Faced with the climate emergency and the need to reduce polluting emissions, it is now essential to find innovative solutions that contribute to the transition to carbon neutrality. Thanks to a global ecosystem dedicated to research and innovation, ENGIE is investing and working to conceive new digital solutions for energy services or for the circular economy. With one purpose: decarbonize human activities.
With its employees, research teams, start-up incubators and investments in start-ups, ENGIE has built a single ecosystem focused on innovation. In recent years, the Group has successfully imagined and rolled out solutions around sustainable mobility, decentralized energy, connected buildings, land management, hydrogen and energy storage solutions, for example.
Our employees co-construct innovative solutions all year long with the aim of generating a positive impact: they are the first of the Group’s innovation eco-systems. Each year, the ENGIE Innovation Trophies, an annual internal event, attract 500 projects from all of the Group’s Business Units and entities following a nomination and selection process, and reward the best of them. Among the very varied initiatives that have competed, some have now become concrete applications, such as Ôgénie in 2018, a platform for improving the daily lives of seniors. A prize-winner in the 2017 Trophies, when it was still at the project stage, Bioscyance, which has become an in-house start-up, launched the idea of using biopolymers to treat industrial wastewater instead of chemicals. And in 2019, the event showcased Greater Spingfield, an Australian city that wants to become a net zero energy city by 2038, thanks to ENGIE. Since then, the project has become a benchmark for the development of sustainable cities.
ENGIE New Ventures, the Group’s €180 million corporate investment fund, has already invested roughly €125 million in more than 20 companies and startups worldwide. In March, it announced a strategic investment in H2SITEH2SITE, a Spanish company whose objective is to produce hydrogen on site from methane and membranes inside reactors, while in July, ENGIE invested in its 26th company or startup with Energyworx, a world leader in cloud-based energy data management solutions, which enabled our North American teams to readjust their prices in the face of sudden changes in consumption patterns during the Covid-19 crisis.
In Paris, Singapore and Santiago, ENGIE creates new companies and, over several years, grows companies chosen through calls for projects, with the aim of transforming them into Group assets. We provide them with assistance and advice via the Group’s teams, at events and through in-house incubators.
Alongside publics institutions and research centers, companies have a part to play in carrying out research to achieve the transition to carbon neutrality. ENGIE operates 8 Research & Development centers and 23 thematic research laboratories, with 900 researchers. In France, Lab CRIGEN, whose new site is scheduled to be inaugurated at the end of September 2020, is working in particular on developing biogas applications, zero-carbon B2B solutions and reducing the climate footprint of the Group's activities. The research entity, which employs 180 research professionals, generated €34 million of revenues in 2019.
ENGIE's efforts are focused particularly on the development of biomethane and green hydrogen, especially in France. But ENGIE is also involved in international research projects, such as the American university project, Supercritical Transformational Electric Power (STEP). This technology uses carbon as a heat-transfer fluid instead of steam, which will reduce energy consumption and, in the long term, the size of power plants and their environmental footprint.
Innovation at ENGIE also involves digital technology. The Group has acquired unique know-how in the sector, enabling it to develop innovative platforms dedicated to multiple uses. Examples include Livin, which brings together Smart City tools such as car park management and street lighting, Darwin, which gathers and processes the data needed to operate renewable energies, and Predity, which provides the data needed to optimally manage an energy installation.
This year, you will be able to join in the ENGIE Innovation Festival, an event running from September 22 to 25, which will be broadcast online. It will feature the Innovation Trophies, as well as online round tables and talks, and the inauguration of the new ENGIE Lab CRIGEN site, attended by senior Group executives.
To learn more about research and innovation at ENGIE, find all our articles in our special dossier.