Green Tech Briefing: Wired Special.

Green Tech Briefing: WIRED Energy Special

Oct 18, 2017 - 2min read

Last week Tonik took part in Wired’s inaugural energy conference in London. Our managing director, Chris Russell, picks his five favourite environmentally-minded entrepreneurs who talked at the event.

The evening before the event, the curator, Oliver Franklin-Wallis, told us how this first Wired Energy conference was about starting a conversation. Well, it certainly did that. I met many fascinating people at the conference last Friday with a range of ideas spanning the spectrum of sustainability from far-reaching future gazers to those tackling the here and now. It was a real pleasure to take the stage and talk to Wired’s senior editor, Vicki Turk, about the future of energy and how energy companies need to transition from suppliers to facilitators (you can watch the video here.) It was also a great pleasure to watch so many inspiring talks too. Here are my top five:

Enass Abo-Hamed (H2GO Power) on the Showcase Stage: Enass and her colleagues have created an innovative hydrogen storage solution to counter the reliability issues that renewable energy faces. H2GO’s system is made up of a semi-flexible nanomaterial sponge which traps hydrogen atoms that are later released by the application of heat. Stand out quote: “By 2040 we won’t have an energy generation problem, we will have an energy storage problem.”

Marjan van Aubel (Caventou) “Designing desirability”: Marrying aesthetics with technology, Marjan co-founded Caventou to make solar power beautiful. The Current Window, made up of what looks like multicoloured stained glass, incorporates dye-sensitised solar cells that turn the properties of colour into an electrical current. Stand out quote: “A window doesn’t have to be just a window anymore. It can be a power source.”    

Lawrence Orsini (Brooklyn Microgrid): “The Brooklyn Microgrid: what we’ve learnt”: We were especially excited to hear LO3 founder Orsini speak, as his enterprise is one of our favourite sustainability stories of the year. The Brooklyn Microgrid is at the forefront of the borough’s ‘energy resilience’ movement, allowing peer-to-peer consumers to bid in the renewable energy marketplace via the proxy of an app. Stand out quote: “Technology doesn’t adopt people. People adopt technology.”

Joanne Hubbard (Electron): “Energy blockchains: the hype and opportunities”: Networks of smart clean-energy systems are gradually replacing large-scale power stations, and Hubbard is at the forefront of this revolution. Electron aims to leverage blockchain technology to facilitate partnerships on the grid and to help those without their own panels to benefit from a decentralised energy economy. Stand out quote: “Collaboration technology is what blockchain really is.”

Inna Braverman (Eco Wave Power):  “Making Waves”: Wave power presents a near limitless yet underused source of renewable energy – Eco Wave Power aims to counter this. Braverman’s company works by a system of buoys and generators  which are attached to existing marine structures – putting them out of the way of sea creatures, and generating continuous energy with far lower costs. Stand out quote: “The need for wave energy is inevitable…it can produce twice the amount of electricity that the world produces now.”

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