Oklo’s Caroline Cochran and Swell’s Sulemon Kahn talk scaling alternative energy at TC Sessions: Climate – TechCrunch


Stopping the dire pace and consequences of climate change requires a diverse range of climate technologies across multiple fronts, and alternative energies play an essential role. However, changing the way the world generates and consumes energy is just one of many formidable challenges. Scaling alternative energy solutions and achieving profitability are two more, especially important for venture-backed companies.

We want to explore the complexities of those challenges, which is why we’re excited to announce that Caroline Cochran, co-founder and COO of Oklo, and Suleman Khan, CEO at Swell Energy will join us in person and on stage at TC Sessions: Climate 2022 (presented by Extreme Tech Challenge) on June 14 in Berkeley, California.

The two startups focus on very different alternative energies. Oklo builds micro-nuclear reactors designed to power college campuses, industrial sites, large companies and remote locations. In an industry-changing twist, Oklo’s tiny reactors run on nuclear waste. Two years ago, the Idaho National Laboratory gave Oklo access to recovered spent nuclear fuel to develop the startup’s advanced fission technology. The company aims to have several micro-reactors operational by 2025.

Swell Energy, a renewable energy and advanced grid services company, specializes in smart home energy systems (e.g. battery-based energy storage) and virtual power plants. Last year, it partnered with Nuvve, a global cleantech company, to offer residential customers comprehensive home energy systems by combining battery storage, solar and smart EV charging.

During this panel discussion, we’ll ask Cochran and Kahn for their respecitve takes on the remaining challenges to scaling alternative energy solutions and building healthy businesses amid growing complexities. Given that individual consumers and private enterprises have different clean-sourcing demands, we’ll dig into whether the energy market is or isn’t changing fast enough to meet those varied needs and expectations.

We’ll start from there and see where the conversation leads. No matter which direction it takes, the highly qualified Cochran and Kahn will deliver crucial perspectives on the booming alternative energy industry

Caroline Cochran, founder and COO of Oklo, leads the team working on building advanced micro-nuclear reactors that use nuclear waste as fuel. Her career experience includes engineering, entrepreneurship, research, economics, policy, sales and marketing. 

Cochran has worked on technologies ranging from solar vehicles and advanced fission to oil and natural gas. She earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and a bachelor’s of science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Oklahoma and a master’s degree in nuclear engineering from MIT.

Suleman Khan, the CEO of Swell Energy, directs the company’s customer acquisition, project development, project finance and grid services efforts. In the decade prior to launching Swell, Kahn worked at the intersection of renewable energy and structured finance, productizing solar and energy storage for the residential and commercial markets.

Kahn was also instrumental in establishing new energy divisions within various companies — including Tesla, where he helped build what would later become Tesla Energy. His earlier career includes a stint at Citigroup where he worked on the structured credit products desk, as well as within Citigroup’s investment banking mergers and acquisitions division and at Prudential’s alternative investments group. 

Don’t miss an in depth conversation with Oklo’s Caroline Cochran and Swell Energy’s Suleman Khan about the promise of alternative energy solutions and the challenges that remain to scaling them for mass use and profitability.

TC Sessions: Climate 2022 is all about the growing wave of startups, technologies, scientists and engineers dedicated to saving our planet and, of course, the investors who finance them. Join us in-person on June 14 at UC Berkley’s Zellerbach Auditorium. Register now and save $200.

 



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