Eighteen04: Clean-tech start-up kick-starts start-ups

By Natalie Kikken

25 May 2016

4 minute read

Some of the coolest clean-tech around: our heliostat mirrors love basking in the sunshine at our Energy Centre

Some of the coolest clean-tech around: our heliostat mirrors love basking in the sunshine at our Energy Centre.

Yep, you read it right. We aren’t trying to confuse you with a tongue twister: we’re hosting Eighteen04, a start-up organisation that fosters other clean technology start-ups!

Since mid-2015 they’ve been sharing our workspace at our Energy Centre in Newcastle, and we think what they are doing is pretty awesome.

Here, they have access to some of our brightest minds working in renewable energy research. In return, we get to mingle with some of the sharpest, most gung-ho start-ups in the country and plug into new developments and what’s happening in the clean-tech energy and smart cities space.

So, why are we sharing our space? Well, this is how ideas, innovation and breakthroughs can happen – and that’s what we are all about. Our Energy Centre is where much of our cutting-edge research in renewable energy happens. It is home to our two concentrating solar thermal research fields (which is 600 heliostats shining in the sun, and two big towers), a solar photovoltaic testing facility, as well as our renewable energy storage and integration facilities that assesses energy data and demands on the grid. As Eighteen04 is focused on promoting clean-tech and strengthening this regional city as the hub for clean technology, we are bursting with sunbeams to be part of the journey to support them gather momentum for a successful business future.

Andrew Mears from SwitchDin is a bright spark working out of the Eighteen04 office.

Andrew Mears from SwitchDin is a bright spark working out of the Eighteen04 office.

One of Eighteen04’s success stories is SwitchDin, a start-up that uses a cloud-based platform for solar energy and battery solutions to improve access to reliable electricity. We like reliable electricity and do stuff like investigating demand management and how to integrate different energy sources to make sure Australia is working towards a stable energy future. And we like talking to people too, to find out what sort of groovy technology developments are happening that might just change the world.

This is where Eighteen04’s Innovators Lunch, supported by us, comes in – a monthly chin-wag that brings together businesses and like-minded individuals to chew the fat about all things green-tech.

‘But it’s just a lunch,’ we hear you say. It’s bigger than that: it’s a conversation where real ideas come to life, clean-tech knowledge is shared and celebrated, relationships are established and strengthened, and local businesses can access our important work. It is also a platform to drive cutting-edge innovation. If you happen to be in Newcastle on the third Friday of the month, please drop in and say hi. The next one is happening on 17 June.

Innovators lunch

Chewing the fat over lunch – in this case, clean tech business ideas and discoveries.

Eighteen04 currently provides desk space for 10 start-up organisations and began as a start-up itself. James Giblin, Eighteen04’s Executive Director, who has a background as an energy consultant, said, “It’s great to be able to access leading energy researchers who share the same goal as us – a clean-technology energy future that will have a real impact for Australians. We don’t have to shy away about being creative and bold thinkers. At CSIRO, it is celebrated.”

We are proud as punch that Eighteen04 is looking to expand by securing a second office space offsite with 100 desks to foster bigger and better ideas around clean technology and smart cities. Who knows, the next successful start-up organisation might be just around the corner to change the entire energy landscape for the better.

If you are a clean-tech start-up, find out how you can be part of Eighteen04. And if you’d like to find out more about our energy research, check out our website.