Six digital platform and data service SMEs join Energy Launchpad

Published: 2 March 2020

Six innovative tech companies have been selected for a rigorous business growth programme due to their potential to transform the energy system by exploiting digital technology and data.

The UK businesses, all working on cutting-edge solutions from using satellite images to suggest ideal locations for renewable energy generation, to a digital platform and mobile app that rewards consumers for shifting their energy use away from peak times, will get tailored business and technical support after winning the backing of Energy Systems Catapult’s Energy Launchpad.

For its 3rd ‘innovator challenge’, the Catapult sought to find digital and data-focused SMEs working on solutions that could help create the smarter, more flexible energy system needed to achieve net zero carbon emissions.

The firms will receive specialist business support from both the Catapult’s in-house technical services, tools and expertise, as well as from its network of around 40 businesses to speed up the process of either getting their product to market or scaling up.

Paul Jordan, Business Lead for Energy Launchpad and International at Energy Systems Catapult, said: “We were blown away by the distinct variety of businesses that applied to this Innovator Challenge. Whittling it down to just six was not easy, but we are very pleased with the third cohort of SMEs to join our Energy Launchpad.

“We set up the Energy Launchpad to give energy-focussed SMEs with high growth potential the chance to benefit from the Catapult’s advanced range of tools, assets and capabilities, as well as our network of 40 firms who are on hand to provide wider support on a range of areas key to any growing business.

“Our team know the complex challenges the sector poses and will work hard to help these businesses maximise their impact through a blend of support services tailored to their needs.

“We look forward to working with the companies and discovering how we can take them to the next level.”

An Energy Launchpad panel robustly evaluated applications from across the UK. The six companies chosen were:

1. Digital Engineering

Digital Engineering has developed technology that helps utility companies understand the effect weather has on their networks, this is crucial for net zero systems as weather will play an increasing role in demand forecasting, renewable generation, and asset management and optimisation.

Services such as asset health assessments monitors the impact of weather and corrosion enabling the optimisation of an assets through life costs.

Rob Sunderland, Managing Director, said: “I’m really pleased that Digital Engineering has been selected for the Energy Launchpad. Over the last few years Digital Engineering has helped create some amazing innovations with companies like National Grid and SP Energy Networks. With the Catapult’s support we should be able to deliver these solutions to power transmission companies around the world. That’s a really exciting prospect and I can’t wait to get started.”

2. Energeo

Energeo’s mission is to accelerate the low carbon transition by harnessing the power of geospatial big data, such as satellite imagery, to help businesses and individuals quickly identify the most ideal locations to deploy low carbon technologies.

This location-based intelligence is used as a form of ‘digital surveying’ that reduces the costs and timescales associated with manual methods.

Ian Dee, CEO, said: “Everyone at Energeo is delighted to be part of the Energy Launchpad. The Catapult’s ambition to capture the clean growth opportunity is directly compatible with Energeo’s own mission of a data-driven acceleration of decarbonisation.

“Their sector expertise and whole system approach will ensure Energeo can successfully scale and compete in a rapidly changing industry, and the Energeo team can’t wait to start working with them and the rest of the cohort.”

3. Equiwatt

Equiwatt incentivises consumers to save energy at peak times through an app-based rewards scheme. Their digital platform monitors periods of peak demand on the grid, tracks home’s energy use via smart meters and helps households to automatically turn-off appliances during peak time events or ‘Equivents’. Households earn points based on the amount of energy moved off peak whilst reducing their carbon footprint. These points can be exchanged for vouchers or smart products and discounts.

The company’s consumer engagement will unlock the potential of residential demand side response supporting energy suppliers and network operators to create an energy system that is cleaner, flexible and more efficient.

Johnson Fernandes, Founder and CEO, said: “The Equiwatt team are thrilled to be part of the Catapult’s Energy Launchpad. It will be a brilliant support for our business in further validating our proposition, accessing opportunities for live trials and gaining support from key industry experts.

“We believe the Catapult holds the key for accelerating the roll out of our energy saving technology into thousands of UK homes.”

4. OrxaGrid

OrxaGrid have developed software which can process electricity grid data to produce insights on how to reduce energy losses and increase overall efficiency to inform energy management decision making.

The company has also developed a range of devices for building a smarter grid, including sensors that monitor the performance of transformers and overhead lines to continuously measure and detect outages and disturbances.

Akshat Kulkarni, Co-founder and CEO, said: “As a company that develops data-science backed software solutions and sensors for smarter electricity grids, the whole OrxaGrid team is excited to have our work recognised by Energy System Catapult’s Energy Launchpad.

“We are looking forward to leveraging the team’s support to accelerate the development of our ideas and capture opportunities within the UK.”

5. Scene Connect

Scene Connect has developed a digital platform which lets suppliers sell power and heat ‘as a service’ – instead of in kilowatt hours – by calculating bespoke tariffs for their customers.

The technology can also be used for trading energy with other local homes and businesses and providing automated grid management services for network operators, allowing them to increase efficiency and reward local generation, supply and flexibility.

Alex Schlicke, Co-Director, said: “We are really looking forward to working with the Catapult team and being able to access their resources.

“The work going on within energy systems right now is really exciting and it is fantastic to be right in the heart of it through being selected for the Innovator Support Platform.”

6. Smart Power Networks

Smart Power Networks have developed the Smart Network Controller, an all-in-a-box solution for creating a flexible and secure electricity grid.

The SNC allows users to monitor the system, enables real-time control and protection of energy assets. It can help lower the carbon footprint of energy systems, increase revenue for network operators and allow homes and businesses to sell their own renewable energy to the grid or others in the market.

Anastasios Oulis Rousis, Managing Director and Founder, said: “We are delighted to learn that our application to the Energy Launchpad has been successful. It is a great opportunity for Smart Power Networks (SMPnet) to work with ESC, who we believe can help us refine and improve our offering across various dimensions.

“We are excited with the support package tailored to our needs and we look forward to working with the Catapult’s brilliant team.”