ACCIONA today announced the challenges for which it is seeking solutions and technology partners through the https://www.imnovation.com platform in business areas where the company sees growth potential linked to digital transformation and fight against climate change. Companies have until the last week of October to present their applications. In this edition, ACCIONA will select startups to address 16 challenges posed by all its business units, to be developed mainly in Spain and Chile.
The company wanted to focus particularly on the mining industry, which is one of Chile's main economic drivers, to help make this sector more sustainable. The challenges, defined in cooperation with one of Chile's leading mining companies, include monitoring mine workers' health and safety, predictive maintenance solutions and digitalization of critical mining processes.
The energy transition is another priority goal. ACCIONA has defined a number of challenges to address new approaches to generating, storing and consuming renewable energy, improve the sustainability of cities, and manage new players in distributed power generation. Micro networks and virtual power plants, the electric vehicle as another component of the ecosystem, a second life for batteries, and network management and stability services are some of the areas of opportunity to be explored in conjunction with the ACCIONA business units.
In parallel, within the area of sustainable mobility solutions to combat growing congestion and pollution in cities, ACCIONA invites startups to contribute to improving last-mile distribution in an urban setting.
Additionally, advanced operation and maintenance in ACCIONA's various activities not only pursue an improvement in operational efficiency but also seek to make them more sustainable and safer. The company wants to develop systems for real-time monitoring and management of equipment that helps improve occupational safety, as well as productivity in infrastructure works and airport facilities. This edition also includes a challenge related to the digital transformation of the operation and maintenance of solar thermal plants. In the area of preventive maintenance, the Water division is seeking partners to detect material fatigue in complex structures.
Another line of innovation that ACCIONA is pursuing is related to personalisation of services, which will enable it to improve the range of services to users of cultural facilities and student dorms through experiences and adaptive buildings.
ACCIONA will select the best proposals for funding in the first week of December. Participating companies will have the opportunity to work on developing pilot projects with ACCIONA for about three months in order to examine their solutions' viability on a real scale. Once this period is over, the heads of ACCIONA's business units will consider signing commercial or strategic agreements with the startups at local or international level.
The company held the first edition of its I'MNOVATION Startups open innovation programme in Spain in 2017. Since then, more than 300 startups around the world have presented technology solutions in response to the challenges set by the company through its business units (Construction, Energy, Service, Water, Industrial and Corporate). Two out of three companies that have developed pilot projects jointly with ACCIONA teams in the last two rounds have signed commercial agreements to continue working with the company.
In 2018, the ACCIONA open innovation programme was recognized by the European Commission as one of the most innovative corporate programmes in the “Open Innovation Innovative Approach Awards”. This award recognised the I'MNOVATION Startups programme as one of the most innovative approaches to establishing collaboration agreements with startups in Europe.
ACCIONA's continued commitment to innovation, with an innovation intensity ratio of 3% of revenues in 2018, has positioned the company in recent years among the top 150 companies in Europe in terms of spending on R&D and innovation, according to the 2018 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard.