InnoVentum in talks to deploy renewable solution to EV charging

Hybrid power station developer InnoVentum is in talks with London Mayor Boris Johnson to deploy its combined wind and solar solution in the UK’s capital.

The Malmo, Sweden-based technology developer has proposed using its systems to charge electric vehicles (EVs) and feed energy into the London grid. It is also looking to complete a €3m series B round to fund initial deployments. The firm offers towers that combine wind and solar production for distributed generation in the form of its Giraffe product, which can house and charge EVs.

‘We make exclusive designs for those who can afford, and affordable designs for those who need,’ said Sigvald Harryson, CEO and founder of InnoVentum. ‘For exclusive markets like London we look at the Giraffe, so we are pitching that towards Boris Johnson’s office.’

InnoVentum has pitched its product to Johnson and met with the mayor’s representatives.

London currently has around 1,400 charging points and aims to expand that to 6,000 over the next two years.

French investment group Bolloré, which owns electric car sharing service and EV charging station maker Autolib’, was awarded the contract to deploy the charging stations. InnoVentum aims to enter discussions with the firm to explore the viability of deploying the Giraffe in London.

‘The challenge with London is that it had a late start in EV infrastructure development,’ Harryson said. ‘But the goal is also to make [the 6,000] rapid chargers or even fast chargers. Currently, London is already suffering from blackouts. So imagine if you had 6,000 rapid-charging stations and people plugging in at the same time. That will, for sure, create a blackout.’

InnoVentum aims to mitigate the risk of further blackouts as a result of undue stress on the grid from charging stations. The Giraffe is a net contributor of energy to the grid instead of a drain on energy resources because it produces more energy than an EV requires to charge.

The company also offers a more traditional turbine shape – the Dalifant – but with multiple legs. Both structures are made out of wood to enhance their sustainability.

‘We are breaking new ground in terms of material efficiency,’ Harryson said. ‘We have a scarcity of materials on the one hand – steel, copper, concrete – and the more we can get a higher ratio of energy squeezed out per unit of material used, the better it is for mother earth and ultimately the more cost effective it will be as well. Comparing the Dalifant to a regular Enercon or Vestas turbine, we use five times less material and the solution is more affordable.’

The Dalifant is fully recyclable at the end of its lifetime, with the wood able to be incinerated and used for bioenergy.

‘Our products are CO2 negative from the start, before they begin producing CO2-neutral energy, whereas a traditional turbine causes a terrible amount of emissions before it begins producing CO2-neutral energy,’ Harryson said. ‘By using wood, you’re using material that has temporarily been absorbing CO2 instead of material that has caused CO2 emissions such as concrete, steel, and so on. There is no material in an Enercon or a Vestas turbine that has captured CO2; all of the materials they use cause emissions.’

InnoVentum’s products use oversized turbines produced by Gaia-Wind, a Danish firm that was bought out by a Dutch national in 2006 and is now based in Scotland. InnoVentum also uses ‘recycled’ solar panels produced by SweModule, owned by German firm Innotech Solar.

‘The special thing about these modules is, to our knowledge, SweModule is the only company that can re-use waste from other solar panel manufacturers,’ Harryson said. ‘If one cell out of thousands in a panel is defective, the typical PV manufacturer will scrap the whole panel. SweModule uses a laser technology that makes it possible to identify and repair the defective cell so they can actually get the panel for free, minus the cost of transport.’

This article originally appeared on a clean energy news service operated by VB Research, a sister publication to The Engineer.