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Advancing the Energy Transition

A throwback to imec.istart & Thor Park’s ideation-driven community event in January ‘23.

During a time of accelerating climate change, geopolitical tension and rising inflation, the topic of energy is grabbing headlines and having a real impact on our everyday lives. The good news is that so many talented entrepreneurs and resourceful organizations are on the case, and at Thor Park and imec.istart we have seen startups and scaleups work on great solutions that each play their part in the energy transition. But would these innovators benefit from better knowing each other? And could interacting with peers and potential new partners in a real problem-solving exercise help accelerate their innovations? Our conversations suggested that the answers were probably “yes” and “yes”.

A different type of industry meeting

That’s why we organized a community-building event at Thor Central to kick 2023 off with a bang. A curated mix of participants from leading technology researchers (including experts from imec and EnergyVille), financial backers (including the new V2Hfin fund by Vlaamse Energie Holding) and ecosystem enablers (including flux50 and Agoria) joined innovative product builders to  brainstorm real ideas to further advance the energy transition. 


The ideas discussed included: Digital twins for energy in the built environment, Enabling interoperability through trust and standards, Seamless e-mobility for everyone, Harmonizing e-mobility by pooling energy assets, and Governing collective energy data. The brainstorming format, and the fact that groups were pre-formed based on each participant’s expressed preferences, clearly helped to immediately identify topics of shared interest and jumpstart deeper conversations over the subsequent networking lunch. The format proved so effective that multiple participants asked on the spot if we might consider organizing a follow-up – something we are now looking into.

Much is happening, much remains to be done

We certainly didn’t solve all the world’s energy problems in one half-day session, but hopefully this will prove to be one small productive step. As the event’s opening speaker Gunter Walmagh pointed out, we are well underway towards a decentralized energy system of increasing electrification and integration of renewable energy sources, but there are still major challenges
on notably (grid) optimization and interoperability that need to be solved. Or in our words: there are still plenty of innovation opportunities and reasons to collaborate with other forward-thinking entrepreneurs to advance the energy transition.

If you would like to receive more details on the topic of Energy Transition, or if you would like to be involved in similar future events, please connect with our colleague James Pearson

James Pearson

Author: James Pearson, Venture Acceleration Manager at imec.istart