S02 EP10: Thomas Alisi, Founder of Energy Open Piazza

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Show Notes

My guest in this episode is Thomas Alisi, Founder of Energy Open Piazza, a platform to help transition built environments to sustainable energy.

In our conversation we discussed:

  • Thomas Alisi has an entrepreneurial mindset and is a software engineer by trade, he’s currently working on the Energy Open Piazza consortium with Unit 9’s enterprise technology division. The consortium won the Power Forward Challenge in February 2020 which secured public funding 
  • Energy Open Piazza is an algorithmic software that enables data driven decisions for energy usage with a focus on the increasingly electrified world and ensuring investments made in new electrified technologies are aligned with performance expectations.
  • In 2020, the consortium started with discovery, then transitioned to prototyping with companies, and is now working on an actionable prototype
  • Currently assembling prototypes into one single platform to get this ready for use and execution in order to assist users in making energy predictions based on costs and energy options 
  • In Q4 20 and Q1 21, the team is building a business plan that will translate the project into a commercial company 
  • Importance of working with partners that are using the prototype in order to understand and validate options with stakeholders in order to find the most valuable solution
  • Thomas’s personal motivation to focus on energy through learning about Elon Musk’s First Principles, which urges people to think at a very high level about what we do, how we do it, and determine if it can be optimized in regards to everything we do 
    • Ex: Elon Musk researched rockets and realized that the cost of bringing rockets to space is Billions of $s but the materials cost is Millions of $s, so he asked himself what is the problem of going from Millions to Billions and is it possible to optimize 
  • Thomas’s background of optimizing processes and how he started thinking about optimization within energy which led to his journey of better understanding the energy sector and areas of opportunity 
  • Thomas’s previous experience with supporting PhD students with public funding and how that assisted him through the Power Forward Challenge process 
  • The importance of partnerships and ability to show value when asking for public funding and grants
  • Energy Open Piazza’s current partnerships with Skanska and Ernst & Young 
  • Discussion that companies have aggressive carbon reduction goals that are difficult to accurately understand — part of the Energy Open Piazza mission is understanding what is feasible in order to support companies with making decisions that make financial sense 
  • Understanding how both energy and data works is very valuable

Resources

Here are the direct links to resources mentioned in the episode:

Video Version

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