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4 founders explain the better hurdles to flattening the altitude curve in 2021

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4 founders explain the better hurdles to flattening the altitude curve in 2021

Want to join an absolute group of entrepreneurs and get world-class ascent support? Check if your aggregation is acceptable for the Rise Program today.

While a lot of our career, personal, and travel plans have been put on hold this year, there’s one thing we as a association cannot afford to put on hold: the fight adjoin altitude change. 

Rather than ascent back the advance we’ve made, many are seeing this moment as an befalling to create a new normal in which sustainability and circularity are chip into our businesses and daily lives.

With this in mind, recruited some of the brightest minds in Dutch sustainability tech to join the Rise Programme for up and coming scaleups. The theme for batch two this year was: flattening the altitude curve. 

We caught up with four of the Programme’s cohorts to find out what they see as the better hurdles to arrest altitude change within their industry.

Making acceptable busline an option for the masses

Transportation is amenable for 30% of the EU’s total CO2 emissions. And cars are the better polluters, accounting for 60.7% of CO2 coming from road transportation. 

With the access of new electric cars on the market, consumers are being courted with new busline alternatives and government-backed incentives. But electric car registrations have still only added incrementally across the EU from just 2% in 2018 to 3.5% in 2019. So what’s captivation people back?

While there is a large and growing customer base who are ready to make the switch, as Lex Hoefsloot, CEO of Lightyear, explained, “If you look at the analysis into why more people aren’t buying electric cars they come down to: cost, charging, and range. And that’s been the same for the last ten or fifteen years.” 

So-called ‘range anxiety’— or the fear that an electric car could simply run out of electricity at the most contrary time (like on a dark, creepy horror movie type road at night) — has been one of the better apropos voiced by consumers. 

Connected with this are questions about charging infrastructure. There are gas stations set up everywhere, but how many charging points are absolutely out there for electric cars? What if I want to go on a road trip? Will I have to hitchhike center through?

Lightyear is attractive to solve both range and charging for consumers who are still on the fence about making the switch to electric. 

“Rather than targeting people already absorbed in buying an electric car, we want to focus on other people. People who live in apartments and can’t charge at home. Or people who want to drive long distances every day,” Hoefsloot said.

And just how do they plan to do this? 

While belief engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology, Hoefsloot and a team of acceptance were tasked with architecture and racing a solar car in one year at an annual antagonism in Australia. After acceptable the antagonism with their solar-powered four-seater, Hoefsloot accomplished that the next step was to bring the abstraction to the masses. Thus Lightyear was born in 2016.

“We felt, if it’s accessible to go from zero to a car built from blemish within a year, and win as well, then the sky’s the limit.”

Set to go into assembly in 2021, Lightyear One will be one of the first all-embracing solar electric cars. It has a array with up to 700km of range plus five square meters of solar panels that add on 12km of range for every hour the car is in the sun. 

They also made the Lightyear One more energy efficient. A normal electric car uses about 200-watt hours per kilometer, while their model uses about 100-watt hours per kilometer. So, for every bit of energy you have, you can go twice the distance. 

As Hoefsloot explained, “Even in The Netherlands – a angrily rainy country – it can charge about 7,000 km per year, which is more than half of what people drive on boilerplate in the Netherlands. So in practice, you would only need to charge once every few weeks, rather than every few days.”

The third botheration they want to solve for consumers in the future is cost. The Lightyear One will be the company’s first low volume car, but the plan is to later go on to build a high volume model that will be more affordable for a larger audience. 

“A lot of people still don’t have the money to buy an electric car. We shouldn’t judge people for not making the switch because there are simply not enough options on the market yet. That’s why the push coming from the EU with its new incentives for another energy cartage is so important.”

But, for now, Lightyear’s better claiming is accumulating a acceptable team that can make their ambitions a reality. They now have a number of vacancies they want to fill on their website. Hoefsloot encouraged anyone who believes they can help the team accomplish their ambitions to reach out.

“Frans Timmermans, Vice President of the EU, once said, ‘the better delusion is that if you do nothing, aggregate will stay the same.’ Sometimes, in the Netherlands, I have the activity that we hold ourselves back. We’re a small country. We’re not the US. And sometimes we start to think: ‘Can we do this? Maybe we should start with a abate mission?’ But I would animate anyone who has an idea to just start with it and make it happen,” Hoefsloot said.

Shaping an emission-free energy system

It’s not just our wheels that could use a green energy boost. Moving from the current, fossil fuel-based electricity system, to an all-renewable energy system, is acute to endlessly altitude change but also more circuitous than just installing a lot more solar panels and wind turbines. 

Simon Bushell, CEO of Sympower, believes that “One of the key things we need to do is empower acceptable industries to actively accord to the energy transition. A fully acceptable and commutual energy system would bring us a big step advanced in powering the net-zero future.”  

But, as Bushell explains, it’s not that easy. 

If you look accurately at the electricity system, supply and demand always need to be in balance. In the accepted model, the large coal and gas-fired power plants that accommodate electricity consistently look at how much electricity is being used. When they see more is being used, they burn more coal and gas. Similarly, when they see less electricity is being consumed, they reduce output.

What hinders the boundless acceptance of renewable energy is that it’s harder to ascendancy than fossil fuels.

The claiming with wind and solar energy is that they are capricious and not controllable – you can’t just ask a solar plant to aftermath more electricity, you need the sun to be shining. As accretion numbers of countries are attractive to move away from carbon-intensive energy sources, this botheration will only become more complex.

Bushell and his team at Sympower accomplished that the energy alteration would crave new demand acknowledgment technology and solutions. That’s why the aggregation focuses on accouterment adaptability by acclimation demand instead of supply. 

Processes such as heating, cooling, ventilation, and water pumping use lots of electricity, however, it’s not necessarily acute when that electricity is used. Take a fridge, for archetype – if you turn it off for ten account aggregate inside it will remain cold, but crucially it will use less electricity. On the other hand, you can also make a fridge colder by using more electricity initially, before axis it off for longer. Basically, assets such as fridges can ascendancy when electricity is consumed. This is absolutely what we do. We make any asset flexible, acclimation electricity supply and demand in real-time the same way a coal or gas-fired power plant would.

Sympower has grown rapidly due to a very agog client base which has helped it spread the word organically. The aggregation is now operating in Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Israel, with plans to expand to three new countries in 2021.

“What we do is commodity people don’t often know about, so it’s been really cool to see how agog our admirers are to really help enable a fully-renewable energy grid in their country,” said Bushell. 

However, there are still hurdles that Sympower has to affected to reach a wider audience. Bushell told TNW:

One of the better challenges we face is regulation. Before we can start operating in new countries, we need assertive regulations to change that will allow us to accomplish as an absolute demand aggregator. Slow authoritative changes are apparently our better acquaintance at the moment.

When asked about what the world needs to do now to abrade the altitude curve, Bushell told TNW: “I think there’s no silver bullet in the energy transition. If anyone tells you what they do is the one key thing, I would be very skeptical. A aggregate of solutions is what is absolutely needed. I do accept that we accommodate an capital account – the energy alteration can’t accomplish after flexibility.”

Giving waste a second life

Until recently, a lot of the focus on arrest the altitude curve has been centered on convalescent energy efficiency. It’s only in recent years that waste and the end life of a artefact or abstracts have come under closer scrutiny. 

In a TED Talk, Excess Abstracts Exchange founder, Maayke Aimee Damen, accent that, while convalescent energy ability is important, this only accounts for 55% of greenhouse gas emissions. Guess where the other 45% come from: the actual materials/product we aftermath (including waste).

According to a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, if we just focused on designing out waste, befitting abstracts in use, and regenerating farmland in five key areas (steel, plastic, aluminum, cement, and food) we could annihilate 9.3 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions. To put this into perspective, this would be the agnate of acid the emissions of every agent down to zero.

While this sounds like an amazing befalling to cut emissions, the truth is, many companies don’t really know where to start. As Damen explained, 

Companies aren’t always aware of what they have because it’s all in altered databases and it’s unstructured. Right now they don’t really have an idea of what’s going through their organization. And if they have that, it’s always spread out over altered departments, in altered formats and databases, some on paper, some online. So if the advice is already there, it’s not commensurable and it’s dispersed. And that’s where we come in handy.

In 2017, Damen and her co-founder, Christian van Maaren, created Excess Abstracts Exchange (EME), a self-described ‘dating site’ for excess materials. The team starts out by allowance companies to anatomy the abstracts and articles they have accessible by accouterment each one with a ‘Resource Passport’ absolute insights into the composition, origin, toxicity, or deconstructability of the item. 

This then allows EME to track and trace these abstracts throughout the supply chain and match them with other reuse opportunities, either inside or alfresco of the organization. 

For example, they were able to help one of their customers, Dutch railway aggregation ProRail, match excess rail tracks in one city to other worksites in need of abstracts across the country. 

This also leads to some absurd matches. For example, the Netherlands is famous for its tulips, but what happens with extra flowers after the growing season ends? While in some cases growers have even paid to have addition get rid of the excess flower waste, EME instead has helped affix growers to colorant makers who can reuse them. Clearly, opposites do attract.

And Damen has seen that having a system in place is allowance make the business case for recycling much easier:

I think having connected accounting for assets is going to be a amazing help in making data-driven decisions. Because that’s what we need if we want to tackle this. We can’t just go on our gut feeling. We see that a lot with circularity ending up as a gimmick. That’s why acquisition data is so important.

With a lot of activity and abutment coming from their accepted clients, Damen told TNW that the company’s main goal for 2021 is to allure the advance needed to scale up their operations. 

One piece of advice she would give to companies who really want to begin making a aberration is to have clear KPIs in place. 

“The better hurdle we see is that the coercion is quite low. People find it hard to relate to commodity that’s not tangible. It’s on companies right now to reduce their emissions or to start exchanging materials, but they don’t necessarily have a action or KPIs to steer them in the right direction. This makes it very hard for individuals within companies who want change to accomplish because, if they succeed, there’s no KPI they’re going to be adored on and, if they fail, they have a problem. So the allurement scheme isn’t tailored appear taking action in the majority of organizations,” Damen told TNW.

Making all-embracing travel faster and greener

Perhaps one of the more difficult sacrifices we’ll have to make to lower our carbon brand will be our wanderlust. While there are more and more options to cut emissions from our daily commute, for all-embracing travel we’re still codicillary on flights to get us where we need to go. 

While bartering aerodynamics is only responsible for 3.5% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions, it’s also growing faster than any other carriage sector has added by 130% over the past two decades. Although electric trains are acceptable more popular, a train adventure from Amsterdam to Paris or Frankfurt still takes around three to four hours. 

But Hardt Hyperloop is making some agitative new advancements that could cut a three-hour intercity trip down to just 30 minutes. The company’s vision is to alter brief air travel across Europe with a 10,000km arrangement of tubes that can zip people and cargo across borders. Not only is the hyperloop system accepted to take less time, it’s also powered by renewable energy. 

The energy-efficient tech behind the system is conceivably the most absorbing part. Each hyperloop agent is pushed through the tube system using a aggregate of electromagnetic abeyance and electric propulsion. This technology, along with the airy ambiance created within the tubes, helps to propel the cartage advanced at high speeds. 

While it may be a while before we can all adult across Europe by tube, Hardt plans to open the first European Hyperloop Center in 2022 where engineers, researchers, and governments can coact calm to make this futuristic-sounding vision a reality. 

From avant-garde technology to accession the right data to government-backed regulations and incentives, there’s still a lot to be done. But one thing we did hear from all of this year’s cohorts was that the most important additive is there: the will and action to change. As Bushell of Sympower said:

I think it’s absolutely starting. I don’t think we’re there yet. But you absolutely see that more and more companies are saving energy and abbreviation CO2 and it’s acceptable more important for them. But there’s still a lot of acquaintance that we could bring.

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Published January 6, 2021 — 13:27 UTC

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