Energy Storage Challenge

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The Energy Storage Challenge (ESC) runs international business plan competitions to find and select the most promising energy storage technology startups in the world. The ESC holds selection events and an Energy Storage Challenge Summit in London to bring together innovators with government, industry and investors. The ESC belongs to the OmniCompete Group, which has since been acquired by InnoCentive, Inc.


OmniCompete was founded by MBA students of London Business School in spring 2006; the first energy competition took place in summer 2011. OmniCompete has also run the Global Security Challenge since 2006.

Fundamental Ideas Challenge 2010[edit]

The Fundamental Ideas Challenge looked for fresh ideas about systems that could provide transportable energy storage. Proposals had to be notably different from existing systems and in this case, an idea is really all that was needed. Finalists had the honour of presenting their ideas before sponsors, investors, peers and a panel of independent judges at the first ever Energy Storage Summit in September 2011. The competition opened on 1 January 2011 and closed on 1 April 2011. The first prize was US$250,000.

Energy Storage Challenge Summit[edit]

Hosted in London, UK on 24 October 2011, the summit featured presentations by finalists and the award ceremony of the Fundamental Ideas Challenge, as well as keynote speeches, panel discussions, and a Green Lounge where finalists and others displayed their ideas/products.

Winners and finalists[edit]

At the ESC Summit event in October 2011, seven finalists hailing from India, Israel, Europe, Canada, and the US presented their innovative ideas for transportable energy storage systems to a panel of expert judges. It was UK-based Cella Energy that was awarded a prize fund worth $250,000 for its proposal to develop low-cost hydrogen storage materials.

Cella Energy's hydrogen fuel has more energy than gasoline or lithium-ion batteries, and can be handled safely in the open air and pumped like a fluid. The hydrogen fuel will be rolled out in two stages. The first will be as a fuel additive, enabling lower emissions without any change to the fueling infrastructure or to regular vehicles. The second stage would require changes to vehicles, providing a pure hydrogen solution with zero carbon emissions.

Cella Energy has since received a new round of financing, including a $1 million investment by [[Space Florida]]. In addition, US-based finalists SustainX have recently built a 40 kW demonstration plant and is partnering with AES to build a 2MW system, while ITM Power has received substantial funding from a government body to bring its technologies to the mass market.

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