- The market is already big and has great potential
- …but it has one bottleneck
- Many small-great challenges
- What's next?
The market is already big and has great potential
The sheer number of startups is already impressive and shows that there are many ambitious and creative entrepreneurs in the industry. I don't know how many investors were there, but there was definitely a lot, so from my perspective, the interest in green, innovative technologies is already very high. Which makes me very happy, both privately (I support the idea of green energy) and business-wise.
It's clear that the emission-free policies of countries are driving this growth. For example, Norway wants all new cars sold in the country to be zero-emission by 2025, while the EU has the same goal for 2035. These directives are really pushing entrepreneurs to create new and exciting products. I predict this trend will continue, and the industry will keep growing and improving incredibly.
…but it has one bottleneck
The energy industry's biggest challenge is the efficient storage of electricity, meaning batteries. While many innovative ideas exist, it's tough for any of them to gain traction beyond the start-up world without a major player like Samsung or Lenovo investing in them.
The problem is that big fish are hesitant to take on the risk associated with implementing new technology on a massive scale. We've all heard about exploding batteries, and no major player wants to risk a similar case. This means that companies will likely stick to the "better safe than sorry" policy for a while, even if better solutions exist.
And this, in turn, raises another risk for green energy startups: what if Apple invents and releases its battery despite better solutions proposed by entrepreneurs? That would wipe out many grassroots initiatives and cement the innovation market for years.
Overall, I feel that the energy industry is slightly clogged up, like a buzzing swarm of bees trapped in a hive waiting for someone to finally release it. But I do not doubt that a revolutionary innovation will happen eventually – it's just a matter of when.
Many small-great challenges
What definitely stayed with me after the conference was the impression that despite enormous potential, the alternative energy sector has multiple challenges ahead.
First, the raw materials used to make batteries, such as lithium, are running out, and we need to find new and efficient technologies to replace them.
Second, hydrogen power plants and batteries are theoretically efficient, but we still waste too much energy on the transmission and storage process. Companies are already looking for ways to improve energy conversion and storage efficiency, but there's a long way to go.
Third, recycling batteries is costly, and the industry needs to develop more effective and eco-friendly ways to dispose of them.
Fourth, there needs to be a centralized platform that keeps the industry informed about the latest events, technologies, and ideas. There is currently none, making it hard for anyone to keep up with trends.
Lastly, we need to use green sources to have truly green energy. Just switching to electric cars won't solve the problem if the power comes from coal. European countries like Poland or Germany must transform their energy sources first, not just their vehicles.
To be honest, I don't have any solutions to these problems, but having talked to so many inspiring and creative heads during the conference, I'm sure they will arise soon.
Personally, Oslo Tech was inspiring for me because I connected with many like-minded people who share my values and business enthusiasm. Of course, OG has much to learn, but I feel we're on the right track.
So, the next stop is Essen, the E-world Energy & Water Conference. See you there!