An innovative journey through the Free Electrons Dublin Bootcamp

The Free Electrons bootcamp, hosted by ESB in Dublin, Ireland, embodied an atmosphere of energy and anticipation that permeated the air as startups and utilities converged to embark on a transformative journey. With a series of engaging activities and insightful discussions, the event offered a platform for collaboration, idea exchange, and problem-solving.


The bootcamp kicked off with a warm welcome at Roe & Co – an easy-going venue and relaxed atmosphere for networking. Startups and utilities engaged in group activities, breaking the ice and laying the foundation for fruitful collaboration. There was a spirit of camaraderie and a shared purpose that set the stage for the week ahead.


In a unique twist, the following day commenced with each utility taking center stage to deliver reverse pitches, sharing their innovation strategies and the challenges they face in their efforts to transform the energy industry. This compelling approach invited startups to think critically and propose innovative solutions to address these industry-specific hurdles. The room buzzed with excitement as the potential for collaboration and breakthrough solutions began to unfold.



The spotlight then shifted to the startups as they took the stage to present their innovative ideas and contributions to the Free Electrons innovation challenges. In rapid-fire presentations, these entrepreneurs captivated the audience with their visions for a cleaner and more sustainable energy future. The room brimmed with inspiration as exciting concepts were unveiled.



Now that the initial contacts had been made the cohort headed to Dun Laoghaire Pier, and in the comfort of the Royal Marine Hotel, startups and utilities embarked on 1:1 walking meetings amongst the picturesque surroundings. These were informal yet purposeful group meetings which provided a unique opportunity for in-depth discussions, idea exploration, and the forging of potential opportunities. Strolling along the pier and engaging in meaningful conversations, partnerships began to take shape.




In Dublin’s City Hall, the startup and utilities embarked on a series of 30-minute meetings to align strategies, discuss problems, and work together to find solutions. In the afternoon, the event received a burst of energy as Matt Hastings from Innovate UK delivered an inspirational pitch on future innovations in the energy sector. His captivating talk ignited the imagination of participants, urging them to think outside the box and push the boundaries of what is possible. The stage was set for bold ideas and game- changing innovation.




On the final day, after internal iteration, startups were given the spotlight once again as they showcased their intentions to collaborate with utilities on pilot projects. With a focus on tangible implementation, these discussions delved into the details of roadmap development and test pilot implementation. Excitement mounted as the potential for real-world impact took shape, bridging the gap between vision and action.



Next up, we had some food for thought! Insights from Free Electrons alumni and representatives from Irish Government Business Support Agencies added depth and perspective to the bootcamp. Panel discussions featuring accomplished entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and government officials provided valuable insights into the intricacies of the energy field and the evolving landscape of innovation.



The peak of the bootcamp arrived when Paul Matter, CEO of Power To Hydrogen, winner of Free Electrons 22, took the stage. He shared their journey and details of their joint collaborations with four of the Free Electrons utility partners to define the future of the electric grid. As the pilot results were showcased, the potential of hydrogen in enhancing the grid’s cleanliness and resilience became a great topic of conversation.



To wrap-up, the Free Electrons bootcamp was a testament to the power of collaboration and shared purpose. It brought together startups and utilities from around the world, sparking a dynamic exchange of ideas, insights, and potential partnerships. As the event concluded, a sense of accomplishment and excitement lingered in the air. We could say the bootcamp had served as a catalyst for innovation, propelling the energy sector forward on its transformative journey.



One last thing! On behalf of the entire Free Electrons community, we extend our sincerest thanks to ESB for their exceptional hospitality and leadership, throughout the bootcamp and as founding members of the Free Electrons program. ESB have undoubtedly played a pivotal role in the successes and
advancements being made in the energy sector. Next up, we will see you in Sydney, Australia for the Master Module! For more information on the Free Electrons program (register here).



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