Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
EnergyBank – Diving deep into an energy storage problem
EnergyBank is an energy storage technology company founded by University of Auckland alumnus Tim Hawkey. Their technology, which envisions moving multi-thousand-tonne blocks of iron-ore the size of buildings back and forth between the ocean floor and surface, is a sustainable, economic, and scalable solution to accelerating decarbonisation.
EnergyBank stores energy using gravitational potential – suspending large masses (blocks of iron-ore about 50 metres in diameter and 2 metres thick) below a fixed “spar buoy” platform (about the size of the PwC Tower) in very deep water and incrementally lifting them up to the surface and lowering them back down over vertical distances of four to eight kilometres. The mechanics of this in some ways resemble a cuckoo clock. When there is an excess supply of renewable energy and prices are low, EnergyBank will soak up that energy by converting it with an electric motor/generator into mechanical energy, lifting those blocks up. When they wish to release the energy, the whole system runs in reverse. The weight of the blocks rotates the motor/generator and puts electricity back into the grid. Read more
Future Voices Forum – Voicing the need for a revolution for New Zealand’s natural capital
University of Auckland students and staff were recently given the opportunity to influence the thinking of the New Zealand government and business leaders on creating a sustainable and inclusive New Zealand. The Future Voices Forum was a workshop organised by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in partnership with the Aotearoa Circle. A group of 68 participants were canvased on their thoughts and concerns regarding Transport, Food and Energy. The results were reported back to CEOs from organisations such as ASB, Mercury, Sanford and Treasury at the related Fenwick Forum event.
In partnership with Vector, the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship hosted and facilitated Climathon. Joining thousands of participants in over 100 other cities around the world, 155 Auckland participants embarked on a 24-hour ideas-hack, creating solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems. Participants proposed solutions such as a new channel for battery recycling and countering the use of diesel generators by providing an alternative solution to mobile power supply. Participants were offered the opportunity to take part in a 12-week programme to take their idea further.
Vertus Energy – Making fossil fuels extinct
Vertus Energy is a biofuel start-up co-founded by University of Auckland alumnus Freddy Gonzalez. Their technology revolutionises the production of green fuel by making the process of converting methane released from sludge, manure, and other organic waste into renewable energy faster and more efficient.
Freddy, who is the Chief Engineer at Vertus Energy, explains “There are currently three main ways of generating renewable natural gas (RNG), all of which have flaws that limit their potential. Anaerobic digestion, the most common way of producing RNG, has a large footprint, low yield, is slow, and is currently propped up by government subsidies. With our proprietary technology, anaerobic digestion can deliver up to 60% more energy three times faster, enabling it to become a truly sustainable option for the planet. Read more