node.energy is the Startup of the Week 38: Optimal planning & management of decentralized energy concepts


Energy & Environment, Energy Efficiency and Environment

The hardware for the energy system transformation is available. There is a wide range of technical solutions. Only constantly changing laws, rules and regulations complicate the market penetration of decentralized energy concepts. To ensure that renewable energy solutions pay off even without public funding, our startup of the week has developed software and services for decentralised energy concepts. They not only simplify the planning and management of decentralized energy systems, but also offer a new business model for energy suppliers and service providers. Matthias Karger, CEO of node.energy GmbH, tells us in an interview how the software can turn them into digital full-service providers for decentralized energy solutions and how they can benefit from this.

Hello Matthias. Thank you for giving us some insights into your startup node.energy today. Can you briefly summarize in one sentence what your mission is about?

Sure. We offer a software solution with which energy suppliers (EVUs) can use the increasing own energy generation of commercial customers for their own business opportunities.

Sounds interesting. Can you tell us a bit more about it?

We have developed a special software and service solution, which enables EVUs to quickly and cost-effectively position themselves as digital full-service providers for their commercial customers. With the help of the Software-as-a-Service solution opti.node, EVUs can recommend the ideal mix of their own generation and grid connection to their commercial customers in just a few minutes based on a few, mostly known customer data. Through this proactive approach, the EVU positions itself as the first point of contact for the planning and implementation of the suggested solutions and services. Through the subsequent digital management of the energy concepts, as well as through the supply of the rest of the electricity and surplus marketing, permanent and profitable customer relationships can be established. opti.node can take into account a large number of generators and consumers, as well as storage and e-mobility infrastructure. All regulatory interactions, such as allocations and taxes, are included in the optimization of energy costs. In this way, energy supply companies can guarantee their customers the lowest possible energy costs.

So you generate value for energy supply companies and energy service providers by offering them a software solution based on decentralised self-power concepts what generates new revenues. What are the revenues do you generate for them?

With our SaaS, even complex decentralized power concepts can be planned and managed in minutes. Thus, EVUs can use the growing self-sufficiency of their industry and tissue customers as their own business opportunity. New sales potential arises from the planning, construction and implementation of own power concepts. In addition, a continuous management fee can be established via opti.node through operational management and the automatic fulfilment of reporting and operator obligations. For example, atypical grid usage, or EEG quantity limitations and notifications, as well as all e-mobility operator obligations are taken into account. The concept is rounded off by the supply of residual electricity and the surplus marketing by the energy supply company. This ideal mix of self-sufficiency and residual electricity supply results in a hybrid product with high customer loyalty.

Your software and service solution offers not only reduced complexity and bureaucracy for customers, but also provides EVUs a revenue model that is tailored to new market requirements. 

How do you generate revenue yourself?

We offer our product as a Software-as-a-Service model for which an annual usage fee is due. In continuous management, this is only due when new revenues are actually generated with customers.

And to whom your solution is adressed in general?

We address the entire value chain of decentralized power generation and automate it as far as possible.

In 2016 your company was founded and you spent some time developing your opti.node software. Since when is your solution available on the market?

Our software has been on the market since the beginning of 2019 and is constantly being further developed on the basis of new customer requirements. Our customers therefore benefit from a constantly growing range of functions.

Many thanks, Matthias, for the exciting insights. Then we keep our fingers crossed for the future and wish you every success. We hope to hear a lot more from you and are looking forward to your further developments. If you would like to learn more about node.energy, please take a look at your Innoloft profile or contact us directly.

Breeze Technologies is the Startup of the Week 35: Sensors for air quality


Energy & Environment, Energy Efficiency and Environment, IT & ICT

In recent months we have seen the positive effects of the lockdown on our environment. The smog has disappeared and the air was clear again in many places. However, many cities only measure their air quality selectively, leaving large gaps in the data. This is set to change now. We spoke with Robert Heinecke about his startup Breeze Technologies for this mission.

Hello, Robert. Thanks for answering our questions today. Let’s get right to it: what does Breeze Technologies do?

Breeze Technologies provides comprehensive air quality and climate data, generates recommendations for action and thus helps cities and companies to create a more liveable environment.

That sounds very exciting! Could you explain to us exactly how this works?

Gladly! We develop small and cost-effective air quality sensors that detect all common air pollutants in real time. They collect the data thus obtained in a central cloud. In addition, we also integrate other data sources, such as satellite data, in order to obtain the most accurate picture possible of the air quality in our cities. An artificial intelligence system developed by us evaluates this data in real time. It  provides optimal recommendations for action to improve local air quality. These are fed from a catalog of over 3,500 individual measures and range from photocatalytic asphalt in road construction to traffic control based on air quality data, such as that being tested in the city of Cologne as gatekeeper traffic lights.

By using artificial intelligence, your system gives new recommendations depending on the situation, right?

Right. Our system also measures the impact of the measures implemented, which enables us to make even better recommendations in the future. We also provide a similar service for building managers, whom we help to measure and optimise air quality in office environments. You can use our system both indoors and outdoors.

How did you build your business model?

We rent our sensors to companies and cities and charge an annual rental and maintenance fee. In addition to the measures recommended by us for improving air quality, service providers and manufacturers are acquired as partners who pay a commission fee for sales generated through us.

Do you keep your target group quite general?

Yes, we mainly address HSE and facility managers in larger companies and the municipal administration. The industry in which the company is active is not important for the time being.

Two years ago you won the Hamburg Founder’s Prize and you have already started exciting projects. Can you give us a little insight into that?

Sure. We have already achieved many successes with renowned pilot customers such as Deutsche Telekom and Smart City projects in Hamburg and Berlin. We also make some of the data we collect available to the public via a citizens’ platform. Our company has also been named one of the most promising European start-ups in numerous national and international competitions. These include, for example, the Hamburg Founder’s Prize, which you have just mentioned, the EU Top 50, an award from the German President and inclusion in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for social entrepreneurs.

Robert, thank you very much for this exciting interview! We wish you continued success.
If you would like to learn more about Breeze Technologies, please visit their Innoloft profile to find out more about their products and requests.

Nuventura is the Startup of the Week 30: the next generation of gas insulated switchgear


Energy & Environment, Energy Efficiency and Environment

The term CO2 is probably most present one in discussions and reports on greenhouse gases. Less frequently, compounds such as methane or nitrous oxide fall. However, only those who are more intensively involved with the subject have come across the family of fluorinated greenhouse gases. Unlike the classic greenhouse gases, the so-called F-gases are not released as unwanted by-products (e.g. during the combustion of fossil raw materials). However, the industry produces them specifically e.g. for a gas insulated switchgear. According to the Umwelt Bundesamt, their effect on the ozone layer is up to 100 to 24.000 times higher than that of carbon dioxide. Our Startup of the Week nuventura rightly sees a need for action there. Therefore tey are developing a technology that works without SF6. CEO Fabian Lemke explains more about the background in the interview.

Hello, Fabian! Thank you so much for taking the time for us! Would you give us a short pitch for the beginning?

Nuventura empowers a safer and more efficient energy grid free from SF6 – the most potent greenhouse gas in existence.

An energy network contains a large number of components. Where does your solution start?

Nuventura has invented a new revolutionary switchgear – essential component of any electricity grid – that is free from greenhouse gases and outperforms the existing industry standard.
Existing gas insulated switchgear (GIS) are based on SF6 – the most potent greenhouse gas humanity knows. It is 23,500 times worse than CO2 in terms of its global warming effect. It is a synthetic gas for which neither a natural sink exists, nor an effective disposal method is at hand. This makes its accumulation in the atmosphere virtually irreversible. On top of this, the gas is extremely long-lived: SF6’s atmospheric lifetime is 3,200 years, which is well beyond CO2‘s 100-200- year lifetime.

The available data shows that every year approx. 8000t of SF6 are emitted into the atmosphere (equivalent of 188,000,000t of CO2). 80% of all the SF6 produced is used inside gas insulated switchgear. Nuventura developed a GIS that instead of SF6 simply uses the air we all breathe, in such a way eliminating the usage of this highly potent greenhouse gas.

That sounds very promising. Are there additional advantages of your switchgear?

The technology does not only have the potential to trigger a greenhouse gas emission reduction equivalent to 100 million cars, but it also significantly improves the performance of the switchgear. It enables, for the first time, integrated type tested sensor system. The technology paves the way for industry 4.0 applications, such as condition monitoring, predictive maintenance or dynamic adjustments of maximum acceptable loads. Its innovative design reduces total cost of ownership due to the enabled benefits and extended lifetime. Furthermore it allows for competitive production and operation by simplifying the manufacturing process and removing the need for gas handling and expensive manufacturing processes common in SF6-based designs.

What is the distribution of your development like?

We license our technology to manufacturers, functioning as an R&D centre for them. We also collaborate with the end users of our technology (DSOs and industry) to ensure that we design the nuventura switchgear according to their needs.

You have just mentioned the industrial sector as a potential market. How big is the total market you are moving in?

In total, our technology addresses a market of € 11.1 Bn that will continue to grow with a 10 % CAGR to become a € 23.1 Bn market by 2024. Our target clients are the global community of switchgear manufacturers.

That’s really great potential. What have you already done to open up this market?

Last year we closed our seed investment round including E.ON, VC Fonds Technologie Berlin managed by IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft mbH, Apex Energy Teterow and existing investors. After the investment, several grants, loans and national and international innovation prizes won, nuventura now has a substantial 7-digit EUR amount at hand to realize its upcoming goals and milestones. Our focus now is to continue certifying our sustainable, patented technology for gas insulated switchgear for commercial application in the medium voltage range and to enter the market for switchgear technologies as a technology licensing company.

Fabian, thank you very much for this exciting interview! We hope to hear a lot from you in the future and support your approach to greenhouse gas reduction.

You want to learn more about nuventura? Nuventura’s Innoloft profile gives you more information about possible cooperation opportunities.

dena and SET launch the SET Network with Innoloft: Innovations, networks and partnerships for energy system transition


Energy & Environment, Energy Efficiency and Environment, Energy Market & Trading, Energy Supply

The topic of energy system transformation is more urgent than ever. Due to our digitized way of life, we now consume about ten times as much electricity as our fellow human beings did about fifty years ago. Time is pressing. But how can we succeed in generating and using energy exclusively clean, affordable and safe?

In Germany, about one third of the electricity comes from renewable energies, i.e. wind power, solar energy or biomass. Emissions of climate-damaging greenhouse gases are being successively reduced and the last three nuclear power plants in Germany are to be shut down by 2022. This is a correct approach, but no panacea.

Innovative energy industry: Start-ups bring new dynamism to the energy transition

To support political approaches and decisions, the energy industry needs a fresh spirit, spontaneity and flexibility. All the better that there are more and more young founders who come up with innovative ideas and solutions. But it is precisely these young founders who need support from investors and experienced companies in order to develop and establish their innovations. Often, this is exactly the point where they fail and good and innovative ideas cannot be pursued further because money and expertise are lacking.

Start Up Energy Transition launches SET Network – with support from Innoloft

This is the focus of the German Energy Agency (dena) and the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi): The Start Up Energy Transition (SET) Global Innovation Platform is intended to offer energy transition start-ups various forms of support, i.e. through the annual SET Award and SET Tech Festival.

Similarly, the Start Up Transition (SET) is established with an international focus as a global forum and with the conviction that a sustainable future is directly linked to innovative business models and political will. The operating organisation here is dena as well – in cooperation with the World Energy Council.

In order not only to continue this promising approach but also to deepen it, on July 1st, the SET Network with an international approach was launched together with Innoloft. This is a network that is aimed equally at start-ups, established companies and interested investors. Start-ups can network with interested companies, investors can compare attractive investment opportunities and established corporates can promote cooperations with young start-ups. In the end, joint innovative product ideas can be developed and brought to market.

Numerous features offer quick and uncomplicated ways to accelerate the networking of the individual players and thus drive forward innovations for the energy transition: With the help of applications, startups can, for example, communicate directly which resources they need for product development or whether investors are being sought. Meanwhile, companies and corporates use the search for startups in the energy sector to pursue their own use cases, and investors are offered an overview of the latest innovations to find promising projects.

Click here for free registration and further information about the SET Network.

Startups of the Month – April 2020


Energy Efficiency and Environment, Energy Storage, IT & ICT

Our four Startups of the Week in April at a glance

In April, the startups Wecreation, IoT connctd, Qarnot and Ice on Battery gave us exciting insights into their solutions and innovations with their Startup of the Week interviews. We have compiled statements about their business models, markets, target groups and solution approaches for you here shortly. You can read the details in the individual interviews. If you want to contact them directly , feel free to use the messenger function in our database. There you can also present yourself with your own profile and get in contact with the startups.

WeCreation – Focus on the human part of digitalization (CW15)

“We empower organizations to actively shape the future through cultural change and future competencies and to use change as an opportunity.” Christian Binninger, Co-Founder Wecreation GmbH

Digitisation is not only being pushed forward technically. Rather, people are directly involved. This is why the start-up company WeCreation focuses on “the human part of digitisation”. Through agile projects, in various workshop formats or through leadership and team coaching, they accompany organisations in their transformation processes from within. This involves developing creativity, learning processes, teamwork and the acquisition of future skills. With their WeAcademy, people can deepen what the’ve been learning in the form of “blended learning”. In the wake of the Corona crisis, WeCreation has launched three new online formats. All organisations can benefit from their service offerings. Since its founding, WeCreation has focused on the energy industry and has worked closely with municipal utilities and utility companies. Its customers include the Haldensleben municipal utilities, the Menden municipal utilities and the Dessau municipal utilities. You can read more details about them and their services in the interview or find out more in their customer requests.

To the Startup of the Week interview CW15

IoT connctd – IoT platform for scalable data-based services (CW16)

“We designed and implemented the open and scalable Service Creation IoT platform to simplify the development of data-based services.” Axel Schüßler, Co-Founder and CEO of IoT connctd

IoT connctd has created a service platform for the use and application of IoT data. This helps customers to develop data-based scalable services. IoT connctd supports the technical implementation, such as data generation and evaluation, as well as agile further processing through simulations, tests, pilots and finally scaling. Their cloud-based IoT service platform maps the individual steps. The Startup addresses its offer to device manufacturers in the form of software. They can use the IoT platform as IoT backend. For service developers there is the GRAPH API, which works like a Google search engine for the Internet of Things. Here, IoT connctd takes care of the decoupling of user data and IoT data. They encrypt all interactions and allow only authenticated access. Hosting is provided in Germany and the EU. IoT connctd has a broad range of services on offer. They are also establishing a data marketplace to organise the targeted exchange of data. Their service offers around the IoT platform can be accessed worldwide. In contrast, they are currently focusing their projects on the European market. Further information, contact details as well as requests for partnership can be found in their requests in our database.

To the Startup of the Week interview CW16

Qarnot Energy – Patented Green IT approach uses waste heat from IT calculations (CW17)

“We use waste heat from IT calculations to heat buildings and water sustainably.” Paul Benoit, Co-Founder and CEO

With the increased use of modern IT technologies in the course of digitalisation, energy consumption is also rising. The provision of computing capacity in data centers is thus accompanied by increased energy requirements. At the same time, data centres generate a high amount of waste heat. Qarnot Energy has developed a solution approach. They make sensible use of the waste heat generated by data centres. This works by making it available to the energy system again through their patented technology. For this purpose, they have developed a computer heater and a digital water boiler. With these, they supply heating-customers with heat and computing-customers with computing power. Connections to the fibre optic network ensure an effective distribution in buildings with IT resources and heat. Their sales activities are focused on the B2B sector. Most customers are located in France. However, Qarnot Energy intends to extend its range of products to the European market, with a particular focus on the UK, the DACH region and Northern Europe. By recovering waste heat as a resource, Qarnot Energy can both reduce energy consumption and contribute to a significantly reduced carbon footprint of computers. Its worldwide patented technology enables an innovative, sustainable and economical Green IT approach that creates a node between IT and buildings. To contact Qarnot Energy directly, you can use our database and its requests.

To the Startup of the Week interview CW17

ICE-ON Battery – storing energy in cold (CW18)

 “We are working on an innovative cold energy storage system. The technology is patented and allows to store excess energy and reduce greenhouse gases.” Dariusz Ziemski, CEO

ICE-ON Battery uses ice as an energy source to store energy in the form of cold. Cold in turn is needed for industrial cooling processes or for air conditioning systems. With ICE-ON Battery, both conventionally produced and renewable energy can be stored in the form of ice. Heat is released when cold is converted into electricity. A combination of these two creates the conditions for an optimized use of energy in an energy multi-system. In combination with photovoltaics or wind, the efficiency of renewable energy can be increased and at the same time the energy efficiency of cooling and heating systems can be improved. This brings economic advantages and simultaneously reduces greenhouse gas emissions. ICE-ON offers its cold storage systems to system providers and companies in the renewable energy sector. They also work with industry associations, research institutes and governmental organisations. The first pilot projects are currently being launched in Germany. ICE-ON Batteries offers its customers a comprehensive range of services, including planning and concept studies, installation, maintenance and training. There will also be software solutions for remote control. Have a look at the database to learn more about their cooperation request.

To the Startup of the Week interview CW18

ICE-ON Battery is the Startup of the Week 18: Converting energy into ice


Energy & Environment, Energy Efficiency and Environment, Energy Storage

What if one could use the phase transition from water to ice? For example for energy storage? Our Startup of the Week has developed a product that enables energy storage and energy release with these phase transitions. The idea of ICE-ON Battery is not only innovative, but also good for the environment. In the interview CEO Dariusz Ziemski gave us more information.

Hello, Dariusz! Nice of you to answer our questions today. Why don’t you tell us briefly what the project ICE-ON is all about?

At ICE-ON Battery we are working on an innovative cold energy storage system. The technology has a patent and allows to store excess energy and reduce greenhouse gases.

What technology is behind it?

The ICE-ON cold energy storage system uses the phase transition from water to ice to generate energy. Basically, ice is the energy source in the ICE-ON battery. The energy is released in the form of cold, which is used in air conditioning systems or in industrial cooling processes. The ICE-ON Battery also offers a unique possibility to store electrical energy from conventional and renewable energy sources. During preriods of energy surplus we store this as ice.

The conversion of electrical energy into cold generated large amounts of heat. Depending on the solution, this heat is either lost or actually used. In combination with a remote control program, we enable optimal management and use of the stored energy. This functionality of ICE-ON offers unlimited application possibilities. On the one hand in cooperation with air conditioning and refrigeration systems and on the other hand as part of an energy multi-system.

What other advantages does your cold energy storage system offer?

The use of our cold accumulators allows you to optimise the management of energy consumption (cooling and heating systems). Thanks to the synergy effects with photovoltaic and wind turbines, ICE-ON increases the efficiency of renewable energy sources. Thus, the use of ICE-ON contributes to “peak shaving” and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

What exactly do your customers pay for?

We offer our customers and partners a comprehensive package of services, from feasibility studies and design assistance to monitoring the execution of installation and maintenance. As the manufacturer of the ICE-ON cold storage tanks, we also offer the delivery of the products and the training of the craftsmen. In addition, there is the possibility of obtaining the software solution for the remote control program. This can generate further income on our side.

Since you are manufacturing a cold energy storage system, energy companies are certainly among your customers, right?

That’s right. In general, we are open to a wide range of opportunities for cooperation with companies from the renewable energy sector and with their system providers. But we are also interested in cooperating with industry associations, governmental organizations and research institutes. We operate both nationally and internationally.

Is your product, the ICE-ON cold accumulator, already usable? And what else do you want to achieve this year?

The first pilot projects confirmed the advantages of ICE-ON batteries. We have already initiated a research project at the Fraunhofer Institute. Here tests are being carried out with regard to the technical data. In addition, we analyze the effects of ICE-ON batteries on the German energy industry. Production will then start at the end of this year. We currently prepare and implement the first pilot projects on the German market.

Dariusz, thank you very much for the interesting interview! We wish ICE-ON Batteries only the best during this time and are curious how you will develop further. If anyone wants to know more about the project, they can check out your Innoloft profile and your requests.

Qarnot Computing is the Startup of the Week 17: Computing anywhere


Energy Efficiency and Environment, IT & ICT

For a long time, the topic of digitisation was associated with an environmentally friendly alternative to e.g. printed products. However, the increasing demand for energy was often not taken into account in this context. Little by little, critical voices are also being raised: For example, newspaper articles talk about “conflicting goals” or even “fire accelerators for environmental destruction”. This is a complex problem for which there are only a few solutions to date. Our start-up of the week, Qarnot Energy, is of the opinion: Why not combine the advantages of digitalisation with the sustainable use of energy? In our interview with CEO and Co-Founder Paul Benoit, we talk about how exactly this works and how existing potential can be used in a targeted manner.

Hi Paul, thank you so much for taking the time for us today. For a better start: How do you describe Qarnot Computing in one sentence?

Qarnot reuses wated heat from IT computations to heat buildings and water sustainibly.

A very recent subject. How exactly does this project shape up in terms of your target groups and the technology behind it?

Qarnot is the first company in the world which reuses waste heat from IT computations to heat buildings and water.
Qarnot has two kinds of clients: computing clients buying computing power on the one hand, heating clients who need ecological heat in their buildings on the other hand.Qarnot developed a computing-heater, QH•1, and a digital water boiler, QB•1, which both embed microprocessors as heat sources and are connected to the fibre optic. By spreading IT resources where heat is directly needed, Qarnot reduces the energy consumption and the carbon footprint of computing.
The more you need heat, the more we send computations. The faster your microprocessors are running, the more they release heat, which is directly reused within the building.Computing-heater, QH•1 and digital water boiler, QB•1, are installed in apartments, social housings, public buildings, swimming pools, heating networks…

You just said you’re the first company to use such a technology. Do you see this as your USP too?

We have been the first in the world to launch that kind of technology (patent in almost every country in the world). Qarnot proposes a digital circular economy approach in which heat, a waste for computing, becomes a resource within the building. Qarnot succeeds at linking two distinctive kinds of actors: computing/IT ressources and building. Our approach for green IT makes our technologies disruptive, innovative and ecological.

How does the associated business model look like? Do you have different approaches for “producers” and “users”?

Our unique approach is both ecological and economic, on two main business sides:
– we provide green cloud computing cheaper than others (2 to 4 times)
– we heat buildings for free once the investment is done. The “heating clients” first buy a computing-heater or a digital-boiler, and then we reimbourse the electricity bills, we do the maintenance and we replace the machines for free every 7-8 years.The computing-heater embeds sensors and interfaces that provide services towards smart building: air quality sensors, movement sensors, temperature sensors, luminosity sensors, QI charging module, NFC, Wifi Module…

You have just mentioned a few potential customers, such as public institutions or apartment owners. Which market segments exactly do you address within this target group?

We only work with B2B clients, that are divided into two parts:
In the computing area we provide high performance computing for big banks (BNP Paribas, Société Générale, Natixis in France), 3D animation studios (our last client is Illumination Mac Guff), fluid dynamics, machine learning (AI), molecular docking…
In the heating sector we work with social landlords, public buildings, apartments buildings, swimming pools, heating network managers…Most of our clients are French, most of the buildings we equiped are in France. We have a new project in Finland, where we installed digital boilers to provide hot water for a heating network.
We are starting right now to launch our business abroad, especially in Germany-Austria-Switzerland, UK and in the Nordic Countries.

It looks like you guys have already established yourselves pretty well. What are the latest developments in your company?

Our products (computing heater and digital boiler) are already launched on the market. Time showed they are working very well, and clients are happy with them.
Our computing clients are very satisfied too: the contracts we have are getting bigger, we succeed at having new ones and we recently made efforts to widen the sectors we address (e.g. AI, pharmaceutics, industry…). Our latest news is a successful 6M€ fundraising we achieved in March, with several prestigious investors: Engie, Groupe Casino, A/O Proptech and Caisse des Dépôts (public group serving the public interest and the country’s economic development).

Paul, thank you very much for the exciting interview! We wish you every success in the further development of your company and hope to hear a lot more from you.
Those who want to support you can take a closer look at your Innoloft profile or contact you via our Messenger.

AMPEERS ENERGY is the Startup of the Week 14: The future of energy


Energy Efficiency and Environment, Industry 4.0 & Logistics, IT & ICT

The energy industry is changing. Where for many years only a few large companies set the tone, there is now the opportunity to become an energy producer through decentralised generation with the help of renewable energies. However, this requires external help. This comes, for example, from our Startup of the Week AMPEERS ENERGY. They won the kraftwerk city accelerator bremen Challenge and also the Frauenhofer Founder’s Prize last year – successes that are quite impressive. We wanted to know more and talked to Gerrit Ellerwald, Managing Director of AMPEERS ENERGY, about the startup and the idea.

Hello Gerrit! We are happy to learn more about your startup today and therefore we will start right away. What does AMPEERS ENERGY do?

At AMPEERS ENERGY, we make it easy for companies to tap the potential of the decentralized energy revolution – economically and ecologically!

That sounds very exciting! How does the whole thing work in detail?

First of all, you should know that as an SaaS company, we offer three cloud-based applications. Those applications enable companies to save money, automate processes and protect the environment. In addition to the AE District Manager, which is a complete energy management solution for the district, there is also the AE Local Supplier. This fully automated and integrated tenant electricity software takes care of the administrative side of tenant electricity projects. And the AE Fleet Optimizer exists above it. By consolidating all relevant data, the intelligent software takes over the control of the load and charge management of e-fleets.

The basis of these products is an extremely powerful Fraunhofer software which is able to connect all decentralized processes relating to energy generation and consumption. It ist is also able to control them in a targeted manner. This is possible through the use of self-learning technologies.

This technology basically consists of two components – an energy management component and a billing component. The energy management component controls and optimizes generation and consumption facilities. The more heterogeneous these plants are, the better the technology can play out its strengths. Similar to a conductor, you orchestrate all the producers and consumers in a neighbourhood and can thus save money. This is based on linear optimization models and the basic idea that one tries to make generation and consumption coincide. In very, very simple terms, the car should be charged when the sun is shining. Load peaks are absorbed by trying to switch on flexible loads when other loads are not running at the same time.

The billing component is an energy data management system. It is used to take the various energy data from the management systems, such as from the meter and the generation components, and assign it correctly according to the source. It can create bills for the customer or fulfill the obligation to report to distributor and government authorities. Intercepting the relevant energy data correctly, making it transparent, and billing or forwarding it correctly is the job of the billing component.

These components can also be used individually, for example only the energy management in the neighbourhood or only the billing component in tenant electricity projects. However, the great advantage of our offer is that the components can be combined. For example, the charging station can also be billed correctly for controlled fleet charging in the neighbourhood. This is what makes the product so strong.

At the moment many are dealing with the decentralization of energy supply, what separates you from their ideas?

AMPEERS ENERGY ensures that energy generation, transport, consumption and billing are as simple as, for example, e-commerce today. In this way we enable our customers to enter the energy management 4.0 environment, in which all players and technical components are seamlessly integrated. Each individual market participant can thus realize considerable savings potential, in some cases up to 40 percent. E-vehicle fleets can become a real alternative to existing diesel vehicles through our SaaS solution and much more. New types of business models based on intelligent energy can thus be created.

The big difference to our competitors is that we take a holistic view of decentralized business models and do not just deliver partial solutions. With us, you get the complete software support for the implementation of an overall decentralized business model. And this in turn is so user-friendly that we clearly differentiate ourselves from our competitors thanks to this intuitive usability.

Furthermore, thanks to the cooperation with Fraunhofer, we have the advantage of continuously integrating further innovations into our SaaS solutions. This is a market advantage that probably no other startup has.

You just mentioned that you’re a SaaS company. So you offer the applications as a service. What exactly do you charge for?

Yes, we are a Software-as-a-Service company and generate revenues by licensing our products to customers.

Pricing consists of a setup fee, and a usage fee. In the Set Up Fee, we calculate the setup expenses, such as customizing the system or connecting the interfaces to the system. And to keep the entry hurdle low so that monthly costs are not too high, the pay per use fee is paid after use. For tenant electricity projects, this is per apartment/per meter. We calculate the pay-per-use fee for neighborhood management and for fleet optimization per KWh.

For the time being, we are not planning to provide any additional services outside our core products. We are concentrating on the continuous development, implementation and maintenance of our products.

Who exactly are you addressing with your solutions? Do you also address markets outside Germany?

There are three main target groups for our services: Energy suppliers and service providers, the real estate industry and fleet operators.

For our tenant power and neighbourhood solutions, for example, all medium-sized and large housing construction companies are suitable. Also all companies with relevant large housing stock (church, private, public and co-operatives) are relevant customer groups. There are approximately 40 million apartments in Germany – 10% of which are tenant electricity and suitable for the AE Local Supplier. All larger building complexes with a heterogeneous generation infrastructure are suitable for our neighbourhood energy management system.  Examples for this group would be airports, shopping centres, purely residential districts or various mixed districts. The AE Fleet Optimizer is worthwhile for all companies that have at least 10 electric vehicles.

And to the question of internationalisation we can answer that we are already in the process of internationalising in the DACH region. At the end of the day, our solutions are not limited to the German energy market. With a (neighbourhood) energy management system, the only question is what should be optimised. And if this involves cost optimization under boundary conditions (e.g. maximizing the own power consumption), then this is only a mathematical function that is optimized. It is possible to use our product everywhere internationally. At the moment we focus on the DACH region, later on Europe and finally everywhere where our products can be used.

Now, we only have one question left. As winner of the kraftwerk city accelerator Bremen Challenge and Frauenhofer Spin-off your idea is very popular. Where do you stand with your startup at the moment?

We have successfully completed the first financing round. The first two products (District Manager and Local Supplier) are successfully on the market and we have a double-digit number of customers. At this point, we would like to proudly announce that we have won the Fraunhofer Founder’s Prize 2019. This prize honours the most successful Fraunhofer spin-off of the year active on the market, whose products and services have a direct social benefit.

We find it motivating to make an active contribution to the energy turnaround and thus also to a greener future with our daily work. And for those who also believe that we should no longer just talk about the energy turnaround, but finally tackle it, we encourage you to join us and take a look at our website. There you will find open job offers (and the contact details for a initiative application).

Thank you for the interview!

Gerrit, we also thank you for the interesting conversation! We wish you continued success and will follow your developments with great interest. If anyone wants to learn more about you, we invite them to check out your Innoloft profile and your requests.

MagnoTherm Solutions is the Startup of the Week 6: Next generation cooling


Energy Efficiency and Environment, Health & FoodTech

Conventional cooling systems often use problematic gases. In this case “problematic” means extremely flammable, toxic or refers to a high greenhouse effect. Our startup of the week does without these gases in their products and uses magnetic materials instead. Timur Sirman, Co-Founder of MagnoTherm Solutions, explains today how this works exactly.

Hello Timur! Thanks for being here today. Our first question is this: What is behind MagnoTherm Solutions?

We develop and build environmentally friendly cooling units for the cooling and heating systems of the future: with magnetic materials without any problematic gases.

How does this process work?

Active metals are cyclically heated and cooled by means of a permanent magnet. This is done by the magnetocaloric effect of these active metals. They become warm when they are exposed to a magnetic field – and cold when the magnetic field is reduced. Using a water-based exchange medium, the heat and cold can be transported from the solid and made useful. For this purpose, motor, pump, valves and control elements are used.

Why is it better to dispense with gases and use magnetic materials instead?

Without the use of F-gases, flammable gases, toxic gases or other problematic gases, our system is up to 40% more efficient than the best compressor-based cooling system available today. And this is independent of the temperature stroke or temperature range. This can be achieved by individualizing the active metals. As a result, highly efficient systems can be realized even for warm ambient temperatures and small temperature strokes, with a greenhouse potential of zero.

And that in turn is better for the environment. How do you integrate it all into a business model?

Our cooling units are integrated by our customer into his cooling system and then sold to the user. Here we develop customized products for our integration partner. In doing so, we can respond very quickly and precisely to the respective needs of the user, as our standardized structure allows the active metals to be adapted to the requirements at any time.

Who do you address with your products?

In principle, we can implement cooling units with a cooling capacity between 100 W and 100 kW. The European supermarket refrigeration industry is the first sales market, as the challenges are the greatest there. However, other markets we address are IT cooling, industrial cooling and heat pumps.

What stage of development are you currently in? How mature is your product?

We are currently building the first prototype, which will have a cooling capacity of 500 W to 1kW. This year we will equip a cooling system for Food&Beverages with this. At the same time, we are in talks with development partners to build further systems.

Timur, I’m afraid we’ve come to the end of the interview. We thank you for the exciting interview and wish you continued success. To find more about MagnoTherm Solutions, you can take a look at their Innoloft profile!

ChargeX is the Startup of the Week 5: Future-proof charging infrastructure for electric mobility


Energy Efficiency and Environment, Mobility

The switch to alternative drives in the field of mobility is in full swing. E-mobility is one way to implement the energy transition on the road. But the expansion of charging infrastructure is long and complicated. It is therefore only a question of time before a shortage in the availability of charging points appears. ChargeX, our Startup of the Week, has developed a product for that. It makes the assembly and development of new charging points easier and more efficient. An exciting idea, which we talk about in an interview with co-founder and CBDO Michael Masnitza.

Hello, Michael! We are happy to learn more about your startup today and therefore we will start right away. What is your idea at ChargeX?

At ChargeX we develop modular charging solutions for electric cars.

It would be great, if you would give us some background information about your solutions. How does your idea work in detail?

With our modular charging solution for electric cars called “Aqueduct” many parking spaces can be electrified at low cost and with little installation effort. The modular concept enables operators of fleet parking lots and underground garages to expand their charging infrastructure cost-effectively and in line with demand.

The modular charging system of ChargeX starts with the start module. This is regularly installed by an electrician. It forms the first charging point and contains all core components such as the energy meter and the internet connection. Now further charging points, the expansion modules, can be added as required, simply as “plug & play”. Based on our intelligent charging algorithm, the electric car to be charged is determined during operation. From the customer’s point of view, we offer a modular multiple socket for charging stations. From a grid viewpoint, we create a small microgrid of charging stations to make optimal use of the existing grid connection.

Since electromobility is currently on everyone’s lips, most of the problems are already known and are being addressed by many young companies. What makes your solution special and how do you open up the way to practical application?

Aqueduct makes optimum use of the existing network infrastructure thanks to our sequential load management and the plug&play system reduces installation costs to a minimum. Our product concept focuses on advantages that can only be used if several parking spaces are electrified. In addition, we save many components, which also makes the hardware significantly cheaper. This makes it very easy for our customers to set up a large-scale charging infrastructure. Aqueduct is a complete system. Even the internet connection to a backend is pre-configured. So the customer only has to unpack it, install the system and he has immediately set up several charging points. If he needs more charging points in the future, he can easily add more modules.

What is the pricing-model for Aqueduct?

Our system is primarily aimed at companies that need charging points for their fleet or employees. Of course, it is also ideally suited for urban living areas, i.e. large underground car parks. Each charging module costs 750€. We offer a Starter-KIT consisting of 4 modules and all installation materials for 3499 €. If the customer needs an additional backend system, we deliver a partner backend directly with the system.

You have just briefly mentioned your target group that ChargeX addresses. In which other segments and industries are your customers establishing themselves?

Our charging solution is designed for private and semi-public charging of electric cars, i.e. at home or at work. The applications are the electrification of company parking lots, underground garages or garages of residential buildings with more than one electric car. The customers are communities of owners or operators of these fleet parking lots and underground garages. In addition to private individuals, a Renault car dealership was acquired as a test partner and we have validated our concept in several customer meetings and received LOIs.

We compete with manufacturers of low-cost charging stations and with hardware-oriented providers of load management systems. However, these cause high costs per charging point, are expensive to install or not suitable for the electrification of several parking spaces. By deliberately avoiding the market segments of quick charging stations and public charging, which are in the focus of the media, we can offer a more suitable and cost-efficient solution for the customer. We are targeting the growth market of charging infrastructure in the private and semi-public charging segment. Our product can be used throughout Europe.

Which brings me to my last question: You founded the company in 2017 and have certainly reached some milestones since then. What are these milestones? Where do you currently stand in the development of Aqueduct?

With our first prototype, we have achieved proof of concept thanks to the support of the Climate-KIC Accelerator. In mid-2018 we were able to convince the first business angels of our idea. The product (MVP) is certified since March 2019 and the first pilot customers like Volkswagen are already equipped with charging systems. Aqueduct can be ordered regularly. However, as a startup we cannot cover all areas of the value chain. We are primarily looking for local resellers for our charging solution. Currently we are looking for seed financing of 1.5M€ for the preparation of scaling.

Michael, thank you very much for the interesting interview! We wish you every success in the further implementation of your vision. If anyone would like to support ChargeX, please have a look at their Innoloft profile or the Innoloft requests.