Five renewable start-ups getting funding despite coronavirus
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Five renewable start-ups getting funding despite coronavirus

By Ilaria Grasso Macola 28 Apr 2020

Despite the slowdown in renewable energy production caused by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, people are still investing in renewable energy projects, in particular start-ups.

Five renewable start-ups getting funding despite coronavirus
Despite the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, renewable energy start-ups are getting funded. Credit: Martijn Baudoin.

Earlier this month, Google decided to fund 11 start-ups thorough its Startups Accelerator, set up in November 2019 to work towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The companies selected work on finding solutions to social and environmental issues, including the renewable energy transition.

Around the same time, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency announced AUD480,000 ($309,000) in funding over the next year to start-up acceleration programme EnergyLab to finance clean energy projects.

In LA, a public-private partnership that included clean energy incubator the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator proposed an infrastructure package worth $150bn.

The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator has also selected 16 start-ups for its incubator programme, offering services and $20,000 funding for pilot projects in exchange for a 1.5% to 3% stake.

Power Technology takes a look at the top five projects that are being funded during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.


1. Solar Freeze – Kenya

Financed by Google through its accelerator for UN SDGs, the Kenyan start-up is working on mobile cold storage units powered by renewable energy.

The company’s aim is to help farmers reduce post-harvest loss, which in developing nations amount to almost 80% as the cold-harvest chain is limited due to the high cost of equipment and unreliable electricity supply.

Solar Freeze is testing its eponymous system that consists of an off-grid portable store powered by photovoltaic panels.


2. Ekwateur – France

Founded in 2015, Ekwateur is collaborative green energy supplier where clients can become part of the company’s customer service team.

Ekwateur, which is France’s fifth-largest provider of energy, raised €1.5m between January and March. The funds are needed for the company to develop its labs, continue the development of its IT infrastructure and create a data analysis system based on behavioural science.

3. Alumina Energy – US

Alumina Energy, an energy storage technology start-up, is one of the 16 companies to be funded by the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator.

Alumina Energy designs energy storage systems that provide high energy density and maximise energy recovery at a low cost. The systems, called Packed Bed Energy Storage (PB-TES), use a ceramic storage material that has high thermal conductivity, recovering up to 1,500°C.


4. InPipe Energy – US

Renewable energy and smart water tech company InPipe Energy has developed a system where low-cost, clean electricity is derived from the flow of water into a gravity-fed pipeline.

This system, which is expected to improve the costs of water management, was awarded funding by the Los Angeles incubator.


5. Natel Energy – US

California-based hydropower start-up Natel Energy has updated the design of hydropower turbines, cutting down power plants costs and complying with environmental regulations.

The company, which was founded in 2009, is getting funded by Silicon-Valley venture capital fund Schneider Electric Ventures and Breakthrough Energy Ventures, founded by Bill Gates in 2015 to foster the development of renewable energy production.