There is no doubting the desire to move towards a more sustainable energy future, but financial and political uncertainties are clouding the renewables vision. Predicting what lies ahead can enable the industry’s innovators to push this vision forward. Europe’s KIC InnoEnergy is bringing the tools to market to do just that.
For 1,200 years, the great and the good of Ancient Greece visited the oracle at Delphi for advice on everything from their personal lives to affairs of the state. In a trance, the Sybil would speak on behalf of the sun-god Apollo, answering questions, giving orders, and making prophecies.
According to legend, and more recently confirmed by Hellenic scholars, the source of the oracle’s power was not a direct hotline to Mt Olympus, but a so-called vapour – probably ethylene – that escaped from fissures in the rocks and, in the words of Plutarch ‘polluted the earth’.
Today, predicting the future is a little more prosaic: sacrificial goats and prayers to the gods have been replaced by data analytics and sophisticated modelling. But conversely the impact of harmful gases has now become a global issue, with countries all around the world suffering from the impact of global warming.
The path to securing a sustainable future is not always a straightforward one. We are not blessed with the assistance of an oracle, so how can the energy ecosystem – encompassing start-ups, industry, researches, and venture capitalists – best understand where to focus their efforts, and harness the ideas that stand the best chance of success?
Global energy context
The importance of a stable and secure energy supply to continued international economic development cannot be understated. As the world nears a population of eight billion, at a rate previously unthinkable, the pressure is starting to show. What few natural resources are left will soon run out, once abundant energy supplies in many parts of the world are depleting and the environmental impact is being felt by us all.