Work, security, health, climate change… Energy is in the midst of many major challenges, while more than a billion people still don’t have access to electricity and 80% of the world’s energy consumption is fossil based.
There are many initiatives is France to invent new and more liable modes of energy consumption, distribution and production, as you can see through these 10 projects :
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#1 Zéphyr Solar
Zéphyr Solar is a living proof that it’s possible to meet the electrical demands in every field, and even in the most complex situations. Zéphyr Solar develops photovoltaic balloons that can be deployed anywhere around the world, even in areas that are isolated or difficult to access. These balloons require very little manpower and no particular tools to be installed, they’re therefore a high-performance and 100% green alternative to the thermal power generators used nowadays in case of natural disasters or emergency situations.
One of the major stakes on which energy engineers of the whole world tear their hair out is energy storage. This is where Sylfen steps in: they propose a Smart Energy Hub, reservoirs that store hydrogen when there is energy excess and turn it back into electricity when there is a need, allowing eco-neighbourhoods and self-powered buildings to operate autonomously by reducing their carbon emissions by more than 50%.
#3 Energie partagée (shared energy)
Énergie Partagée allows everyone to become a shareholder in projects related to the energy transition. In 2017, Energie Partagée collected a total of 15 million euros in solidarity savings. Methanization in the Aveyron and the Ardennes, wind farms in the Jura, Loire-Atlantique and Ille-et-Vilaine, solar power in Poitou-Charentes, PACA and Saone-et-Loire, geothermal in Seine-Saint-Denis … for a total of more than 150 projects supported financially by communities and citizens.
Elum is a Moroccan-French startup that enables buildings to produce and consume their own energy. Most industrial buildings are dependent on a centralized electricity grid, which makes them vulnerable to electricity supply, vital to their operations. This is where Elum comes in with its 3-step solution: using smart sensors to visualize the energy consumption of machines, analysing these data and installing a software based on algorithms to determine the better energy allocation between future solar generation and building consumption.
#5 EEL Energy
EEL (as in “wave” in English) is a tidal turbine that converts the movement of water into energy through an undulating membrane. A prototype was tested and the industrial deployment is planned for 2020. This tidal turbine aims to adapt to all types of currents, even if the first developments relate to tidal currents, but applications in oceanic and fluvial currents are being considered. This technology is likely to be profitable for many countries with a coastal surface, particularly in Western Europe and France.
Finalist of the Switch-up Challenge, this start-up created a modular battery wall facilitating the storage of renewable energies. Connected to a block chain, the project allows a better distribution and use of this energy between the users and thus to make renewable energy consumption available for the final consumer at a lower cost.
#7 Cool Roof
Buildings lose 30% of their thermal energy through their roof. Bretons residents had an idea both impactful and clever, Cool Roof : to paint the roofs with an ecological paint for thermal protection. Inspired by NASA, they designed a painting that reflects solar radiation and limits heat transmission. Consequences? Once painted, the roofs stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, which limits both heating and air conditioning consumption.
#8 Talo Energy
One French person out of two declares to be cold at home in winter. Today, the residential sector accounts for 50% of French energy consumption and only 16% of homes have a “good energy rating”. French people face many obstacles when renovating their homes: the prices, the complexity (58% of French people think the procedures are too complex) and trust issues (78% of French people do not trust the construction professionals). The Talo platform aims to enable everyone to understand and renovate their habitat. How? Thanks to two digital impact services: a chatbot that delivers independent information according to the profile of the user and a design studio gathering the best factories and artisans for each individual to design, analyse the cost and order his products.
Based in Montpellier, this crowdfunding platform is dedicated to initiatives encouraging the Energy Transition. Starting from 10 euros, citizens can invest their savings directly in renewable energy projects (solar, wind, biomass, hydraulic, etc.) or promoting the energy transition. The projects supported by Enerfip, and therefor the citizens, range from installing neighbourhood solar panels to wind farms.
Inspired by the French physicist and engineer Sadi Carnot (1796-1832), this start-up produces digital radiators that use the power of computing data to restore heat in homes. Called the Q-rad, their radiator model can heat a room from 14 to 28 m² in a building with standard insulation. Qarnot Computing works with private and public research centres and laboratories that regularly launch computation campaigns that can last several years.
This article was written for the Energies for Climate mobilisation. Program partnership with EDF.