From fusion to green hydrogen: meet six energy startups from KTH
High electricity prices, an increasing energy demand, and the transition to renewable energy mean our society needs new solutions in the energy field. Here are six companies founded at KTH that have the potential to transform our energy supply.
KTH is Sweden's leading technical university and one of the 10 highest ranked technical universities in Europe. Here, we develop advanced technology that can contribute to a more sustainable society, including a reduced dependence on fossil fuels.
Over 30 % deeptech ideas
In 2023, over 70% of the ideas developed with support from KTH Innovation have the ambition to contribute to sustainable development. Over 30% are ideas based on advanced technology that have great potential to influence and change an industry or market, so-called deeptech.
- The energy area is one of KTH's strongest areas. It is gratifying to see that research is also translated into innovations and new companies with the aim of meeting our increased energy needs in a greener, more efficient, safer, and more reliable way, says Lisa Ericsson, head of KTH Innovation.
Six energy startups from KTH
Novatron Fusion Group
A glass of water contains all the energy a person needs in a lifetime. That is one of the reasons why fusion is often singled out as the holy grail of energy technology. However, before fusion power can be realized as a stable and sustainable energy solution in society, there are several challenges, one of the biggest of which is how the fusion plasma, which is heated to over 150 million degrees, should be handled. The company Novatron Fusion Group is developing a new solution to the problem, where the plasma is naturally kept stable by the shape of the reactor. The company was founded in 2022 based on technology developed by KTH alumnus and inventor Jan Jäderberg. A test facility is now being built at KTH to validate the technology, with the goal of delivering electricity to the grid in 2040. KTH Holding has invested in Novatron Fusion Group.
In March 2013, a group of researchers contacted KTH Innovation with the idea of developing a new kind of small nuclear reactor cooled with lead. In August of that same year, they founded the company Leadcold. That was the start of ten years of ups and downs. In 2022, Leadcold got 99 million Swedish crowns in funding from the Swedish Energy Agency and an investment of 25 million from Swedish angel investors. Founder Janne Wallenius also received the KTH Innovation Award for his creativity, grit and courage in bringing small-scale, modular reactors to the market. In December 2022, Jacob Stedman, founder of Doktor24, took over as CEO of the company. Construction of a test facility is planned to start in Oskarshamn in 2025.
Cellfion develops membranes made of wood and thinner than paper to store solar energy and wind power in a way that is sustainable for the climate. This technology has been developed during ten years of research at KTH, RISE and Linköping University. Cellfion's solution is an environmentally friendly alternative to the membranes that are used in fuel cells and large-scale battery technologies today. Those membranes often contain PFSA, a toxic material that the European Commission has proposed to ban shortly. Cellfion's technology can be used in a range of applications that are central to the transition to renewable energy, such as fuel cells, redox flow batteries and electrolysers. KTH Holding has invested in Cellfion.
Southern Lights aims to replace fossil fuels in the industry by enabling large-scale production of green hydrogen. Green hydrogen is produced through the electrolysis of water, using renewable energy from, for example, solar, wind or hydropower. That way, green hydrogen is completely free of carbon dioxide emissions, and can be used to replace fossil fuels in the steel industry, chemical production, heavy transport and more. Southern Lights has developed a SaaS tool that makes it easier and more efficient for energy developers to design green hydrogen projects. In November 2022, they joined the KTH Innovation pre-incubator program , and in January this year, they launched the first commercial version of their product.
Transformers are important components in our power systems, but they often become bottlenecks that hinder the expansion of renewable energy. The researchers behind DTR-1 have developed a software solution that enables power system operators to transfer more capacity using transformers that are already in operation. In this way, they can create space for the expansion of renewable power plants and make the system more flexible.
Another KTH spinoff that focuses on the production of green hydrogen is Caplyzer. A patent-pending technology demonstrating the world's first electrolyzer that functions as a capacitor, a new and simpler solution for water electrolysis that can contribute to a paradigm shift in the field. The solution can, for example, be used in steel production, chemical processing and in energy storage. KTH Holding has invested in Caplyzer.