Each year, Energy Innovation Pioneers program at CERAWeek features a select group of promising startups working on early stage innovations that have the potential to disrupt the global energy industry. These companies epitomize the spirit and drive for invention characterizing the energy industry. We are delighted to share with you the 18th annual class of Energy Innovation Pioneers:
Founded in 2014, GreenFire Energy is advancing the generation of continuous and reliable geothermal energy. The firm takes a multifaceted approach
to advancing this goal, leveraging their advanced geothermal system technology—GreenLoop, a closed-loop technology which extracts and transports heat from the earth; expertise built through both in-house experience and with industry-recognized partners; and collaboration with market leading geothermal operating companies. GreenFire Energy’s technology is applicable to a broad spectrum of geothermal resources, including well retrofits, field expansions and greenfield projects.
GreenFire Energy’s technology has been developed with grants from the US Department of Energy, the California Energy Commission, and is the result of years of research conducted with US National Laboratories, major universities and experts in multiple disciplines. GreenFire Energy’s strategic partners and investors include Baker Hughes, H&P and Vallourec.
Founded in 2020, Heaten is working to decarbonize industrial processes through its HeatBooster very-high-temperature heat pump technology. By utilizing waste heat, HeatBooster increases energy efficiency and enables decarbonization in industrial sectors by replacing fossil-fuel supplied heat with electricity. Having successfully delivered steam or hot water at process temperatures of up to 200⁰C, Heaten’s technology is applicable to food, plastic, pulp and paper, breweries and drying processes. It will also be relevant in the low carbon applications that will drive the future economy like carbon capture (both point source and direct air capture), hydrogen production, data centers and district heating solutions.
Working with AVL Schrick, the largest independent motor development company in the world, Heaten has developed and designed megawatt-scale heat pumps using a current and proven technology platform. The HeatBooster’s piston-based compressor and family of 4-16 cylinder heat pumps leverages existing heavy-duty combustion engine infrastructure for scalable, low-cost production.
The company’s 12-year R&D history in the fields of organic Rankine cycle heat-to-power and power-to-heat machines has resulted in a strong patent portfolio for its technologies. Heaten is located in Kristiansand, Norway with teams based in Germany and the Netherlands. Investors include Azolla Ventures, Nysnø Climate Investments, Shell Ventures and Valinor.
Mangrove Lithium, founded in 2017, is developing and commercializing an electrochemical approach to lithium refining to allow for efficient conversion of extracted lithium intermediates into a battery-grade product from a variety of feedstocks. The company’s electrochemical process streamlines lithium refining by eliminating the need for a carbonate plant, reducing operating cost and time needed to convert the feedstock into lithium carbonate.
By taking a modular and platform approach to their technology, Mangrove offers flexibility in sourcing, co-locating and scaling up lithium refining. Their solution can be co-located at a variety of locations along the battery supply chain—at the point of extraction to meet the production specifications for any operation, near battery recycling plants to enable cost-effective closed-loop battery-value chains, or with battery manufacturers to allow them to enter diverse lithium supply agreement and reduce material supply issues while controlling lithium hydroxide purity to meet product specifications. With the majority of lithium refining capacity concentrated in China, Mangrove’s modular platform technology can allow a more diversified allocation of refining capacity world-wide, creating a more robust lithium supply chain.
Mangrove Lithium’s investors and partners include BDC Capital, BMW i Ventures, Breakthrough Energy, Emissions Reduction Alberta, Third Derivative and Zeton. In 2023, they were named a Global Cleantech 100 company.
Phoenix Tailings creates sustainable rare earth metals (critical minerals), which are harvested domestically from mining waste to eliminate supply risk in the production of key renewable energy technologies like wind turbines, power transformers and EV motors. Leveraging its proprietary technology, Phoenix Tailings secures these critical supply chains by enabling domestic production.
Backed by leading investors such as Olive Tree, Accomplice, Techstars and the U.S. Department of Energy, Phoenix has demonstrated production at its facility in Massachusetts, United States.
Proton Technologies is working to commercialize the production of clean commercial hydrogen from mature hydrocarbon resources. By adapting proven technologies from the in-situ gasification industry and combining them with hydrogen selectivity techniques from steam methane reforming, Proton’s patented process produces hydrogen from oil and gas fields by combining in-situ gasification with water to convert reservoir hydrocarbons to hydrogen. The produced hydrogen is separated from hydrocarbons in the subsurface, leaving the carbon in the ground. This technology enables clean hydrogen production from depleted or abandoned hydrocarbon bearing assets, thereby reducing the economic and environmental liabilities associated with oil and gas wells and other associated infrastructure.
Proton Technology was founded in 2016 by Grant Strem and Dr. Ian Gates, Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and the Director of the Global Research Initiative in Sustainable Low Carbon Unconventional Resources at the University of Calgary.
Sublime Systems is developing and commercializing electrochemically produced cement. Their process replaces high-temperature, fossil-fueled kilns with an electrochemical process that makes cement at ambient temperature. Further reduction of greenhouse gas emissions can be achieved by using renewable electricity to power the process.
Sublime’s technology produces an industry-accepted, calcium-based cement without the use of fossil fuels or limestone, and without the need for carbon capture and storage to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions associated with conventional cement production. The resulting Sublime Cement™ is an ASTM-compliant drop-in replacement for Portland cement.
Sublime currently operates a 100 tonne-per-year pilot plant in Somerville, Massachusetts, and recently closed a $40M series A, led by Lowercarbon Capital.
VEIR, founded in 2019, is developing high-temperature superconducting (HTS) transmission lines to enable the rapid growth of renewable electricity generation and support grid resiliency. VEIR’s HTS electric transmission lines operate with negligible resistive losses, enabling their lines to operate at electrical current levels higher than conventional lines. Very high current allows high power transmission for a given voltage level compared to conventional lines and transmission of the same amount of power as conventional lines, but at a lower voltage level. These characteristics allow VEIR’s technology to increase the transfer capabilities in existing transmission corridors and reduce the space needed for new transmission corridors.
VEIR’s technology uses a passive, distributed evaporative open loop cooling system to deliver significant cooling power per unit of coolant than conventional cooling systems. This technology is applicable to wide range of transmission market segments, from short- and long-distance overhead to underground and subsea.
VEIR’s investors include Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Congruent Ventures and The Engine, and is collaborating with National Grid. to accelerate the development of scalable solution before 2030.