Thousands of startups emerge every year, all with the intention of revolutionizing the world in their respective fields. However, considering the global context of pollution and global warming, few of them are as important as those related to energy and sustainability. These startups have the potential to improve the world and help build a better future.
That’s why I thought it’d be interesting to highlight some of the most promising and innovative ventures that promote environmentally responsible practices, which are making waves in the sector.
Next Energy is a company that has developed commercial windows that also serve as solar panels. They have created a transparent coating that can be applied to windows, allowing them to capture sunlight and convert it into energy. The great thing about this venture is that the original product—the window—can function as intended while also generating clean energy. In fact, they recently made an agreement with the clothing company Patagonia to install their product in their headquarters in Ventura, California.
The fact that electric vehicles and solar panels on homes are becoming increasingly common worldwide is undoubtedly a tremendously positive trend. However, as their use becomes more widespread, so does the disposal of lithium batteries, which have a limited lifespan and become significant pollutants. This is where Ascend Elements comes in. They have developed a new and more efficient way to recycle these batteries. The company’s process allows them to recover 98% of the lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite, plastics, aluminum, and copper from these old batteries. They have been so successful that last year they opened the largest battery recycling plant in the United States.
The French company Kayrros focuses on geoanalysis. They use satellite imagery and machine learning algorithms to identify real-time environmental changes. They are developing numerous technologies, including a CO2 monitor that tracks emissions country by country, a renewable energy monitor that allows tracking of wind and solar projects that enables investors to identify companies with better performance and make more informed investment decisions, and a forest fire monitor that predicts wildfires to keep insurers informed.
This company has developed a technology that is somewhat like a large “heat battery” that stores renewable energy in bricks. The bricks, made of clay, are heated using electricity-conducting cables. The brick material retains the heat, which can then be used in factories. Why does it work? Because it is cheaper than fossil fuel, which is one of the planet’s largest pollutants. Rondo Energy also has the support of someone who knows a thing or two about all this: Bill Gates.
The cement industry is one of the largest polluters in the world, and Brimstone is making significant changes in that sector. The company manufactures Portland cement, which is the most common type. The only difference with their cement is that they replaced an ingredient; instead of using limestone, they use silicate rock, which does not generate CO2 when heated. Additionally, the process creates silica, a byproduct that can replace another cement ingredient sourced from coal power plants. The icing on the cake is that the processing of silicate creates magnesium rock, which absorbs CO2 from the air. It’s a circular ecosystem. In fact, if Brimstone’s cement is produced using renewable energy, it becomes a carbon-negative process. Not only does it not generate emissions, but it also reduces what’s already in the environment.