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Investing in the energy of the future

Innovation 30 April, 2012

* Author: Diego Díaz Pilas *

At a time when we wake every morning to negative economic news, the opportunity to work with people who devote their time and effort to launching and consolidating new companies is certainly a privilege.

As technical manager of the Iberdrola venture capital programme, Perseo, I come into contact with the most innovative technologies for the electricity business of the future and, more importantly, I work shoulder to shoulder with the people who will make them possible.

Through Perseo, Iberdrola supports new business ideas related to the energy of the future. This support is not limited to investment in companies. At Perseo, we also seek to boost new businesses by making available to them the resources and knowledge of Iberdrola’s workforce.

This initiative goes hand-in-hand with our model of innovation: in a company whose main product is the kilowatt, most of our activities in this field are aimed at improving business processes in order to produce kilowatts more efficiently. In addition to improving efficiencies in current business, Perseo also invests in technologies that will enable Iberdrola and society as a whole to develop the energy of the future.

While entrepreneurship may now be in fashion and there is often talk of incentivising the activity of entrepreneurs, at Iberdrola we launched our venture capital programme more than four years ago, in early 2008. Through Perseo, we have invested some €23 million in innovative start-ups that are developing systems for tidal energies, solar energy, the reuse of CO2 and bio fuels.

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Many of these advances may seem, even today, to lie in the realm of science fiction. However, they represent real improvements that, little by little, are yielding technologies that will lead to the creation of new businesses and wealth for society.

For example, we are helping to develop a technology that will harness the energy of the sea, of its waves and currents. Hammerfest Strom is a company that is developing a tidal power array (tidal turbines) to be installed on the seabed and Oceantec Energías Marinas is working on new ways of capturing the energy of waves.

In the solar field, Morgan Solar is working on a technology to more efficiently concentrate solar light on photovoltaic cells.

In its effort to find new uses for CO2 released by electrical power plants and thus fight against climate change, AlgaEnergy is promoting new products based on microalgae and working to make microalgae-based bio energy a reality. In the same field, WESTEC Environmental Solutions (WES) is developing a new technology to make the processes of separating gases from different industries more efficient and environmentally friendly.

This is barely a snapshot of a dynamic programme we are working on every day to find new perspectives. Therefore, we continue to actively seek out new business projects to support. We recently held the 2nd Edition of the Perseo Awards, which was focused on innovative technologies in energy efficiency and biomass.

In addition to participating in these Awards, if you have an idea related to the energy of the future which needs support, you can send it to We promise to analyse it in detail!

Author: Diego Días pilas
Bio: Since 2008, I have been working in Iberdrola’s Innovation department as the head of disruptive technological initiatives. My responsibilities include the technical co-ordination of our venture capital programme for investing in the energy technologies of the future. In the past, I have worked both in Spain (Telefónica R+D) and outside Spain (Eircom in Ireland), always in positions related to innovation and technological development. I am a telecommunications engineer with a degree from the Universidad Politécnica of Madrid and I have a post-graduate degree in venture capital from the University of Berkeley.


  1. Toby Wollin

    I don’t know if you are aware of this but Iberdrola, through it’s IberdrolaUSA Foundation, has just given a sizeable grant to the engineering school at Binghamton University for senior thesis energy projects.

    30 April, 2012 a 11:48

  2. Frank

    I’ve recently heard about “duckweed’s” potential as a bio fuel. Is that being considered?

    30 April, 2012 a 13:51

  3. lee smeaton

    … so if I have an idea / concept for a water based generator with no moving parts who do I speak to?

    11 June, 2012 a 8:50

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