Energy storage is the new oil

Humankind is in the middle of a major energy transition.  When we discovered fossil fuels, such as coal, it changed our lives forever, allowing production and travel at a scale never seen before. Over time, we learned that despite the many advantages, our use of fossil fuels is slowly turning our planet into an uninhabitable oven.

Luckily, we already know how to generate vast amounts of energy without emissions using solar power and other renewables. We just haven’t been able to deliver that energy at the right place and the right time. The new wave of battery startups is finally changing this, and rapidly.

The massive need for new energy storage solutions comes in several main forms. The most recognized one is electric vehicles (EV). EVs produce fewer emissions and cost less to drive and maintain, as electric engines are more efficient (70% instead of 30% energy efficiency) and have fewer expensive parts that break in use. Electrified cars are also able to re-capture motion energy that would be otherwise lost during braking. To capture brake energy, the whole car doesn’t even have to be electric, it just needs a re-capture and re-use system – including a heavy-duty battery.

For EVs, it’s not enough to merely carry a lot of energy in the car. The vehicles will also need to recharge rapidly to not pepper long drives with overly long breaks. This creates a lot of pressure for the grid and local energy storage at the charging points. Unlike car batteries, local storage doesn’t need to be mobile, but it needs to be able to store vast amounts of energy at a low cost and last long in heavy-duty use, all while causing as few emissions as possible.

As luck would have it, there are multiple Finnish startups tackling all the above challenges. Each focuses on one or a few areas, such as local or mobile storage or battery lifetime optimizations. They’re the result of the hard work of their founders and staff, but also national factors such as raw materials, local industrial ecosystem and demand, and continuous investments as well as training of new experts into the field by the government.

Get to know the most impressive battery startups from Finland

Akkurate – Battery lifetime monitoring and optimization software. Optimizing battery usage to increase its lifetime, forecasting the needs for maintenance or replacements, as well as evaluating and modeling the risks for insurance, financing and other related services.

AkkuSer – Recycling portable batteries. They extract valuable raw materials and deliver those to metal refineries, serving as material for new batteries and other demanding products.

Bamomas – Battery fleet management and optimization software that can support multiple battery technologies. They are able to provide a whole fleet management solution or integrate with existing ones.

Geyser Batteries – Power batteries that last over a million charge cycles, are sustainable, can be produced from local materials all around the world, and are safe.

Teraloop – Their kinetic energy storage increases the utilization and reduces the costs of stationary energy storage. This sustainable solution can increase the utilization of an EV fast charge point by over 400% and reduce the capital cost of the storage by almost 70%. They’re well suited for enhancing distributed energy assets like virtual power plants and industrial process protection.

Interested to learn more? Read the full company bios from ecosystem.fi.

 

Hottest Finnish drone startups 2021

Drones have come to stay, and their market is growing at a staggering speed. Drone Industry Insights estimates the annual growth rate to be over 20% both worldwide and in Europe, and even higher in Asia. The European drone market is forecasted to more than double from 2018’s $4.0b to $9.7b by 2024. For the companies in the field, this means they can grow their revenues without any change in their market share.

Before jumping to the hottest drone players in Finland, let’s take a look in what does this mean for those of us who actually don’t work in the field.

We do not often see drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), when walking in the cities of 2021. Modern streets are full of cars, bikes and pedestrians, but a drone in action is still a rare sight. This is changing every year, as more and more tasks are switched over to be performed by drones.

The situation is much like how we switched from horse carriages to cars, and we have just gotten started.

From logistics to agriculture, construction to forestry, and telecom tower maintenance to mining, drones are instrumental in getting more done with less: less risk to human life, less costs and less emissions.

A drone can deliver medical supplies in emergencies at a fraction of the time and cost of what it used to take.

Construction site progress can be inspected in detail remotely, enabling more accurate forecasting of schedules and reduction of waste.

Rapid situational overview of traffic accidents and inspections of street and road quality to prioritize maintenance efforts, especially in winter, can save lives as well.

A drone can perform a telecom tower inspection much faster than what it would take a human to climb up to the dizzying heights, all the while avoiding risk to human life.

Finland, the Nordic home country of numerous tech startups like Supercell, Wolt and Smartly, is the home market of increasingly many drone startups as well. The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency’s long tradition of supporting unmanned industry development has made Finland an ideal setting for pushing the boundary of what is possible without compromising safety.

Six Finnish drone startups to follow

Fleetonomy – Developers of next generation decision-making systems, including autonomous driving and flying of drones, cars and other vehicles. They also offer these as a managed service.

Flyby Guys – Planning and management of large-scale drone operations of up to hundreds of units in the air simultaneously, and consulting on a variety of demanding drone-related topics. They have a wide network of partners, through which they have been able to put together proposals for comprehensive projects in days.

Mericon – Producing measurements such as high-quality orthophotos and photogrammetric point clouds, tied to the local coordinate system. The end product of the service can be a surface or a 3D-model of the described object in CAD format or a classified point cloud for example in las-format. Rapid mass calculations on large objects or areas.

Robots Expert – Drone experts helping organizations identify value-adding drone use cases and implement them; cities to identify and prepare for the transition to drone-powered transportation as part of their mobility mix; and provide in-depth assistance to drone operators and manufacturers to meet regulatory, airworthiness and organization requirements.

Skydata – Over 10 years of experience in hardware solutions, pilot training and consulting companies on how to utilize drones efficiently and safely. Ready to offer turnkey solutions, including training, technical support, rental and backup hardware, auditing and development services and insurance covering insurance and responsibilities.

Viasor – 3D modeling of buildings and construction sites. Can be used e.g. for planning and guidance for maintenance, or following the development of construction sites remotely for accurate forecasting and management.

Looking for more drone specialists? Have a look at an extended list of local drone startups at Ecosystem.fi.