After a comprehensive scouting expedition throughout Russia’s innovation ecosystem, we have successfully concluded our startup contest that began in June. The call for proposals ended with a final flourish thanks to a celebration in Rome on November 18, 2019. "This is the first time that our Russian Enel Innovation Hub has held an innovation event in the city where the Enel headquarters is located," explained Olga Maslova, Head of the Hub.
Organised in collaboration with the Russian Venture Company (RVC), Maslova highlighted the role of the contest in achieving the objective of "enlarging our partner network and of connecting Enel with the entire Russian ecosystem to scout for the best solutions." During the process we received a total of 185 proposals that were screened by our expert panel. We invited five startup finalists to join us in Rome for a short pitch session, where they had the opportunity to present their solutions in greater detail to representatives from Enel’s global business lines. The winners, who will be chosen after a meticulous evaluation to select the most impactful technologies, will have the opportunity to develop a pilot project with Enel at one of its international innovation facilities.
The event enjoyed the participation of senior Enel management, including Enel’s Chief Innovability® Officer, Ernesto Ciorra, the CEO of Enel Innovation Hubs Fabio Tentori, and the Head of Innovation Enel Green Power and Enel Global Thermal Generation, Nicola Rossi. The involvement of such senior figures in the contest run by the Moscow hub reflects Enel’s commitment to the innovation ecosystem in Russia. Alexander Povalko, General Director of RVC, was also in Rome for the event, underscoring "the importance of this finale and its results for both companies."
Maslova explained that the relationship with RVC is unique, because "with the collaboration of Generation S – the corporate accelerator of the Russian Venture Company – we became the first international power company to hold a joint innovation contest with RVC."
Thermal Generation and Renewable Energy for the future
The selected startups have a focus on Thermal Generation and Renewable Energy, "two fields that pretty much summarise Enel’s business in Russia," explained Moslova. "The company has three Thermal Power plants and Renewable facilities, with two wind farms currently under construction, while the authorisation to construct the third was received within the framework of the tender held by the Russian Government in 2019," she added.
As Thermal Generation was always the dominant area in the Russian power sector, "we expected that there would be numerous interesting innovation technologies and solutions in this particular field," Moslova explained. Turning to the topic of renewables, Moslova outlined how "this is a new developing trend in the Russian power sector, so we are witnessing a number of new innovation companies emerging and offering very competitive solutions." Enel is also involved in this race and can now count on five new Russian startups to go faster than ever.
"This has been an important event for these startups, not only because they made it to the shortlist out of a total of 185 proposals submitted, but also because they have a chance to present their technology directly to Enel’s top management," the Head of the Hub concluded.
Amongst the finalists four startups are involved in Global Thermal Generation (GTG) and one in Renewables. The startups in the GTG category include: Kavaca Industrial, In-Pipe Robot, Cyclops and Warden Machinery. Kavaca Industrial offers a multifunctional nanoceramic coating that can extend the life of solar panels or of any surface and equipment, resulting in an economic benefit of 13% savings. The startup In-Pipe Robot has designed a robotic device to inspect industrial and complex-shape pipelines that allows timely and accurate identification of problem areas. Cyclops has developed a software package that analyses the video stream from production facilities in order to respond quickly to possible violations of safety regulations and equipment operation procedures. Finally, Warden Machinery creates machine vision systems for various industrial applications, such as automated visual inspection and equipment monitoring.
In the Renewables area, SKAUT Group has developed an on-board photo-video system for driver action analysis that integrates Artificial Intelligence technology to automatically detect dangerous conditions and imprudent driver behaviour.
The event has also contributed to better understanding of Enel’s approach to innovation and, in particular, offered a great opportunity to learn more about the ecosystem of the Enel Innovation Hub in Russia. Now, we are looking forward to finding the final results and developing Proof of Concepts with the winners. Keep an eye out for our newest solutions!