Energy Business Model Challenge: Innovation through young talent

For the third time, we held the Energy Business Model Challenge jointly with the Tecnológico de Monterrey’s Business Incubator. This program was aimed at encouraging university students interested in developing clean energy projects.

Over 100 students willing to learn more about the energy industry challenges worked for two days together with 70 mentors, including Iberdrola México’s employees, in a business model that will help them advance their projects.

After two selection rounds, the winning project was “COA”, which consists in combining the use of agave with microalgae that serves to clean tequila and/or mezcal waste. The final outcome of this process is a material that can generate fuel. Energy comes from the most unexpected places or sources, and this project is a good example of that.

The name of this project comes from the utensil used in the first phase of agave distillation for cutting the stalks and root, leaving only the heart or pineapple. This projects uses all the waste left to produce fuel from microalgae, which have the potential to absorb gas and make biofuel and other products that are very efficient and non-polluting sources of energy – of which we at Iberdrola México are fans.

The BM Challenge helped us view the applied and profitable project. By preparing the full model, we realized the technology’s potential and the industry’s value. The support of Iberdrola and Zona Ei (hosting the Incubator) was very important, because their experience in energy and entrepreneurship helped us shape our final model, noted Camila Jaber, member of the winning team and student of Engineering in Innovation and Development with specialty in Sustainable Water Use.

Finding experts in different fields in the same place helped speed up the development of the students’ project, which is invaluable for the people at Iberdrola, because it addresses several of our strategic action pillars, such as education support and, obviously, the push for environmentally friendly energies, and innovation. With actions like this, we reaffirm our commitment to Mexico and its energy.

In three years, the Energy Business Model Challenge has been held in the United States, Spain, Scotland and Mexico, jointly with leading universities in each country. Brazil will soon join this initiative.