Published on September 26th, 2018 | by Joshua S Hill0
Shell Partners With NREL On Clean Technology Incubator
September 26th, 2018 by Joshua S Hill
Anglo-Dutch multinational oil and gas company Royal Dutch Shell announced last week that it has launched the Shell GameChanger Accelerator in partnership with the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which is intended to discover and advance emerging clean energy technologies.
The multimillion-dollar, multiyear clean technology incubator will initially focus seeking to accelerate technologies such as long-term energy storage and controls to help develop the necessary grid of the future and will leverage resources available through both Shell and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in an effort to minimize the risk of emerging technologies and accelerate their path to market.
“Shell has a 25-year history of supporting early-stage startups and entrepreneurs that are impacting the future of energy,” said Lene Hviid, global manager for Shell GameChanger. “Capitalizing on NREL’s world class laboratories and technical expertise, GCxN brings together industry experts and innovative thinking to identify promising new technologies and help move future energy solutions to market.”
Shell GameChanger, shortened to GCxN, will identify potential and promising startup companies through numerous Channel Partners which are made up of over 40 clean-tech incubators, accelerators, and universities, which will serve as the Accelerator’s innovation pipeline. GCxN will run application rounds open to candidate companies who, upon successful application and review, will be eligible to receive up to $250,000 in non-dilutive funding in the form of technical support and validation from both NREL and Shell GameChanger Accelerator experts.
“We are excited to expand our public/private partnerships with a global leader like Shell in order to address new areas for technology incubation that will be critical to the success of our energy future and leverage our combined expertise in this important work,” said Richard Adams, director of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (IEC) at NREL.
Shell and NREL are not just adding another accelerator or incubator to the already large mix — they’re trying to do something different.
“While a number of accelerators and incubators have emerged to support the clean technology industry in recent years, Shell GameChanger Powered by NREL (GCxN) is unique in a number of ways,” said Richard Adams, Director of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center at NREL, who spoke to me via email. “Firstly, GCxN is a technology-focused accelerator. Where most accelerators and incubators focus on business plan and strategy refinement, GCxN provides participating companies with the opportunity to work with NREL researchers to develop and demonstrate technologies, initially in the fields of battery longevity (battery life and battery durability) and advanced controls for the smart grid.
“By utilizing the facilities, equipment and intellectual capability at NREL, awardee companies can de-risk their technologies and speed up their commercialization path to market,” Adams added. “Secondly, companies that successfully meet their milestones during the program also have the opportunity to perform beta testing trials with potential first use customers to validate the performance of their technologies in real-world operating environments.”
“GCxN funding provides up to $250K per awardee company with the potential for follow-on funding based on milestone performance. GCxN is an invitation-only program with referrals provided by our 50 channel partners (accelerators, incubators, and universities) before undergoing an in-depth technology review and down selection process.”
It’s also worth noting that, by involving itself with NREL, Shell is making a strong statement about its decision to begin transitioning to renewable energies.
“The energy system of the future requires inputs and resources for all sectors,” explained Adams. “As energy companies with long histories, traditional fossil fuel companies are engaging in this energy transformation. Shell understands that energy systems are changing and is seeking opportunities to demonstrate leadership in future energy models.
“While GameChanger has existed at Shell since 1996, GCxN draws on the unique technical capabilities and facilities available at NREL which can be leveraged to help identify and accelerate the next generation of “GameChanging” technologies. NREL is excited to be working with a globally recognized energy leader to advance the energy frontier, starting with technologies enabling the energy system of the future through improved long-term energy storage and controls.”