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Energy Entrepreneurs

DEIC Hyperscaled

Addressing Data Center Challenges: DEIC Hyperscaled Pilot Program Offers Acceleration Pathway to Startups

DEIC Hyperscaled is the Dominion Energy Innovation Center’s new virtual accelerator program connecting data center-focused energy and sustainability startups with their next major customer and potential corporate investor. The program is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Technology Transitions’ Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) Round 3 (see the announcement).

Over 11 weeks, the DEIC will provide education, mentoring, and connections, helping cohort companies discover pathways to paid pilot projects at Dominion Energy, QTS, and other commercialization opportunities across the Commonwealth.

The program dovetails with our DEIC Accelerate program and offers additional industry-specific support to companies looking to create energy infrastructure solutions for data centers.

Hyperscaled Focus

Our goal with Hyperscaled is to decouple carbon emissions from data center growth, identifying opportunities to improve the technology and efficiency of both data centers and the energy infrastructure serving them.

More Program Details

DEIC Hyperscaled offers innovators around data center infrastructure and support a platform to make a positive impact on the Commonwealth’s march towards net-zero. We are looking for seed-stage or later companies with innovative products or services that are ready to pilot at utility scale.

Energy Efficiency

According to reports, an energy-efficient data center can use up to 80% less power and create 88% less environmental impact, but only 12% of data centers are considered green. Despite a six-fold increase in workload since 2010, overall energy consumption in 2020 had grown just 6% due to efficiency gains, but challenges remain as energy-intensive AI, 5G, crypto, and blockchain impact gains. Have an idea on how to improve data center energy efficiency even more? Working with power infrastructure, airflow management, HVAC, or other advancements?

Grid Infrastructure

The infrastructure delivering power to data centers, including transformers, substations, and other hardware/software solutions is under strain – as of 2020, data centers accounted for nearly 1% of worldwide energy usage. Major players such as AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft are moving toward renewable energy but are years away from net-zero carbon emissions. In the meantime, there is opportunity for innovation in traditional energy components. Are you working on a related idea?

Water Usage

A large data center uses between 1 and 5 million gallons of water each day. Only a small percentage (as little as 25% in some cases) of the water is recycled/reused. Major players have pledged to be “water positive” by 2030. Have an idea to decrease that amount or use water more efficiently?

Backup Power

Data centers traditionally use diesel generators for backup power, as outages are costly (in a 2023 survey, 54% of respondents said their last outage cost $100K+, while 16% said an outage cost $1M+). Do you have an alternative idea for backup power? Have a microgrid solution? Working on cleaner fuel cells?

Design

A recent Meta data center project sited in Richmond cost more than $1B to build ($750M for the center itself and the rest for solar facilities to provide 100% renewable energy). Do you have ways to lower development costs? Improve data center design? 

We are looking for seed-stage or later companies with innovative products or services that are ready to pilot at utility scale.

DEIC Hyperscaled Program Structure

Dates

DEIC Hyperscaled runs 11 weeks between September and November each year.

Cohort Size

5-6 companies are chosen each year to participate in DEIC Hyperscaled. An additional 3-5 companies will be selected for pre-acceleration mentoring and support.

Programming

Throughout the program, companies participate in various workshops and events.

Mentorship

Each company is paired with at least one dedicated corporate mentor who drives internal evangelism during the program and is tasked with helping to build the business case.

Commitment

Companies should have at least one full-time employee and expect to dedicate 2 – 4 hours per week to the program.

Ownership

Startups stay fully in control; DEIC does not take an equity position or maintain any IP ownership stake.

Hyperscaled Pre-Accelerator

As part of the EPIC prize, DEIC will take 3-5 companies that are TRL 5 or lower for “pre-Accelerator” education and mentorship as part of the cohort. The goal of the Pre-Accelerator is to prepare companies for involvement in future Hyperscaled cohorts and/or for future commercialization opportunities.

Related News

Dominion Energy Innovation Center Announces 2022 Cohort of DEIC Accelerate Companies

The Dominion Energy Innovation Center (“DEIC”) announced today the seven climate tech focused startups that will make up the 2022 DEIC Accelerate cohort starting in early June. Companies accepted into the accelerator will spend four months receiving mentorship and developing pilot opportunities with DEIC’s partner network, led by Dominion Energy.

DEADLINE EXTENDED!

DEIC Accelerate and Hyperscaled applications are now accepted until May 22, 2024