Under the EIC Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Programme, beneficiaries work together to co-create new green solutions with business partners to address sustainability challenges. Following an EIC GHG co-creation event with Galp, we had the opportunity to meet with Joana Larsen (Open Innovation), Eurico Correia (Innovation for Renewables) and Pedro Ferreira (Downstream Innovation Centre).
Can you briefly describe your role at Galp and explain your motivations for joining the EIC GHG initiative?
Joana Larsen: I’m Joana Larsen, part of the Open Innovation team at Galp. We, as Galp Upcoming Energies, are the open innovation platform from Galp. Our main goal is to find and attract the brightest minds from all over the world to help us shape the future of the company. We mainly target startups and academia, but are truly open to working with anyone if we see a fit.
Eurico Correia: I’m Eurico Correia and I work at Innovation for the Renewables area, where we find and test Innovation streams and scale them to the Business Unit once they are technologically ready and attractive business-wise.
Pedro Ferreira: I’m Pedro Ferreira, and I work in the Downstream Innovation Centre, in charge of helping the Commercial Business Unit in identifying and testing new solutions before market deployment, focusing on three main pillars: Convenience, Energy, and Mobility.
The EIC GHG Programme is all about reducing GHG emissions and moving towards a carbon-neutral future. What is Galp doing in this regard?
Joana Larsen: At Galp, we have a motto: “Regenerate the future, together”. Galp is an integrated energy company that has been shifting its business and has set ambitious decarbonisation goals. By the end of the decade, we commit to reducing the CO2 intensity of our operations by 40%.
We are reshaping our energy portfolio and intend to lead our industry by allocating half of our capital investment to new, low-carbon, energy solutions. A few examples of this are how we became one of the main solar players in Iberia, or the ambitious green Hydrogen production plans we have set for our Sines Refinery, which we are turning into a Green Energy Park. We are also betting on strategic partnerships, such as the Joint Venture Aurora, with Northvolt, to build an advanced lithium conversion unit.
Unlike other flagship Business Acceleration Services, this initiative is focused on co-creation as opposed to single rounds of pitching. What does co-creation mean for Galp/yourself and what are the benefits compared to a “normal” pitching session?
Joana Larsen: To reach net zero by 2050, a lot must change at Galp. Only through innovation will we re-invent the energy sector and accelerate the energy transition. At Galp, we know we cannot walk this path alone. We are aware that such technologies and new solutions will most likely not be developed in-house. This means the only way for us to truly transform our business is to look outside. We see this as a process of constant co-creation and collaboration.
Thus, participating in the EIC GHG programme has allowed us to work closely with entrepreneurs on solutions that can best fit the market. We consider that this programme has given us the chance of a sense of shared ownership with the EIC beneficiaries. Usually, you only start to get this feeling at later stages in acceleration programs, especially during incubation. However, since this program focuses on co-creation, the dialogue between the corporate and the participants opens a meaningful communication channel right from the start. It truly feels like actual teamwork.
What mindset and skills do you look for in companies (startups and scale-ups) for co-creation activities?
Joana Larsen: We are looking for solutions that can support our business pillars and help them change through innovation. We mostly focus on energy transition and digitalisation. Our business pillars are:
Industrial and Energy Management
Commercial (Retail and Electric Mobility)
Renewables and New Businesses
In general, we want to find experts on specific matters who have developed solutions that fit Galp’s needs. This can be startups, academia, R&D institutes, peers, large tech companies, suppliers, clients, etc. Maturity-wise, it depends on each case, but we are free to speak to anyone who might be interested in collaborating with us. In addition, I must mention our Corporate Venture Capital team, which not only invests in funds but also makes direct investments in innovative companies.
What are the benefits/advantages of working with the EIC and its portfolio of SMEs?
Eurico Correia: The EIC allows us to amplify our ability to expose Galp and its needs and focus areas of improvement and innovation and get access to possible solution providers and partners to co-develop business-driven innovation initiatives. Being at such a forum allows us to be closer to innovation eco-system stakeholders, particularly, startups, and explore opportunities that benefit both parties through the complementary nature.
Pedro Ferreira: The EIC gives us access to international SMEs which, in some cases, would be difficult for us to reach. Then, the methodology and the preparation work done with the SME save us lots of time and increase the quality of the interactions that we have with the SMEs.
What are your views on the online co-creation event and the quality of the companies pitching?
Eurico Correia: It was well-organised, and startups provided interesting solutions. Innovation is a process, and most of the time there’s not a 100% fit into the company’s needs, and adaptation, development, or even re-design is necessary. However, this comes after the pitching session which should be more standardised, so that startups are aligned in terms of quality of communication.
Pedro Ferreira: I think the general quality of the companies is good, with different levels of maturity in terms of market experiences, which is always a good contrast to have – for some use cases it is interesting to have a well-implemented solution that allows us to reduce the time-to-market, but in other cases, it is good to have some flexibility to define the market entry with them. Also, the online event was very well-moderated; nothing to point out here.
To conclude, what would make this EIC GHG Co-creation initiative a success for Galp and what are you hoping to get out of it?
Eurico Correia: A successful co-creation initiative would be if Galp can choose a partner to co-develop a pilot tool aligned with the challenge that could bring added value and improve our performance.
Pedro Ferreira: Having the possibility to co-create a new product or service with one of the beneficiaries would be our main objective, but even so, if that’s not possible, the possibility of introducing Galp to this wider audience is also a factor of success.
About the EIC Business Acceleration Services
This opportunity is brought to you by the EIC Business Acceleration Services. To explore other opportunities to connect with the largest corporates in Europe, keep an eye on our events page.
EIC GHG Summit
The EIC will host its second Summit on 7-8 December 2022 in Brussels, Belgium. Hosted at the EIC Summit is the GHG programme where you can come, meet and network with fellow GHGers!
About the EIC GHG programme
In addition, co-creation activities with corporates, industrial associations, regions in carbon transition and other EIC beneficiaries are planned. More information on the EIC GHG programme can be found here.