Skeleton Technologies: SET Award 2018

Innovative InnoEnergy-backed manufacturer of graphene-based ‘ultracapacitors’, Skeleton Technologies, has been recognised as one of the most promising young businesses contributing to the energy transition and climate protection, winning the 2018 SET Award in the category of innovative mobility.

The SET Awards, run by Start Up Energy Transition (SET), an initiative of the German Energy Agency (dena) in cooperation with the World Energy Council are an international competition for start-ups and young companies, working on ideas tackling global energy transition and climate change issues. There are six different categories applicants can present their projects in, all with the aim of clean energy promotion.

The award for innovative mobility is designed to single out and reward the most innovative technologies and business models in adopting greener practices and boosting electrification in transport. It seeks to discover who has the best charging infrastructure, alternative fuels, or innovative battery systems – and ultimately, who is able to unlock the potential of this market and make clean transportation the new normal for individuals and companies.

Why Skeleton?

Source: Skeleton Technologies

Not a lot of success stories start with a six-person Estonian research team, but that was precisely how Skeleton started out in 2009.

From those humble beginnings, the business has gone from strength-to-strength. Nowadays, Skeleton uses exciting ‘wonder material’, graphene, to make the world’s most advanced supercapacitors – a high power energy storage technology used in a variety of industrial and clean energy applications. Supercapacitors, like batteries, store and discharge electrical energy. However, where a battery can store a lot of energy per kilogram (known as high energy density) and charges and discharges that energy slowly (low power density), a supercapacitor holds much less overall energy but charges and discharges it rapidly within seconds, with very little internal resistance. It’s a case of slow energy storage and fast energy storage, and the technologies can be complementary.

Skeleton has been more lively than its name would suggest over the course of its nine years. Milestone projects with the European Space Agency, Horizon 2020 and InnoEnergy have allowed the company to thrive and develop its technology to the point where now it stands – on the cusp of truly revolutionising the supercapacitor industry.

What next?

In winning the SET Award, Skeleton has received €10,000 in prize money and will see its work promoted across the World Energy Councils’ global energy network in 99 countries, but the company is already looking forward.

“We’re delighted with this award, which is vindication of our approach over the last decade,” says Mr. Taavi Madiberk, CEO of Skeleton Technologies: “but we’re just getting started. We’re continuing to improve our technologies and grow our business, and I’d like to thank InnoEnergy for helping us to do so.”

Indeed, InnoEnergy has been a key backer of Skeleton since 2014, its breakthrough year, and more recently has been working on helping the business begin producing electrodes en masse.

And Skeleton is far from the only InnoEnergy success story. Indeed, another InnoEnergy partner, Meva Energy was nominated for the SET Award for low-carbon energy production. Furthermore, eight companies InnoEnergy invested in featured on SET’s list of the world’s top 100 start-ups working on the energy transition:

“We’re incredibly proud of these start-ups, whose success shows the importance of backing up investment with ongoing professional support and access to a network of top quality contacts,” says Dr. Christian Müller, CEO of InnoEnergy Germany: “When Skeleton is mass-producing its ‘ultracapacitors’, it will be a seismic shift for a range of industries, with making electric vehicles viable just the beginning. We’re determined to continue supporting the likes of Skeleton and help them build an exciting future for cleantech and society as a whole.”