Tata Trusts-backed Social Alpha announces winners of Innovations in Clean Energy Challenge

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 06 Jul 2021


Social Alpha, a not-for-profit multistage innovation curation and venture development platform for science and technology start-ups has announced the 17 winners of its third edition of the energy challenge ‘Techtonic – Innovations in Clean Energy’. The NPO is sponsored and enabled by Tata Trusts, government of India and a number of academic, philanthropic and corporate partnerships.

Incepted in 2016, Social Alpha aims address the most critical social, economic and environmental challenges through the power of entrepreneurship and market-creating innovations. Till date, it has supported more 150 start-ups including over 40 seed investments. 

The winning solutions at the third edition include battery integrated fast-charging solution for EVs, affordable solar dryer for minimising post-harvest losses, affordable and efficient sodium-ion batteries, and renewable-energy powered climate-controlled vertical farming system.

The start-ups were chosen from a pool of 195 entries based on affordability, accessibility and user experience, in addition to the criteria of innovation, impact potential, problem-solution fit, scalability potential, business viability and team strength. The International Energy Agency (IEA) and Sweden-based RISE Institute also contributed to the multi-stage assessment process as knowledge partners to the program.

The winners of the challenge in the pre-pilot category will receive physical incubation at Social Alpha-Atal Incubation Centre, set up under Atal Innovation Mission, the flagship initiative of NITI Aayog, government of India. The customised incubation includes prototype and MVP design and development support; business model development support; mentorship from technical and business experts; and access to legal, IP, communication and branding services.

Post-pilot category winners will be incubated at Social Alpha’s Clean Energy International Incubation Centre, an initiative supported by the Department of Biotechnology, government of India, BIRAC, Tata trusts, and Tata Power group. They will receive support in product design, testing and development, GTM and market access, and get international collaboration opportunities through Mission Innovation, a global initiative working to accelerate clean energy innovations.

The selected start-ups from both the incubation labs will also receive full spectrum venture development and scale-up support from Social Alpha, which may include techno-commercial pilot support by Tata Power’s Pilot Accelerator of up to Rs 25 lakh per start-up, scale-up support of up to Rs 50 lakh per start-up by Social Alpha’s SDG-7 accelerator and Sustain Plus Foundation, and seed funding of up to Rs 1 crore per start-up by Social Alpha. Besides this, a number of corporations and investors are expected to join the support ecosystem as the programme progresses. Various incubators, accelerators and investors participating in the programme are expected to deploy collectively more than Rs 20 crore over a period of 24 months.

Speaking about the winning solutions, Manoj Kumar, founder and CEO,  Social Alpha said, “Climate change will impact food, human health, environment and all the other things crucial to the existence of life in this planet. Our planet needs transformative strategies to advance rapidly scalable clean energy solutions. Like the previous years, the winners of the latest edition of Social Alpha energy challenge offer hope that high potential innovations can drive climate action towards a sustainable future. Social Alpha is already working with 20 start-ups that collectively have the potential to avoid more than 200 megatonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions every year by 2030 as evaluated by RISE Institutes, Sweden.”  

List of 17 winning start-ups under pre-pilot and post-pilot categories:

  • Enhanced Innovations is developing Phloton, a smart, active cooling vaccine carrier system
  • Raheja Solar Food Processing has developed an affordable solar dryer for minimising post-harvest losses
  • Steamax Envicore provides efficient biomass combustion system for small-scale food industry’s heating needs
  • Hydrogreens Agri Solutions provides a renewable-energy powered climate-controlled vertical farming system
  • MachPhy Solutions provides an energy efficient hybrid cooling system with phase change materials and nanomaterials
  • Orora provides solar-powered modular mini-grid solution with configurable options for off-grid energy applications
  • Rechargion Energy has developed a plug-and-play Li-S battery
  • Godi India has developed next-generation advanced lithium-ion batteries and supercapacitors
  • Aloe eCell has developed eco-friendly and non-hazardous aloe vera-based battery
  • Valerio Electric has developed smart charging sockets for electric vehicles
  • Vidhyutalaya Energy Storage Systems is developing affordable and efficient sodium-ion batteries
  • MOJO Green has developed a mobile, battery integrated fast-charging solution for EVs
  • Apeiro Energy has developed iWind – smart vertical axis wind turbine
  • Aerostrovilos Energy has developed ultra-low emission micro gas turbine-based power generation using biofuels
  • Thumbi Labs has developed Triazu, a simulation platform that models energy-use
  • Evergen has developed a software platform that optimises battery storage and orchestrates fleets of batteries for network operators and electricity retailers
  • Wenergie Ecoworks provides Quark, a series of smart solar-to-battery interfacing devices