Amazon's solution to save the planet: AWS vouchers, training for more eco startups

Web giant is used to seeing green

Amazon is giving out funding and support to more startups developing technology that points us in the direct of net-zero emissions, as part of its AWS Clean Energy Accelerator program.

The accelerator will provide 12 eco-minded companies with guidance on how to get more out of the AWS cloud, by training their employees on machine learning, analytics, and high-performance computing. Each startup will also get up to $100,000 in AWS Activate credits, double what was offered to the program's first cohort of ten startups announced in July 2021.

Howard Gefen, GM of AWS' energy industry business unit, said in a canned statement that despite climate change being the defining issue of our age, the technology needed to achieve today's grand environmental goals isn't there. The Clean Energy Accelerator program is supposed to help foster the development of this green tech we're lacking.

"Technologies available today support less than 40 percent of the CO2 reductions needed, and many of these technologies are not yet commercially deployed on a mass-market scale," he opined. 

Amazon's own carbon footprint has been growing, and it's attempted to deflect its own problems by framing emissions against business growth (less carbon emitted per dollar earned), or simply refusing to report emission statistics. Amazon has also stated its use of renewable energy reduced its carbon footprint by four percent from 2019 to 2020, and that it became the largest corporate purchaser of green energy, which it said powered 65 percent of its operations in 2020.

AWS' green dozen

More than 420 companies in 58 countries applied, of which AWS selected 12 businesses to be part of the second cohort of its Clean Energy Accelerator. They are:

  • Barbara IoT is a Spanish company working on industrial IoT equipment connectivity and security
  • Cemvita Factory is a US-based synthetic biology company working to design microbes able to consume CO2 and methane waste to reduce carbon emissions
  • Hybrid Greentech is a Danish company specializing in maximizing energy storage investments
  • Power to Hydrogen is working in the US to develop more efficient and long-lasting hydrogen power cells
  • Rated Power is a Spanish biz working on a simulation platform for maximizing placement of photovoltaic power plants
  • Shifted Energy are the American makers of a SaaS platform called Grid Maestro that monitors and optimizes the behavior of hot water heaters
  • Sunai in Chile offers solar plant optimization software
  • SwitchDin are the Australian builders of a software platform that coordinates home and commercial solar systems spread better distribute load
  • UPowr is an Australian platform that uses AI to generate automated quotes and layouts for solar installations
  • Uprise Energy, based in the US, is developing shipping container-sized portable wind turbines for easy field deployment
  • Urban Electric Power, covered previously by The Register, is manufacturing rechargeable alkaline batteries for residential and commercial applications
  • WindESCO in the US offers analytics software for maximizing wind turbine performance

Along with AWS credits and training, Amazon said the dozen companies that are part of the accelerator will have access to mentoring from Amazon, the European Innovation Council, the Global Warming Mitigation Project and other partner organizations. All 12 participants will show off their work at AWS' Clean Energy Accelerator 2.0 Innovation Showcase taking place in Lisbon, Portugal, in June. ®

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