Black & Veatch Seeks Sustainable Innovators


Engineering and construction company Black & Veatch (Overland Park, Kansas) recently accepted applications for “bold, committed partners” in climate technology for its third annual IgniteX Challenge.

The IgniteX Climate Tech Accelerator program is a 12-week virtual program with Black & Veatch to partner with start-ups offering new scalable solutions for critical human infrastructure. Partners receive mentorship, networking, product testing, pitch development, investor introductions and up to $50,000 in funding.

“As the world approaches the point of no return on climate change, the need for inventive decarbonization solutions is greater than ever,” said Ryan Plekta, Vice President of Innovation & Strategy at Black & Veatch. “At Black & Veatch, we are committed to bolstering climate innovations that will make a difference at this pivotal moment.

“As we share our company’s vast resources and intellectual capital with innovators at the forefront of climate technology, we are proud to be a part of the progress to net zero.”

According to Black & Veatch, over the past two years they have contributed $1 million in investments and grants through the program, received over 400 applications to IgniteX and have partnered with 25 other start-up companies.

“At Black & Veatch, we foster a company culture that cherishes and uplifts new ideas and innovations. With our IgniteX challenges, we are able to extend that attitude outside the company, ensuring entrepreneurs seeking to change the world have the support and resources to do so,” said Steffanie Edwards-Hafele, Principal Consultant with Black & Veatch and co-lead of this year’s program.

In 2019 and 2020, the program focused on cleantech and pandemic response solutions respectively. This year’s program is looking for innovations in:

  • Hydrogen/ammonia;
  • Alternative fuels;
  • Carbon capture, utilization and storage;
  • Consulting, road mapping and accounting;
  • Fugitive methane emissions;
  • Renewables/storage/electric vehicles;
  • Carbon-neutral construction materials;
  • Mitigation/adaptation; and
  • Circular economy.

The application deadline was Nov. 10. Participants are expected to be announced in January.

Recent Renewable Energy Work

Last November, in an effort to aid the global power industry’s transition to lower carbon emissions, and in some cases zero-carbon energy goals, Black & Veatch announced that it would be ceasing participation in any further coal-based power design and construction.

“The transition away from any coal-related activity is about our commitment as a company to sustainability and accelerating our efforts to lead the emerging carbon-free energy future,” said Steve Edwards, CEO of Black & Veatch, at the time.

The announcement arrived after a decade of increasing the company’s focus on advancing renewable energy and energy storage technologies, as well as furthering the deployment of hydrogen as a carbon-free fuel and advanced technologies for carbon capture.

Black & Veatch also reported that it was investing in grid modernization solutions to accommodate a more diverse power generation landscape of base load and intermittent sources.

Black & Veatch reported that it would still continue to fulfill its current project commitments, which were slated to reach completion in the coming months, but also planned to support its clients through their own transitions and decarbonization and sustainability goals to a balanced energy portfolio with cleaner energy sources.

The decision to cease participation in coal-based power design and construction was slated to allow the company’s workforce to accelerate solution development for transforming the industry and minimizing the impact of coal power assets to the environment.

A full plan regarding Black & Veatch’s pursuit of a lower-carbon footprint and renewable energy integration can be viewed in its 2020 Strategic Directions: Electric Report.


Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Environmental Controls; Environmentally friendly; Funding; Grants; Green Infrastructure; Latin America; North America; Partnerships; Program/Project Management; Research and development; Technology; Z-Continents

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