October 4, 2023
Kristine Colosimo

Inaugural New Climate Futures Event Convened More than 1,000 Attendees to Advance Real-World Outcomes for Local and Global Climate Goals

Newlab's first annual Climate Week event to enable collaboration and showcase 55 emerging technology solutions from member and network startups.
Attendees mingle at New Climate Futures 2023

That's a wrap on our inaugural Climate Week event, New Climate Futures! More than 1,000 people attended the event at our Brooklyn Navy Yard flagship location. By convening startups, industry leaders, corporate entities, and policymakers, Newlab facilitated connections and critical knowledge sharing for building and scaling climate solutions.

The event featured two days of programming that included workshops, technology demonstrations, project announcements, and expert panels. The events brought together industry leaders, investors, policymakers, and deep tech startups to discuss how these stakeholder groups could work together more effectively; specifically to accelerate technology commercialization and adoption across challenge areas in mobility, energy, and materials. While the focus was on mobilizing action around climate challenges that we face today and in the near future, New Climate Futures was also a moment to celebrate the progress that global ClimateTech ecosystems and leaders have made to date. Attendees from organizations like Breakthrough Energy Ventures, The Nature Conservancy, The U.S. Department of Energy, Amazon, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and more were present to push solutions forward.

“Our first annual New Climate Futures underscored Newlab’s commitment to addressing climate change by breaking down barriers for deep tech startups to succeed - namely access to capital and customers, regulatory pathways and piloting sites needed for adoption and scale,” said Satish Rao, Chief Product Officer at Newlab. “We encouraged everyone - from startups to government agencies to corporations - to think about their toughest challenge to moving solutions forward, and then look to the person next to them who might have the answer. Our goal was for every person who walked through our door to leave inspired and with a new pathway or connection that will energize their role in solving the world’s greatest climate challenges.”

The 2023 New Climate Futures Programming Included:

Partners Day

The first day of New Climate Futures was exclusively held for Newlab corporate and government partners to come together in private, interactive sessions and breakout groups to discuss best practices and key challenges around building partnerships and mobilizing support within an organization to advance ClimateTech innovation. Leveraging the Newlab ecosystem, corporate and civic organizations in attendance discussed tangible project concepts that they could collaborate on across opportunities in mobility, energy, and materials.

Interactive Workshops to Drive Change

On day two of New Climate Futures, Newlab and key partners led 5 invite-only workshops focused on critical climate challenges across different sectors:

Open calls to join Newlab projects in Mobility, Materials, and Energy

Ørsted, Ford’s Michigan Central, and Invest Puerto Rico took the stage to share their initiatives in partnership with Newlab and invite government, corporations, and startup founders to join.

Energy: Ørsted

Varun Sivaram, Group Senior Vice President, Strategy & Innovation at Ørsted shared his insights about building the energy system of the future and the role that long duration energy storage will play in scaling the benefits of renewable energy generation. Varun announced Newlab and Ørsted’s latest initiative in Future Energy Storage, which is seeking partnerships with industry players (e.g. utilities and offtakers such as technology companies with data centers, steelmakers, and cement producers) and site hosts to support technology demonstration projects with 5 long duration energy storage startups. These efforts will ultimately accelerate the maturation and commercialization of the startup’s technologies.

Mobility: Michigan Central

Josh Sirefman, CEO of Michigan Central, explained how its unique public-private partnership with Ford Motor Company, The State of Michigan, and the City of Detroit is driving innovation-led economic development through Newlab’s hard tech innovation platform to equitably scale mobility technologies. Michigan Central and Newlab are focused on innovation activity across 3 challenge areas: increasing access to affordable clean energy and preparing the grid for electrification at scale; expanding multi-modal logistics for resilient and sustainable supply chains; and activating low-altitude airspace for sustainable movement of people and goods. Startups, corporations, and government agencies that are developing and advancing technologies in these areas can leverage testing infrastructure in Michigan for demonstration projects.

Materials: Invest Puerto Rico

Ella Woger-Nieves, CEO of Invest Puerto Rico, painted a picture of a circular economy by converting common waste streams found on the island into new sustainable products. By piloting technologies that convert sargassum, tires, and single-use plastic into usable materials, Newlab and Invest Puerto Rico are creating a blueprint for other island nations that suffer from similar climate challenges while driving regional economic growth. Those interested in applying innovative process technologies to waste streams in Puerto Rico are invited to join this project.

Focused programming with leaders across policy, investment, and innovation

Newlab organized several speakers and panel discussions with leading climate policymakers, industry experts, entrepreneurs, and investors to discuss strategies and actions for delivering climate solutions. Key themes included driving economic growth through ClimateTech innovation, influencing and adapting policies and regulatory frameworks, stacking diverse capital sources to de-risk ClimateTech development, and the need for collaboration and partnerships for ClimateTech solutions to viably reach the market.

Interactive startup demos and networking opportunities for attendees

55 startup teams from Newlab and partner networks displayed their latest hardware innovations through interactive demonstrations for event participants; inviting attendees to touch, ride, and sample climate technologies in action.

“It was an honor to demonstrate Fermata Energy’s AI-driven Vehicle-to-Grid bidirectional charging technology at Newlab for Climate Week NYC," said John Wheeler, co-founder and chief financial officer of Fermata Energy. "The vehicle drove 13 miles to the Newlab building and was actually able to use the harnessed solar power from the drive to help power the building during New Climate Futures. This marks a significant step forward in energy resilience and we're proud to showcase the boundless potential of V2G technology to harness energy and relocate power from EV batteries to where it's needed most."

Newlab will be hosting New Climate Futures again in 2024 during Climate Week. If you’re interested in learning more about the current Open Calls in Energy, Materials, and Mobility reach out to Newlab here.

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