Have you ever heard a term used in conversation that stopped you in your tracks and made you think where have I heard this before and why does it keep coming up in different conversations? Well, that happened to me today. If you saw the day 1 post you probably recall the keynote speakers closing invitation “Let’s make this evolution happen.” That term evolution was brought up in conversation today by a former Start@ETS finalist, Scott Kessler of LO3 Energy. I am paraphrasing for literary effect and science fiction TV nostalgia, Scott suggested that a likely scenario is that some utilities will evolve and some will resist the changes and will eventually be consolidated through acquisition by the next generation Utilities.

Today was a heads-down day focused on navigating the expansive space of the Distributech exhibit floor. Excellent progress was made and five companies stood out for today’s report.

Mobileye (an Intel Company) was exhibiting for the first time at Distributech and has a solution all safety concise company fleets should be considering (everyone should be raising their hand, as this is the audience participation part of the blog). Installation of a small camera-based advanced driver assistance system (ADMS) into your existing fleet will reduce vehicle accidents and pedestrian, cyclist, or e-scooter collisions.

Viking Cold Solutions brings thermal energy storage technology to your cold storage commercial and industrial customers saving them energy costs while offering utilities with a new market of flexible and controllable loads that can be aggregated and dispatched for grid benefit. The innovative system uses advanced phase change materials to absorb latent heat for up to 13 hours per day without active refrigeration.

Sunverge There are a number of companies that are bringing behind the meter generation, storage, and demand response capabilities to the market but Sunverge has made it a focus to target utility partnerships to create aggregated Virtual Power Plants that can be dispatched by utilities to maximize grid benefits and cost control. This type of approach is an easy entry into an evolved utility model that performs grid balancing functions utilizing advanced point-of-use assets.

Laki Power is an early-stage Iceland based company that is worth keeping an eye on. The companies first product uses energy harvesting from direct attachment to high voltage transmission lines to power video capture and sensor devices measuring conductor tilt angle, tension, wind speed conditions, air temperature, and current flow. Although it would be great to have these devices installed for dove hunting season to video capture shotgun “interactions” with utility fiber optic cables (maybe that is just a Texas thing?), a better application could be monitoring real-time transmission congestion carrying capacity using the embedded sensors alone. Laki mentioned that they will likely develop new smaller form factor devices in the future for distribution level power lines.

Kitu Systems has developed a number of products for the Distributed Energy Resource (DER) space but I was most impressed with their approach to utility managed Electric Vehicle (EV) charging for the workplace, public, and multifamily charging stations. Kitu allows EV charging to be dynamically adjusted to avoid demand charges, flatten grid peaks, or optimize billing cost around time-of-use rates.

Tomorrow will be the final post in this series as the Distributech conference closes mid-day. That article will focus on Zpryme’s former Start@ETS competition participants in a where are they now? style report.