the last 10 years we have created a trusted innovation ecosystem in sustainable energy with more than 500 industrial partners, 55 specialized investors and more than 450 ventures and innovative companies. In addition to the Greentown Labs partnership, specialised US VCs including Breakthrough Energy Ventures, TDK Ventures, City Light and Arctern Ventures have already joined our VC Community as more and more US investors recognise Europe’s leadership in fighting climate change. It is a win-to-win situation and a boost to amplify the impact of sustainable energy innovations all around the globe.

“I am also thrilled to have Mark join us to spearhead the expansion and benefit from his insight in strengthening the region’s cleantech ecosystem by leading business development, partnerships, and international networking for Greentown Labs.”

Mark Vasu, US Operations Manager, EIT InnoEnergy, said: “I am excited to bring Europe’s most trusted ‘go to’ ecosystem to the US and leverage the network, knowledge, and depth of partnerships it has built in parallel with my tenure building Greentown Labs.

“EIT InnoEnergy’s expansion into the US is an enormous opportunity to help sustainable energy start-ups, both in the US and in Europe, that are looking to diversify geographically and rapidly scale their operations.” 

Welcoming the news, Peter Rothstein, President, Northeast Clean Energy Council, said: “EIT InnoEnergy could not have chosen a better place than Boston, the hub of the Northeast clean energy economy, to begin its expansion into the US. NECEC looks forward to partnering with EIT InnoEnergy and connecting our hundreds of member companies, entrepreneurs, investors, and market leaders to accelerate clean energy solutions and leverage strengths of ecosystems on both sides of the Atlantic.”

EIT InnoEnergy chose Boston, MA, because it is a hotbed for sustainable energy innovation and entrepreneurialism. The city has an active start-up community as well as a vibrant local network of research universities, institutions, and investors. Boston also benefits from supportive public policy at local and state level.

The Boston location joins EIT InnoEnergy’s Pan-European business activity via its network of offices in Barcelona, Lisbon, Berlin, Karlsruhe, Grenoble, Stockholm, Krakow, Brussels, Eindhoven and Amsterdam.

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Jun 7, 2021

Trafigura and Yara International explore clean ammonia usage

Dominic Ellis
2 min
Commodity trading company Trafigura and Yara International sign MoU to explore developing ammonia as a clean fuel in shipping

Independent commodity trading company Trafigura and Yara International have signed an MoU to explore developing ammonia as a clean fuel in shipping and ammonia fuel infrastructure.

Reducing shipping emissions is a vital component of the fight against global climate change, yet Greenhouse Gas emissions from the global maritime sector are increasing - and at odds with the IMO's strategy to cut absolute emissions by at least 50% by 2050. 

How more than 70,000 ships can decrease their reliance on carbon-based sources is one of transport's most pressing decarbonisation challenges.

Yara and Trafigura intend to collaborate on initiatives that will establish themselves in the clean ammonia value chain. Under the MoU announced today, Trafigura and Yara intend to work together in the following areas:

  • The supply of clean ammonia by Yara to Trafigura Group companies
  • Exploration of joint R&D initiatives for clean ammonia application as a marine fuel
  • Development of new clean ammonia assets including marine fuel infrastructure and market opportunities

Magnus Krogh Ankarstrand, President of Yara Clean Ammonia, said the agreement is a good example of cross-industry collaboration to develop and promote zero-emission fuel in the form of clean ammonia for the shipping industry. "Building clean ammonia value chains is critical to facilitate the transition to zero emission fuels by enabling the hydrogen economy – not least within trade and distribution where both Yara and Trafigura have leading capabilities. Demand and supply of clean ammonia need to be developed in tandem," he said.  

There is a growing consensus that hydrogen-based fuels will ultimately be the shipping fuels of the future, but clear and comprehensive regulation is essential, according to Jose Maria Larocca, Executive Director and Co-Head of Oil Trading for Trafigura.

Ammonia has a number of properties that require "further investigation," according to Wartsila. "It ignites and burns poorly compared to other fuels and is toxic and corrosive, making safe handling and storage important. Burning ammonia could also lead to higher NOx emissions unless controlled either by aftertreatment or by optimising the combustion process," it notes.

Trafigura has co-sponsored the R&D of MAN Energy Solutions’ ammonia-fuelled engine for maritime vessels, has performed in-depth studies of transport fuels with reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and has published a white paper on the need for a global carbon levy for shipping fuels to be introduced by International Maritime Organization.

Oslo-based Yara produces roughly 8.5 million tonnes of ammonia annually and employs a fleet of 11 ammonia carriers, including 5 fully owned ships, and owns 18 marine ammonia terminals with 580 kt of storage capacity – enabling it to produce and deliver ammonia across the globe.

It recently established a new clean ammonia unit to capture growth opportunities in emission-free fuel for shipping and power, carbon-free fertilizer and ammonia for industrial applications.

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