Three International Start-Ups Win OCBC 2023 Sustainability Innovation Challenge

India-based Nunam Technologies, a 2nd hand lithium-ion based technology solutions provider; Spain-based Bia Power, an integrated clean technology start-up; and Philippines-based Pili Seal, a sustainable sealant producer, have emerged as the winners of the second edition of the OCBC Sustainability Innovation Challenge.

They will now be piloting their winning solutions with the subsidiaries of global multi-energy company TotalEnergies in the first half of 2024. Each winner will receive S$50,000 pilot funding from OCBC.

First launched in 2022, the OCBC Sustainability Innovation Challenge aims to co-create innovative sustainable solutions with businesses, while providing aspiring solution providers a platform to showcase and scale their innovations.

This year’s Challenge saw close to 90 submissions from 27 countries around the world, responding to the four challenge statements issued by TotalEnergies.

The challenge statements were focused on renewable energy and sustainable mobility, as these are critical sectors driving the energy transition and mitigating climate change.

1. Repurpose EV batteries for safe redeployment in new applications.

2. Increase the penetration of distribution generation systems in Asia.

3. Develop cost-effective solutions integrating renewable energy sources to increase the efficiency of EV charging infrastructure.

4. Develop greener raw materials for manufacturing.

The Winning Solutions

Nunam Technologies started out re-purposing used personal laptop battery cells and has since built on that experience to upcycle EV batteries and extend their lifespan. These re-purposed internet-connected battery systems are scalable, modular, and suitable to be used in a wide range of applications from small-scale hybrid solar residential systems to commercial and industrial uninterruptible power supply (UPS) backup needs.

Leveraging data aggregation and forecasting from power generators, fleet operators and EV charge points operators, Bia Power developed a smart charging algorithm that monitors, plans and optimises EV charging loads. It is projected to allow up to 80% more EV charging in environments where power capacity is limited, reduce electricity costs by up to 50%, optimise power sources, and allow the integration of green energy.

In the Philippines, the sap of the Pili tree commonly undergoes a hydrodistillation process to yield essential oils. A by-product of this process is the spent pili resin, which is usually discarded. Pili Seal developed a patented way to process this spent resin further to yield an industrial grade, 2-in-1 sealant-adhesive – Pili Seal – that has significant health benefits over commercially available chemical-based sealant-adhesives.

Pili Seal has been tested in the aviation and building and construction industries. The market for Pili Seal is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of about 6% from now till 2026.

Winners of the OCBC Sustainability Innovation Challenge will begin piloting their solutions with TotalEnergies in the first half of 2024. They are also being fast-tracked into the final jury phase of TotalEnergies On, taking place in February 2024.

TotalEnergies On is the Company’s start-up accelerator program dedicated to electricity businesses at Paris-based STATION F – the largest start-up campus in the world. Launched in May 2022, the accelerator program aims to identify and provide guidance to promising start-ups to develop innovative solutions in the electricity and renewables business.

Winners of TotalEnergies On will have access to an international group of new energy experts as well as a network of over 150 leading venture capital investment funds. These winners will also work closely with various TotalEnergies teams to test and improve their innovative products, services, and business models.

Mike Ng, Group Chief Sustainability Officer, OCBC, said: “This year’s winners impressed us with their keen understanding of the gaps in the renewable energies and sustainable mobility market, and the technical soundness and potential commercial viability of their solutions. We are committed to supporting them and more aspiring solution providers to bring their innovations to fruition.”