Tomorrow’s energy system needs breakthrough ideas and new technologies, and passionate entrepreneurs with innovative approaches to take on the challenges of the energy transition. At this critical time, the New Energy Challenge (NEC) provides an annual open innovation competition that connects promising global startups and scaleups in the energy sector with stakeholders to accelerate the decarbonization of energy systems. Jointly organized by Rockstart, Shell, Unknown Group and YES!Delft, NEC offers a platform for cutting-edge innovators to develop emerging technologies that promote sustainability and shape the future of the energy sector at scale.More specifically, the challenge is focused on companies delivering solutions in the following areas:
Cleaner Energy Sources
Cleaner energy sources (such as biofuels) that less polluting and lower in carbon intensity than traditional fossil sources:
- Biofuels encompasses solutions related to renewable energy sources derived from plants or organic matter. This includes lipids from sustainable waste feedstocks such as insect oils and cultured fat, microbial oil (e.g., from micro algae, yeast, fungi, bacteria) but also pre-treatment/upgrade technologies for waste oils. Biofuels also include oily / fatty / lipidic industry by-products, waste streams from food or post-consumer recovered waste oils.
- Further lowering carbon intensity through value adding biochar applications in biofuel feedstock production or including other organic non-fossil sources.
Carbon utilisation refers to the process of capturing and utilising carbon dioxide in the upstream agriculture value chain. Some examples are enhanced rock weathering and microbial weathering and bacteria.
Agriculture encompasses solutions that support the production of food, clean air, water and soil such as bio-based fertilisers to increase yields. It also includes enhanced agroforestry and rice management, as well as oil crops with a low carbon intensity, proteins, and genetically engineered crops.
Digital solutions include software solutions to improve efficiency, productivity, and sustainability, such as for energy management to reduce the emissions from urban farms, but also novel tracking systems to manage full waste supply chains.
What's in it for you
The finalists will join a variety of workshops and training sessions during an exciting accelerator programme. They will work with investors and experts during this final phase of the challenge, unlocking knowledge, contacts, and support needed to develop their company and product. The winning companies may be awarded a collaboration or funding to further scale their business.
Start-ups must be in TRL 2-5 stage, up until and including seed stage
Scale-ups must be in TRL 6-9 stage with early revenues, market validation by pilot(s), Series A and higher
Have a solution that is focused on the transition to a sustainable energy future, with an explanation on how Shell connects to this solution
Have a unique scalable product or service
Have at least 2 founders
Deadline to Apply
The deadline for applications is the 1st of May, at midnight (UTC+2).
The Top 20 finalists will be announced at the end of May.
Selected startups will be invited for deep-dive online interviews taking place mid-June.
The Top 10 finalists will be announced in July and invited for the Finals Week.
Finals Week and Pitch Event
All 10 finalists will pitch in front of a jury of experts who will select the winners of the New Energy Challenge 2022 taking place beginning of November.