As one of Florida’s largest capital investors, and the nation’s largest energy company in terms of retail electricity produced and sold, Florida Power & Light (FPL) has made more than a $90 billion impact on the state’s economy. Inspired by its own founding, which started as an unlikely collaboration of enterprises including an ice plant, sponge fishing boat and 35 mules, FPL recognizes the importance of partnerships across industry lines and the need for small Florida startups to access the wealth of resources a large company like itself has to offer. To that end, with hopes to ultimately further our state’s economic development efforts, FPL founded the 35 Mules Innovation Hub.
Selecting in its inaugural year six organizations dedicated to improving energy and energy-adjacent initiatives, these startups have earned more than $8 million in investments and continue to grow, giving back to the Florida economy and pushing forward sustainable energy goals.
A recent session at Synapse Summit 2021 provided an inside look at these innovative companies.
Purivy is a revolutionary, on-the-go sanitation technology purposed to help keep people safe amid COVID-19 and beyond. Using UVC light, the technology can sanitize common, high-touch items such as masks in under 3 minutes – a feat that is more efficient than other industry competition, according to Altrese Hawkins, one of the company’s co-founders. Thanks to the 35 Mules program, Purivy has brought their team together as one, cohesive unit as they met with industry subject-matter experts throughout FPL’s network to build out the company.
The founders of Sustainabase created a way to organize messy energy data from different sources – including water, waste, transportation and more – into a formulated, easy-to-use database that can help organizations keep track of their energy usage and monitor their carbon reduction energy goals. Partnering with the 35 Mules program, Sustainabase has had the opportunity to meet with organizations and stakeholders, both within FPL and across their network, to participate in key conversations to move the business forward.
What if the ocean could power the entire world? That idea may not be too far off thanks to the work of Neptunya’s co-founder and CEO Rodrigo Griesi. Already completing the feasibility study, the company is moving forward to produce working prototypes of the system needed to convert the ocean’s power into a renewable, dependable energy source. Connecting with FPL’s network through the 35 Mules program, Griesi has been able to establish relationships with those in charge of the energy regulation process and other key players in the industry that are essential to the company’s success.
Technology created by Switched Source lets distribution operators manage power flow on the grid more efficiently, allowing faster responses to situations that may require utilities to quickly switch from one power source to another, such as storm power outages. Over the next year, Switched Source president Charles Murray will continue working with the Department of Energy and the company’s partner utilities to deploy the first product units into the field. Partnering with 35 Mules, the company has had access to mentorship programs, regulatory and distribution resources at FPL, and brand awareness opportunities – all of which will allow Switched Source to take its business to the next level.
Across the region – and beyond – there are scientists, technology experts and other brilliant thinkers facilitating boundary-breaking discoveries that will change the world. Synergy Research Labs is joining these forward-thinking scientists and engineers into a unifying force to address increasing greenhouse emissions. Utilizing Gallium Oxide to create semiconductors, this collaboration will work to create the first domestic supply chain of this inorganic compound to produce these next-level renewable energy semiconductors.
Hygge Power has created an affordable in-home battery that allows consumers to monitor their energy usage, utilize more renewable energy and store unused energy for emergencies. The system allows for uninterrupted power usage and consumer cost savings, all while giving the user total control of the product through the smartphone app. Through its collaboration with 35 Mules, the Hygge Power team put the product through the paces, learning how the product could integrate with utility systems.