urban future labs podcast, raising your antenna

Introducing Raising Your Antenna, a B2B tech podcast that explores the latest trends and news shaping the B2B technology industry. Hosted by Keith Zakheim, CEO of Antenna Group, the podcast features technology experts and thought leaders from across the cleantech, sustainability, life sciences, mobility, and emerging technology sectors.  

For the inaugural episode, we’re discussing all things energy storage with the incredible Pat Sapinsley, a renowned clean technology expert and industry thought leader, currently the managing director of Cleantech Initiatives at the Urban Future Lab. In conversation, Pat and Keith touch upon the origin of Urban Future Lab, Pat’s perspective on the cleantech venture capital landscape, and the implications of advances in battery technology on the storage industry and grid ecosystem.

What Makes Urban Future Labs Approach to Startups Different:

“One of the reasons we’ve had such great success is because we vet them so well coming in, we have a 93% survival rate since 2009 of companies we’ve incubated, that’s exactly the opposite of what happens in the startup world in the United States,” compared to 10-15% of startups on average.”

The Impact of Federal, State and Local Policy: New York As An Energy Storage Hotbed:

We are helped by a dollar commitment that the governor has made, NYSERDA is putting 260 million dollars towards this, 200 million through Green Bank lending, and 60 million for pilots that NYSERDA will pay for directly, so that’s going to push us forward to the goals we need to get too.”

Pat’s Perspective: Energy Startups to Watch

What Does the Next Generation of Energy Storage Look Like?

  • The Importance of Transparency and Analytics: “If you are a grid operator and you want to purchase one of these battery technologies, it’s very hard to compare Vanadium flow to lithium-ion because the metrics they’re giving are different.”
  • Lithium Vs. Alternative Chemistry Batteries: I don’t want to bet on one [alternative chemistry] but they are coming along. I see them get more and more mature and less expensive every year. There’s one out of Tufts University that is very promising right now and one out of MIT that’s also very promising. For these, it’ll be a few years, but in the meantime, we have things like Brenmiller and Highview.”
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