How Venture IQ helps Eneco optimise their district heating networks

Collaboration Eneco & Venture IQ

Eneco is a large Dutch Utility, working together with customers and partners on their “Everyone’s sustainable energy” mission, so people can take control of their own energy. Thanks to their consistent strategy, they lead the way in the field of sustainability and innovation.

Venture IQ, specialised in technology scouting, helps Eneco in identifying and assessing innovative technology companies that can support Eneco in realizing their sustainable mission. Over the past years, the relationship has resulted in a series of successful projects, among which the recent project to identify smart district heating solutions. Venture IQ is servicing both the innovation department as well as the venturing team. The below case was executed for the innovation department.

The case

Eneco continuously optimizes their district heating networks, and believes they still have a lot to win in the energy efficiency of the networks. Eneco has started a project to add a digital layer to the metering, simulation, analysis and optimization of the heat distribution in the networks. Eneco collaborates with existing suppliers to do pilots in their current networks, and at the same time started a technology search with Venture IQ to identify innovative digital solutions that might be complementary to their existing solutions. 

Project approach: systematic & iterative

Over the past few years, Eneco and Venture IQ have developed an efficient way of collaborating. Eneco’s experts define the scope and criteria and get input from diverse stakeholders. Venture IQ uses their proactive, data-driven technology scouting methodology to identify and assess innovative technology companies that matches Eneco’s scope and criteria. The two companies collaborate in Catalist, Venture IQs specialized technology scouting software. They do so in an agile way: real-time, with direct feedback loops and the ability to automatically gather data based on Venture IQ’s Chrome extension.

Project results: 49 smart district heating companies

In this project, Venture IQ identified 49 smart district heating software players in Europe, that offer functionality that helps district heating operators to reduce heat loss in the network and decrease the return temperature. The identified players included startups, incumbents as well as consortia of companies. In order to assess fit, a comparison was made on the kind of analytics the players provide (real time, historical and predictive), and which part of the value chain is addressed (production plant, substation level or behind the meter). In addition, the extent to which the solutions integrate with external solutions through API’s was reviewed. In addition, Venture IQ compared company characteristics (stage / size of company, client references etc) to understand which companies would fit best to Eneco’s criteria. Together with Eneco, ten companies were selected for further analysis. Venture IQ interviewed four companies to gain more insights for Eneco.

Benefits to Eneco

In using Venture IQ’s software and services, Eneco was able to save time and get access to better information, thereby making partnering decisions with more confidence. 

Our relationship with Venture IQ again proved to be of great benefit to Eneco. In close cooperation we succeeded in identifying the best in class solutions for our requirements in limited time. A nice additional benefit was that VIQ pointed us towards research projects in this field which has led to promising new insights.

Jasper IJzenbrandt, Energy Technology Innovation at Eneco Group

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