When you picture your company’s future, what do you see? New and exciting activities, or just more of the same? If you take the time to look outside your industry, you might discover inspiration that could reap rewards for your business. Studying innovation in other fields will help you approach old problems with radically new ideas.
Energy: Innovating Inside and Outside of the Box
1. Process old inputs in new, more efficient ways
Company: The Bloom Box
Technology: Fuel Cell
Problem: Power plants don’t burn fuel sources as efficiently as possible.
Solution: The Bloom Box is a fuel cell that delivers electricity to large-scale structures. Tapping natural gas, biogas and other existing fuel sources, the Bloom Box delivers lower electricity bills and more predictable costs with fewer emissions. eBay’s 500 kW Bloom Box installation mitigated 650,000 tons of carbon dioxide in the first six months of its operation.
2. Apply natural solutions to your production problems
Problem: Compared to Mother Nature, waste treatment plants use more energy for poorer results.
Solution: Many companies use natural materials to build some aspect of their product. However, BioEcoTek is harnessing the natural factory inside algae to clean wastewater and produce electricity. BioEcoTek’s ultimate goal is to create a closed loop that delivers value from every element of its production cycle.
Commercialization: 5-10 years
3. Turn waste streams into profit streams
Problem: Nuclear energy is an expensive, delicate and dangerous operation that produces long-term risks.
Solution: Scientists at TerraPower are working on a traveling-wave nuclear technology that would revolutionize our energy mix. Their goal is to fill a cylinder with nuclear waste, ignite a reaction on one end and draw power for more than 60 years as the ignition consumes today’s “waste” as fuel.
Commercialization: 20+ years
Think Bigger and Become a Power Innovator
Our ability to generate power hasn’t changed much in the past 60 years. Today, we’re seeing more ideas and larger investment in energy innovation than ever before. It’s clear that audacious thinking pays.
Is your company ripe for innovation? Where do you find your inspiration to innovate?