In Spain, a start-up founded by passionate professionals aims to contribute to sustainable growth and energy renewal. By developing intelligent platforms, SMARTIVE wants to improve operations and efficiency inside the energy market. Just as their name suggests, the start-up is a smart company, which means that they use smart technology such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing or data mining algorithms in order to come up with the best possible sustainable solutions for their clients.
For the time being, the start-up is focusing on wind turbines. They aim to reduce operation and maintenance costs by 20% and increase wind turbine efficiency by up to 10%. SMARTIVE technology is also able to predict wind turbines failure 90 days in advance with an accuracy rate of about 96%, which can help clients save a lot of money. Aside from that, they use real-time data analysis to supervise, monitor, diagnose and make prognoses of wind turbine performance.
Innovation Origins talked to Jordi Cusidó, CEO of SMARTIVE and this is what he had to say:
How would you describe SMARTIVE?
SMARTIVE is a start-up company that develops IT solutions in order to monitor, diagnose, make prognoses and control energy assets. We are very specialized in the wind power market. SMARTIVE has developed a unique diagnosis platform for this market – SmartCast – which enables early failure prediction for wind turbines. SMARTIVE has also developed an innovative SCADA solution to monitor & control wind turbines. Both tools can be used simultaneously.
What was the motivation behind the creation of SMARTIVE?
The operation and maintenance (O&M) of renewable energy assets, and especially wind turbines (WT), is a huge challenge. Currently, WTs stop working due to failures at least 3% of their running time. Actually, when it comes to older wind farms, these figures may increase by up to 10-15% per case and in extreme cases by up to 30%. This leads to enormous losses, quantified in terms of more than €15B per year worldwide. SMARTIVE co-founders are committed to sustainable growth and renewable energies. Subsequently, they decided to co-found SMARTIVE so as to be able to respond to that challenge through the use of technology.
What makes SMARTIVE different from other similar startups?
We attribute SMARTIVE uniqueness to our passion for innovation and new technologies. SMARTIVE invests in new developments and allows PhD students to work in the company and collaborate with leading research institutions like UPC, UVic, CENER or Eurecat, among others. Our team includes 3 PhD students. Some of our contributions are also published in associated research journals. We are the only company that combines technologies like adaptive machine learning, artificial intelligence, deep learning, IoT, big data, blockchain and cloud computing. We are not about one single technology. And we are committed to getting the best results possible.
As such, SMARTIVE is capable of developing different algorithms for every single WT in order to achieve the best results.
What has been the biggest obstacle that you have had to overcome?
The main obstacle is the energy market itself. The energy market is led by huge companies that are usually very conservative. So, trying to convince big players like Naturgy, Innogy, ACCIONA, EDP … (all of whom are current clients of SMARTIVE) may take as long as a year and a half.
Was there a moment in where you thought of giving up?
We’ve been very lucky ever since SMARTIVE was founded. Nevertheless, it was tough before we launched our start-up. The first potential investors gave up on the idea. After they left, we found our special business angel (Ramon) who really believed in us and helped us start the business.
What has been the most gratifying moment?
There have been many greats moments,
- 2010 the Thesis Award as the best Thesis, that was actually the starting point
- 2011 Valortec Award as the best Business Plan for a Technological Start-Up in Catalunya
- 2014 signing with our first customer
- 2015 Incense Award presented by ENEL
- 2016 Most Innovative SME in Europe presented by EEN & EC
- 2016 signing our first contract with major clients ACCIONA & NATURGY
- 2018 signing our first international contract, INNOGY (Germany), Finerge (Portugal)
- 2019 SMARTIVE UK foundation
How does the future look for SMARTIVE?
Our first challenge is to consolidate our position in the European Market. SMARTIVE has recently opened SMARTIVE UK Ltd., so we are aiming to gain a good position in the UK and German markets.
SMARTIVE is starting up in the PV sector together with some of our current customers.
In five years, we expect to be consolidated in the EU market with offices in London & Hamburg. We expect to open in Boston, US, so we will be able to tackle the US energy market. By then, the company will be a leading player in the digitization field working in the wind, solar, hydro industries. The company will keep up its investment efforts in innovation and R&D.
What is your ultimate goal?
Our ultimate goal is to be a world-leading company in the digitization of energy assets. Our ultimate goal is to reach an Initial Public Offering (IPO), preferably in the NASDAQ.