Inna Braverman almost perished as an infant following the Chernobyl disaster. These days, she leads Eco Wave Power and spreads awareness about clean energy.
Eco Wave Power’s technology converts the movement of waves into energy that can produce power. The clean energy company started out in 2011, led by its then 24-year-old founder Inna Braverman.
Recently, Braverman was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by medium.com, alongside household names such as Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk.
Under her leadership, Eco Wave Power installed the first grid-connected wave energy array in Gibraltar. It is currently in the process of doing the same in Israel, with co-investment from the Israeli energy ministry.
Founded in Israel and now headquartered in Sweden, Eco Wave Power is an international company. Originally from Ukraine, Braverman wants to help countries and governments embrace the power of waves in a literal sense.
Clean energy generation is something that is very personal to her. Two weeks after she was born in Ukraine, the Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded and she was one of the many babies that suffered the devastating health consequences.
‘My first chance in life was taken away by a not very safe way of producing electricity, so my second chance in life is all dedicated to the development of an innovative and highly impactful renewable energy source’
She was clinically dead briefly, but the quick reactions of her mother, who was a nurse and able to give the young Braverman mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, saved her life.
“Because this happened when I was a baby, I don’t really remember the incident,” she recalls.
“However, as I was growing up, I remember my family constantly talking about it during family gatherings and events, saying how special it is that I got a second chance in life.”
Strong feeling of purpose
“So, hearing that all the time, I grew up with a strong feeling of purpose; like I got a second chance in life, and I should be doing something good with it.
“I truly believe that Eco Wave Power is a great life mission, as I feel that my first chance in life was taken away by a not very safe way of producing electricity, so my second chance in life is all dedicated to the development of an innovative and highly impactful renewable energy source.”
The sense of purpose Braverman grew up with undoubtedly spurred her to be who she is today, a very successful businesswoman.
She explains that she was also quite critical of herself and her professional decisions because of her desire to give her ‘second chance’ in life meaning.
“When I was first starting, I wish I was less critical towards the mistakes that I have made along the way. Nowadays, I understand that such mistakes are very valuable lessons,” she tells SiliconRepublic.com.
“I would not want to do anything differently, because I think that every path taken is unique and it led me to where I am today.”
The clean-tech industry is a challenging place to operate in, and this is something Braverman knows all too well.
‘I would like to see wave energy devices integrated by law into the planning of marine structures’
She says that the renewable energy sector has “come a long way in recent years”. She warns that if governments are to achieve their “lofty climate goals” of reaching carbon neutrality, they will have to embrace things like wave energy.
Governments playing catch-up to wave energy innovation
Currently, there is a lack of regulatory framework and a lack of debt financing. Both are problems that need to be overcome to help the industry succeed, she believes.
On the regulatory issue, she points out that wave energy is only a relatively new energy sector, meaning it is only just beginning its commercialisation.
Frustratingly for the likes of Braverman, she has to watch governments play catch up, as she describes it, when it comes to creating the regulations needed to speed up the construction of power stations.
While there is a lot of innovation happening in the wave energy sector, Braverman says it suffers in the same way that wind and solar did a few decades ago in that banks are less willing to back it because it is so new.
As a result, she says that most wave energy projects are built with equity financing (the most expensive kind) or with grants (not always available when needed). This is something that makes it harder for the sector to reach a proper commercial roll-out.
Like most businesspeople, Braverman is looking ahead, despite her extraordinary past. “In the near future, I would like to see legislation to support the installation, uptake and use of wave energy, and for governments to set wave energy goals.”
“I would like to see wave energy devices integrated by law into the planning of marine structures. And I would Eco Wave Power’s technology installed on every suitable marine structure in the world.”
10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.