- most innovative companies
Elementary changes are taking place in the way we are replacing fossil fuels and decarbonizing the economy, and companies like Twelve, BlocPower, AES, and Heliogen are leading the way.
by Adele Petersread 10 minutes
Discover the complete list of 2022fast companyThe most innovative companies, 528 organizations whose efforts are transforming their businesses, industries, and overall culture. In 52 categories, we select the companies that have the most impact with their initiatives, including the most innovativecorporate social responsibility,Project, zsocial goodcompanies.
A fundamental change is taking place in the world of energy. To meet climate targets, the International Energy Agency, an organization originally formed to ensure the security of oil supplies, has urged investors to stop funding new oil, gas and coal development. In the US, wind and solar power nearly quadrupled between 2011 and 2021. Both renewables and battery storage have slashed in cost. 2021 broke records for new clean energy installations. And yet, the pace and scale of the changes required to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 is daunting.
This year's most innovative energy companies are finding new ways to accelerate the transition. Some are focusing on less obvious corners of the energy challenge: startup Twelve, for example, is turning captured CO2 into production chemicals currently made from fossil fuels. Others are finding ways to bring renewable energy to industries that are harder to decarbonise, like cement or steel manufacturing, like Heliogen, which uses an AI-powered "sunlight refinery" to generate extra-high heat, or Enapter. , based in Germany, is working to make green hydrogen as affordable as fossil fuels. Some are helping to transform the electric grid, like Guzman Energy, which is helping rural utilities get out of long and expensive coal-fired power contracts. BlocPower, another leader on the list, is finding new ways to finance renovations to the city's aging buildings. Businesses cannot solve climate change alone; better policies are also crucial. But the organizations on this list give cause for hope.
To convert CO2 into petrochemicals less fossil fuels
Fossil fuel-based chemicals are used as building blocks for thousands of products, from toothpaste to fertilizer.siestait produces the same chemicals from carbon dioxide in a process that uses only renewable energy and water. Last spring, the startup began working with Procter & Gamble on a pilot project to make a key ingredient for Tide laundry detergent, and at a summer program for the Air Force, Twelve demonstrated that it's possible to make aviation fuel without carbon emissions. The startup has also partnered with clothing brand Pangaia to make the world's first CO2-powered sunglasses, and is collaborating with biotech company LanzaTech to make polypropylene, another key manufacturing material. The company secured $57 million in a Series A funding round in 2021 to help it achieve its goal at scale: Twelve estimates its products could help avoid 2 to 3 billion tons of emissions each year.
siestais #3 on the Fast Company listThe 50 most innovative companies in the worldof 2022.
2. Power block
To unlock efficiency improvements in low-income neighborhoods
Low-income homeowners in older urban buildings often overpay on utility bills because their homes are so inefficient. However, energy-efficient renovations are expensive, and in apartment buildings where owners typically pay for heat, owners often avoid necessary upgrades.block powerhas developed (in conjunction with Goldman Sachs) a new financial model that eliminates the up-front cost of upgrades like heat pumps and offers homeowners a lease to pay for equipment over time. Custom software creates a "digital twin" of the building to expedite modifications. The company is also beginning to sell carbon offsets as buildings reduce emissions. To date, BlocPower has launched projects in more than 25 cities across the United States, including Ithaca, New York in 2021, becoming the first city with a comprehensive building decarbonization plan. It also launched a new program that brings free or low-cost internet to buildings, giving the company access to energy performance data as residents go online.
block poweris #4 on the Fast Company listThe 50 most innovative companies in the worldof 2022.
3. Climatic property
To highlight global emissions
When countries report their greenhouse gas emissions, the data is often outdated and incomplete.trace of time(which stands for Real-Time Monitoring of Atmospheric Carbon Emissions), a coalition made up of dozens of organizations in partnership with former Vice President Al Gore, uses remote sensing and artificial intelligence to independently track emissions in near real time. In 2021, ahead of the world climate conference in November, the group published its first global emissions inventory and found that billions of tons of emissions in the oil and gas industry were underestimated. Beneath this kind of world-class analysis, Climate Trace has been able to uncover detailed variations, such as one oil well in the North Sea emitting much less CO2 per barrel than another. This is just one example of how Climate Trace's data cache can help countries better see how to address climate change and help investors and companies track emissions through supply chains.
Climate Trace is number 5 on the Fast Company listThe 50 most innovative companies in the worldof 2022.
To increase smarter clean energy
mayo 2021,AES, a $16 billion global energy company. The company also partnered with Google last May to develop a new plan to power its Virginia data centers with carbon-free electricity around the clock. In addition, it has worked with X, Alphabet's innovation arm, to create virtual models of distribution networks in the Midwest, enabling more efficient systems and the faster addition of renewable energy. Internationally, AES has built a new "virtual reservoir" in Chile that is already operational. It combines hydropower with large-scale battery storage and reserves the off-peak power generated by the facility to supply power to the grid for up to five hours during peak hours. By 2021, the company said it had signed long-term power purchase agreements for 5 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy, surpassing its target of 3 GW to 4 GW, and its total revenue of more than $11.1 billion. .
To rewire the panel
The typical home switchboard uses technology that hasn't changed since the 1950s, and isn't designed to support the transition to clean energy in the form of solar panels, electric vehicles, or batteries that can provide backup power if a hurricane or a forest fire. from the electrical network.Period, led by a team that includes former Tesla engineers, has developed a dashboard that integrates with these new devices, helping to reduce the cost and complexity of adopting energy free from fossil fuels. A companion app is paired with the device for detailed control; For example, in the event of a power outage, users can always identify which circuits in the home should remain on. First released in 2019, Span released an updated version in May 2021 that was cheaper ($3,500 vs $5,000) and smaller. In October, the company received orders for a new EV charger that works right next to the dash and enables home charging without expensive upgrades. Since the technician knows how much solar energy a house generates, it is also possible to use the sun to charge an electric vehicle. The company has agreements with Green Mountain Power and Sunrun to include Span's smart panel in its clean energy offering for its residential customers.
6. Guzman Energy
For helping rural utilities move away from coal power contracts
As major utilities transition to renewable energy, many rural electric cooperatives still rely on coal for much of their power. Most are bound by decades-old power contracts that force them to buy coal-fired power from certain sources, even if that power is more expensive than wind or solar, raising customers' utility bills.Guzman Energy, a Denver-based wholesale electricity provider, uses so-called "carbon swaps" to help utility companies get out of those contracts. In 2021, the company helped a Colorado cooperative pay $62.5 million to enter into a heavy coal contract, resulting in millions of dollars in savings in 2021. It also helped launch a new solar project in the region. In New Mexico, he designed a $37 million financing line to help another community cooperative move away from coal and develop new infrastructure for solar energy, battery storage and electric vehicle charging, and new jobs for the area. Guzmán, whose sales grew 25% in 2021, also launched the first electric power company for the indigenous people of Acoma.
For the construction of virtual power plants
When California was hit by a record heat wave last June,Stengel, a smart energy storage company, used its digitally connected battery network to avoid blackouts due to increased power demand. The same system also helped stabilize the grid during heat waves on the East Coast and Canada. For the company's corporate customers who purchase batteries and subscribe to Stem's software service, the system saves energy by using stored energy when demand peaks to avoid peak loads; Some utility companies also pay customers to send extra power from batteries when needed. For example, truck rental company Penske, which uses the technology at a site where it charges heavy-duty electric vehicles, has reduced the system's peak power consumption by 40%. In 2021, Stem became the first company of its kind to go public and had revenue of $127.4 million in 2021, an increase of more than 250% over 2020.
Bring renewable energy to the hardest-to-decarbonize industries
by HeliogenThe modular "Sunlight Refinery" uses artificial intelligence to precisely control mirrors that direct sunlight onto a tower, creating intense heat. The energy can then be used to power industries that currently rely on fossil fuels for ultra-high heat processes, such as cement manufacturing, and the system also allows for inexpensive storage of this renewable energy when the sun is not shining. . ArcelorMittal, the world's second-largest steelmaker, has invested in the company and is testing the technology in some plants. Heliogen will provide nearly 24/7 power to the boron mining operations of Rio Tinto, the multinational mining company in Boron, California. In another new collaboration, the company partnered with fuel cell company Bloom Energy in November to show how its low-cost electricity can be used to produce affordable green hydrogen for industrial use. Just before the end of the year, Heliogen successfully demonstrated what it calls the Autonomous Installation and Cleaning Robots and Services Solution (ICARUS), which it believes will accelerate the rate at which it can provision its mirror arrays and keep them running at peak performance. Heliogen generated about $8 million in 2021 by expanding its system.
To make green hydrogen more affordable
Green hydrogen, produced using renewable electricity to split water molecules, is believed to have the potential to replace fossil fuels to power aircraft, heavy industry and other key sources of emissions.Enaptar, based in Germany, makes low-cost electrolysers, the machines used to produce hydrogen. In 2021, the company broke ground on the equipment's first automated mass-production plant and recorded more than 10 times more orders for electrolyzers in the first half of 2021 than in the period from January to June 2020. More than $7 million in sales for the first half of 2021. The new facility is expected to be operational by the end of 2022. Once Enapter is fully operational, the company hopes the technology can reduce the cost of hydrogen on par with the version of fossil gas, helping to accelerate the adoption of clean energy.
10. Solid strength
Building a better battery for electric cars
Standard lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles today present challenges: range is still limited, batteries age faster than the car itself, and the combustible and volatile components inside require additional protection that makes batteries batteries are larger.solid force, a startup backed by BMW and Ford, unveiled its solid-state platform technology in May 2021, which can be used to create batteries that are expected to be safer, lighter, and lower product cost, while also allow drivers to continue driving a load. The company demonstrated its 20 amp-hour (Ah) silicon EV cell technology in December; It will eventually have to increase to 100 Ah, which is planned for 2022. In October, Solid Power partnered with Seoul-based energy giant SK Innovation, where SK conducts automotive tests. (Solid Power's batteries are designed to be made on the same assembly lines as today's standard lithium-ion. Also note that SK is the battery supplier for upcoming F-150 electric trucks.) Solid Power, which will go public in December 2021, continues its pilot production while working on the production of its new “EV Cell Line” capable of producing cells of up to 100 Ah.