Energy innovation accelerator launches in Queensland

innovation award, energy networks

Four new innovative clean energy start-ups are the first to benefit from a working relationship between the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and clean energy business accelerator EnergyLab.

EnergyLab has announced it will establish a base in Brisbane, offering accommodation, financial and mentoring support to the start-up companies.

The new office is co-located with the CEFC, as part of its goal to accelerate investment in Australian clean energy innovators.

The Queensland government has provided an additional $400,000 in operational funding, as part of its Advance Queensland Biofutures 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan.

EnergyLab has co-working spaces for clean energy start-ups in each of Sydney, Melbourne, and Canberra, where it provides the innovative companies with mentoring and other support to help them turn their business ideas into commercial reality.

For its new Brisbane base, EnergyLab selected the four start-ups after a rigorous assessment process.

Each start-up will receive up to two years support, including rent-free office space, $50,000 in seed capital, and mentoring and networking opportunities to help them build a business platform for their ongoing development.

The four start-ups are:

  • Cirlution: A biofutures start-up that plans to capture the maximum value from food waste and convert it into clean energy and heat.
  • Ƒluxpower: An electricity payments network that responds in real-time.
  • Charge Cube: An affordable, modular solar battery system targeted at the 1.2 billion people in developing countries living without electricity.
  • Sunshine Cycles: A solar-powered electric bike hiring service.

CEFC Innovation Fund executive director Ben Gust said EnergyLab’s expansion to Brisbane was a welcome boost to the clean energy innovation sector in Queensland.

“Accelerators such as EnergyLab play a critical role in helping start-ups accelerate their pathway from innovation to commercialisation,” Mr Gust said.

“Australia-wide we are seeing increasing diversity in the clean energy innovation space.

“These four companies are part of an exciting trend that promises to extend the benefits of clean energy across the economy, creating new business opportunities for Australian innovators and investors.”

EnergyLab co-founder and programs director James Tilbury said the accelerator program looked for strong business ideas that had the ability to contribute to the transformation of Australia’s energy market and potentially world markets.

“Our expansion to Queensland has been made possible by the state’s high calibre of entrepreneurs and the generous support from a wide range of stakeholders, such as the CEFC and the Queensland Government,” Mr Tilbury said.

“The state and city governments have done an excellent job of fostering a vibrant start-up ecosystem and we’re thrilled to be able to build on that work by providing deep, sector-specific expertise for entrepreneurs working on clean energy solutions.”

Queensland Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said EnergyLab’s acceleration program was designed to translate great clean energy and biotechnology ideas into commercial reality.

“The EnergyLab program will provide entrepreneurs with business coaching, connections to a network of investors, mentors and partners, and assistance in raising capital,” Mr Dick said.

“It will provide access to a network of more than 100 industry-specific mentors who can assist start-ups with the best foundation to commercialise their business ideas.”

Mr Dick said to leverage the government’s Biofutures 10-Year Roadmap and natural advantages in Queensland, EnergyLab proposed to focus on developing start-ups in the biofutures and clean energy sectors.

The CEFC provides seed capital to the EnergyLab start-up companies, via the $200 million Clean Energy Innovation Fund.

EnergyLab first launched its acceleration program in Sydney last year, and has recently expanded across the country.

There will be another intake of start-ups in Queensland next year.