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.

SPAROX is the Startup of the Week 13: The platform for spare parts in the energy sector

Energy Supply, Industry 4.0 & Logistics, IT & ICT

Procuring spare parts for energy plants is a real feat. Above all, it requires a lot of patience. The search for suitable suppliers takes a long time. In addition, delivery times of several months must be expected. Our Startup of the Week has found the solution that saves energy suppliers time and money. With its platform, SPAROX offers an online marketplace that quickly connects plant operators and suppliers. We spoke with Sonja Zahradnik-Leonhartsberger, project manager at SPAROX.

Hello Sonja! Thanks for taking the time today. Why don’t you describe SPAROX in one sentence at the start?

Sure. We connect the plants and spare parts in the energy sector and have created a strong German-speaking network, which can also help in emergencies within a very short time.

How can someone who needs spare parts also get them?

We operate an intermediary platform for spare parts, where plant operators with critical spare parts and suppliers with a wide range of products are involved. In addition, we have established an emergency function in case of imminent plant shutdown and have also connected the 3D printing technology. The aim is to connect spare parts, plants and suppliers in the energy sector. We want to make it reliable and easy for all parties involved to make the right spare part available at any time.

Is this emergency feature one of your unique selling points?

Yes, exactly. That way we can avoid plant downtime. For many plant operators, long delivery times are a real problem. We often speak of several months. With our platform, operators can network with each other. We have thus considerably simplified the search, purchase and sale. We are also the largest platform in the sector, which is of course another advantage.

Is your platform for free? How do you generate revenue?

The use of the platform is free of charge for system operators. From the suppliers, i.e. the sellers, we receive a transaction fee.

Since you supply spare parts for the energy sector, your target group is clearly defined, right?

Yes, that’s right. We address plant operators in the energy market as well as their suppliers in the entire German-speaking area. We focus on all types of energy generation and grid operators.

You just mentioned that you are the biggest platform. What size are we talking about? What stage is SPAROX in as a startup?

The platform has been live since Feburary 2019. We currently have more than 15,000 spare parts online. Another 5,000 spare parts will be uploaded within the next few days. We are an innovation project within the framework of the Wien Energie Innovation Challenge Sprint Edition 2018. As a corporate startup of Wien Energie, we thus have a very strong owner. Currently our internal team consists of 8 employees.

Sonja, thank you very much for the exciting interview! We wish you continued success and hope to hear much more from you.

If someone is interested in more information about SPAROX and the platform, please have a look at the Innoloft profile.

SOLARIMO is the startup of the week 2: New energy for cities

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

The consequences of climate change are already very noticable. Fortunately, in Germany we have not yet been affected by natural disasters such as floods or severe forest fires. Nevertheless, we too must transform our behaviour to be more sustainable. Photovoltaics and green electricity are popular solutions to curb the production of CO2. However, the planning and construction of such a system is often complicated and daunting. Our start-up of the week, SOLARIMO takes care of exactly this case. We discussed what this looks like in detail with Sebastian Lammers, project developer at SOLARIMO.

Hi, Sebastian! Thanks for taking time for us today. We are very much looking forward to getting to know SOLARIMO better. So would you give us a little pitch right now about what you do at SOLARIMO?

Sure! SOLARIMO plans, builds and operates photovoltaic systems on rental properties. This generates the so-called tenant electricity with which we give the tenants access to the cheap green electricity from their own roof. In this way we contribute to a sustainable energy supply.

That sounds very exciting! What exactly does the concept behind it look like?

As already mentioned, we build and plan photovoltaic systems on apartment buildings and offer the sustainably generated electricity to the tenants. The building owners benefit from a sustainable and social upgrading of their properties. The entire construction process is carried out and accompanied by us with local installers. This implementation of a tenant electricity project is possible with our model for new and existing properties. We also implement projects with battery storage units and charging points for electric vehicles.

At present, there are many new companies with the idea of installing photovoltaic systems on real estate and thus generating green electricity. What added value do you generate with SOLARIMO that your competitors do not offer?

We offer our customers a complete tenant electricity package. Here we take over the consulting, planning, financing and installation of the system. In addition, we take care of the entire process, including marketing and selling the electricity to the tenants. The tenants receive the complete power supply from us at a price at least 10% below the basic supply tariff. They can thus participate in and benefit from the energy turnaround. By installing photovoltaic systems, building owners contribute to the energy turnaround in urban areas and ensure a local and climate-friendly energy supply.

I see. What does your pricing model look like?

Our business model is simple: we offer tenants a low-cost and ecological electricity tariff and try to produce the majority of the electricity on their own roof. At the same time, our B2B customers gain an advantage by being able to position themselves sustainably. We generate our income from selling electricity to the tenants and from the remuneration for feeding the remaining electricity into the grid.

Until now you have named the B2B sector as one of your customer segments. Do you target your product only at B2B customers? Could you be more specific about your target groups??

Our customer group can be divided into the B2B and B2C market. B2B are the building owners. This would include, for example, cooperatives, housing construction companies as well as project developers and municipalities. Currently we are only active nationally.

Finally, we would like to know in which development phase SOLARIMO is currently in. What are your future goals, especially in 2020?

SOLARIMO has been on the market for 2 years and has already implemented more than 3200 Kwp in energy in over 35 projects. At present, several follow-up orders are already on hold in various cooperatives, so that we look forward to the next fiscal year with confidence and optimism. As we are a corporate start-up of the Engie Group, we are not dependent on external financing next year.

Sebastian, thank you very much for this exciting and detailed interview. We wish you every success for the further development of SOLARIMO. If you would like to support you in this, please take a look at your Innoloft profile.

STROMDAO is the startup of week 47: decentralized green electricity with the help of Blockchain

Energy Supply

The switch to a climate-friendly and affordable energy supply is only possible with renewable energies. However, this will bring upheavals for the existing structure. With regard to the future of the german energy industry, the three drivers are decarbonisation, digitisation and decentralisation. Our startup of the week focusses on the latter. STROMDAO offers variable green electricity tariffs that show origin and energy consumption in a transparent way. STROMDAO also uses blockchain technology. In an interview with Rebekka Mutschler, COO of STROMDAO, we discussed what this technology is used for.

Hello Rebekka! I’m glad you took the time for us today. Would you briefly explain what STROMDAO is?

Sure! STROMDAO has set itself the goal that every person can provide electricity from renewable energies, even if they have no solar system on the roof.

With our product Corrently you get more green electricity, especially from your own neighborhood, because we show you where and when green electricity is produced in your area, so that your power outlet produces a higher proportion of green electricity than the others.

Especially in times of climate change an important thing! How does this work in detail?

We offer a variable electricity tariff, where the working price is higher or lower depending on the share of regional green electricity supply. This offer reflects our Green Power Index. By using a smart meter as possible additional hardware, the usage can be tracked transparently and the corresponding green power bonus can be paid out.

All those who consume electricity can thus acquire shares in renewable energy plants at the same time. We use blockchain technology to enable the transparent and rapid transfer of ownership of shares in photovoltaic systems. So you get electricity from a green power plant where you gradually become the owner. This is to decentralise the electricity market in the long term.

I see what you mean. Where do you see a competitive advantage in your solution compared to the other green electricity suppliers?

We are the only electricity supplier to show customers when and how much green electricity from our environment actually comes out of their socket. This is calculated from various data and made available up to 36 hours in advance so that the customer can adapt their electricity consumption to the range of green electricity on offer. We reward them for this flexibility by gradually transferring them the photovoltaic system shares. Nevertheless, the feed-in of their share is attributed to them and they no longer have to pay for it, since they have produced it themselves.

How do you integrate your blockchain solution including the Green Power Index into a business model?

Like any other electricity supplier, we also have a margin on the basic and labour price. However, we take a part of the margin and reinvest it in new renewable energy plants. Apart from B2C and the B2B2C portfolio, with municipal utilities, municipalities and communities, we also offer consulting services.

Is your target market aimed at all potential customers in Germany?

So we address all electricity households in Germany, regardless of whether they are private or commercial customers. However, our target group is the 18 million households that purchase green electricity. This is where the course has already been set for a sustainable supply of electricity.

That makes sense. Where are you at the moment with the development of STROMDAO? Is your product already usable?

Yes, we currently have a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 7. Our product is already successful on the market and we are striving for market penetration.

In the CloudMallBW project “Time-variable electricity tariff using green electricity index”, for example, we showed how easy it is to implement a variable electricity tariff in the existing tariff landscape.

Rebekka,  thanks for the exciting insight into the developments of STROMDAO. We wish you continued success.

More information about STROMDAO is to be found on their Innoloft profile or in their Innoloft requests.

Urban Energy is the Startup of the Week 43: Smart City of tomorrow

Energy Supply, Mobility, Smart City & Buildings

The topic of electromobility has become an integral part of current socio-political debates. Although the goal set by the German government in 2010 of having around one million electric cars on German roads by 2020 is far from being reached, the number of newly registered electric vehicles is rising steadily. What should always be borne in mind, is that if many e-cars are connected to the power grid for charging, this can lead to new charging peaks and in the worst case to a grid overload. Our startup of the week, Urban ENERGY, addresses this problem and is developing a cloud to optimize network utilization. In our interview with Managing Director Paul Dittrich, we learn more about their solution.

Hello, Paul! We’re glad you’re here today. We start directly with the first question: How would you present Urban ENERGY in one sentence?

urban ENERGY takes energy management to a new level with AI and optimises network utilisation!

And how exactly do you make the AI usable for these purposes? Feel also free to tell us something about your products and services in this context.

The urban ENERGY Cloud Platform is a modern solution for the integration of cost efficient and highly scalable Smart Grid Analytics in real-time. Data from existing charging stations or energy management solutions can be centrally integrated and reused within milliseconds. In addition to the platform provided as a service (PaaS) for the development of their own use cases, customers also benefit from the Data Analytics function for Smart Grids. The urban ENERGY Cloud platform, which can be operated on-premise, public (e.g. AWS, Azure) or hybrid, provides a highly modular all-in-one solution to operationalize Energy Intelligence in real time using predictive analytics, prescriptive analytics and machine learning.

This sounds very promising, especially with regard to the technologies used. In order to survive on the market in the long run, you still have to prevail against competing companies. Which unique selling proposition do you use to approach this competition?

Yes, there are already major players such as Siemens with heavyweight solutions or providers in certain niches such as charging station or classic energy management for buildings. urban ENERGY fills this gap and takes on the role of an energy broker for the integration of different applications with the aim of making a Smart City as energy- and cost-efficient as possible through artificial intelligence.

How do you integrate your cloud solution and the various services into one business model?

Even before urban ENERGY was founded, we held discussions with potential customer groups for over a year. During this time, we have optimized our business case and developed a license model that is optimal for the customer. A relevant profitability for the customer is already given from 5 charging stations. In addition to charging points, other use cases such as predictive maintenance or predictions of energy quantities are also possible. With adesso AG, a large IT company, and Phoenix Contact, a globally active electrical engineering group, we not only have two investors, but also strategic partners with an extensive sales network. We are currently conducting further talks in the energy and real estate industry.

And where is your target market located?

In addition to municipal utilities, projects are carried out in close cooperation with the relevant real estate companies. urban ENERGY is also becoming increasingly interesting for logistics and commercial companies that want to gradually electrify their vehicle fleets. Supplying several trucks or buses with electricity at the same time will be one of the great challenges of the future that urban ENERGY wants to take on. We are currently concentrating on the German-speaking region, as we are receiving more and more enquiries from public utilities and housing associations who see the challenges in the distribution network and are looking for appropriate solutions here.

Where do you stand at the moment with the development of Urban Energy? Is your cloud platform already usable?

Exactly, the actual IoT cloud platform is already in place. We are currently expanding this Energy Data Hub to include further use cases: e.g. the temporal shifting of loading processes, the prediction of energy quantities from renewable energies. We are therefore currently looking for the first projects to test the urban ENERGY platform and the first use cases. As part of a research project starting in December 2019, we are working over a period of three years together with the city, the municipal utilities and the TU Dortmund as well as the Fraunhofer Institute on a neighbourhood solution.

That brings us to the end of our interview. Thank you very much for the exciting answers! We wish you continued success and would like to take this opportunity to draw attention to your Innoloft profile and your Innoloft request. Interested parties can find more information about you there. is the Startup of the Week 34: Optimal Planning & Management of Decentralized Energy Concepts

Energy & Environment, Energy Supply

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 34 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 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 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 January 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, please take a look at your Energieloft profile or contact us directly.

Qantic is the Startup of Week 32: Artificial Intelligence for the Future of Energy

Energy Supply, IT & ICT

What will the energy system of the future look like? For quite some time now, all companies active in the fields of energy supply and generation have been asking themselves this question. The reaction to this question usually involves the use of buzzwords such as “digital”, “smart” or “decentralized”. The message is certainly correct, but what do these terms actually mean for the implementation of promising energy systems? Our startup of the week, Qantic, is not satisfied with empty words, but answers this question with a practical and future-oriented solution – the Q-System. Managing director Thomas Kalitzky explains to us in the interview what is behind it.

Hello, Thomas. Thank you so much for being here today! We start with a short question: How do you describe Qantic or your solution in one sentence?

With Q-System, Qantic offers a solution for controlling and planning energy systems using artificial intelligence.

Would you like to explain to us in more detail what Q-System is about?

With our system, we are developing the next generation of control algorithms to exploit the full potential in smart energy solutions. Through intelligent coordination of generation, consumption and storage, our solution makes a higher proportion of renewable energies usable. CO2 emissions and electricity generation costs are significantly reduced through planning and operation using the Q-System.

There are already some suppliers for the optimization of energy systems on the market, so for many people, this topic is no longer new. Where do you see a competitive advantage in your solution compared to the conventional methods?

Conventional optimization processes usually reach their limits when confronted with the complexity of decentralized and digitized energy systems. A multitude of sensor data must be taken into account in near real time and uncertainties regarding the production from wind and solar energy must be estimated. Q-System’s optimization algorithm meets these requirements through an innovative approach based on Deep Reinforcement Learning. Q-System learns to correctly take into account system behavior, sensor data and other real-time information in order to control the system in real time in a cost-effective manner.The improved coordination of consumption, storage and generation makes it possible to reduce CO2 emissions and costs by up to 30 percent.

What is the business model and sales structure of your system?

It is our goal to contribute to cost-effective and climate-friendly energy generation by using the latest processes from the field of machine learning. With our system, we offer our customers the right tool for this as software-as-a-service or local on-premises solutions. In addition to classic license agreements based on annual usage fees, we can also realize success-dependent revenue models. In this case, the user pays depending on the cost reduction realized by our product.

And what is the specific  background of the potential users you want to adress?

Our solution is particularly suitable for the planning and operation of smart microgrids, virtual power plants and self-sufficiency concepts in industry and commerce. Our target customers therefore include energy suppliers, industrial and commercial customers with their own energy systems as well as other suppliers and users of smart energy solutions.

This already leads me to my last question: Olmatic was founded in 2018 and have certainly reached some milestones since then. Where do you currently stand in the development of Q-System?

Our product has two independent modules (planning and control module) with different stages of development.
The Q-System planning module was developed to market maturity together with our pilot customers. The control module is also fully operational and has been tested in parallel using so-called digital twins of energy systems. Together with our pilot customers, we are now preparing the first deployment of the control module in a real microgrid.
By the end of 2019, we intend to enter into further cooperations in order to further develop the control module and make it usable for a large number of applications.

Thomas, thank you very much for the exciting interview. We wish you much success for your further development and hope to hear a lot more from you in the future! Those who would like to support Qantic as a development partner are welcome to take a look at your Energieloft profile or contact you directly.

Nuventura is the Startup of the Week 31: the next generation of gas insulated switchgear

Energy Efficiency and Environment, Energy Supply

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), but are produced specifically. 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 and is therefore developing a technology that works without SF6. CEO Fabian Lemke explains more about the background in the interview.

Hey, 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, making 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 has 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 associated with 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. It, furthermore, 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 nuventura’s switchgear is designed 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 and our product is suited for global use.

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

Nuventura has recently closed its 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. We are currently carrying out a pilot project with the German utility company, Westnetz/Innogy and are in preparation for another pilot with E.ON’s network operator E.DIS has that is to be launched in autumn this year.

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. In this context we would like to draw your attention to your Energieloft Request, in which you are looking for companies that would like to work with you. As always, interested parties are welcome to contact you.

Olmatic is the Startup of the Week 28: Products and systems for Industry 4.0 and IoT

Energy Market & Trading, Energy Supply, Industry 4.0 & Logistics

Although the addition of “smart” has long been an important aspect in the discussion on energy management systems, concrete implementation approaches are rarely found.  Our Startup of the Week has the same opinion – especially since conventional systems are usually inflexible and platform-bound. One of the co-founders of Olmatic, Christian Olma, therefore introduces us to their solution: The Olmatic Power Tracking.

Hello Christian! Thank you for taking the time. We are looking forward to getting to know Olmatic better. Would you give us a small pitch for that?

Sure! We develop, manufacture and market devices and systems for energy management 4.0 and wireless networking through central control units in the industry 4.0 and IoT area. Our highly innovative Olmatic Power Tracking enables maximum self-sufficiency in the energy sector.

What exactly is the Olmatic Power Tracking about?

The so-called Olmatic Power Tracking (OPT) is an intelligent combination of hardware and software, combined in one product, which deals with the completely self-sufficient supply of electrical consumers via regenerative energy sources without the necessity of a conventional supply network. In order to use the power available from renewable energy sources (solar cells, wind turbines, hydroelectric power plants, etc.) in the most effective way, without losing excess energy in the form of power loss or the like, the OPT offers the appropriate technologies and systems to realize dynamic power distribution and prioritization of energy and consumer sources. This means that with an optimal design it is possible to almost completely dispense with the public supply network and to reduce the energy demand via the conventional supply network to < 1%. Even if the system is used without regenerative energy sources, i.e. directly via the conventional supply network, >30% energy savings can be achieved compared to conventional energy management systems.

The main focus of our energy management system is on the specific treatment of each input source and each consumer output independently of each other. This gives us the possibility to distribute energy to all consumers of a system with the highest efficiency. In combination with a direct integration into the supply line and open interfaces in the communication line, our energy management systems can easily be adapted to or integrated into existing systems. This makes it possible to distribute energy across the boundaries of a specific platform or system.

How does your product perform compared to currently established energy management systems?

In contrast to conventional energy management systems, it is characterized above all by the additional networking of the Smart Grid at the supply level, which enables stepless power regulation (0-100%) and power distribution. Through the specific consideration of all energy consumers and the platform independence of the systems, a highly efficient energy sharing between different energy systems can be operated with maximum efficiency. Conventional systems are platform-bound and can only communicate via the communication interfaces and suffer from higher losses and a lack of dynamics due to static switching on and off based on preconfigured power hysteresis. Especially in safety-relevant systems, the simple shutdown can lead to enormous security gaps or chaos scenarios, which the OPT procedure avoids via intelligent and dynamic power regulation and distribution on the basis of prioritizations. Through customized, individually adaptable designs of the modules, a maximum energy saving can be achieved at low investment costs for the manufacturer/developer, which promise low payback periods. The OPT process is linked to already existing and established energy management modules and central control units of the Olmatic product range and thus realizes the following two core products, which can be used in combination or independently of each other in all AC and DC power-based energy systems, conventional and regenerative generation methods.

You were just talking about customizing your products to suit your customer’s needs. The pricing will certainly be the same, right?

We follow the implementation of two different business models. On the one hand, we sell via direct sales in the B2B area through appropriate acquisition of our sales team and in the course of networking measures, and on the other hand, we have a large cooperation partner named Endrich Bauelemente Vertriebs GmbH, which acts as a middleman for us and actively sells our product range internationally. Since we always offer customer-specific products, the pricing model is variable and calculated according to complexity and effort. As an additional service in the field of Energy Management 4.0 we offer the complete energy consulting as an additional service.

What do you think about the market you are currently addressing? To what extent do you see growth potential, opportunities and risks there?

Placing a product such as Olmatic Power Tracking at the right time in a market that is currently more than ever in the focus of current attention undoubtedly brings with it a huge opportunity to establish the company as a pioneer in a market that will continue to grow steadily in the future. Since the market for electrical consumers will tend to rise in the coming years, while conventional energy resources will tend to decline, it is to be expected that the market in the segment of renewable energy supply will bring secure growth in the coming decades. Timely market entry and the protection of the product against competitors therefore represent a huge opportunity for us to already now sustainably position ourselves for the coming decades. Nevertheless, the market is highly competitive and is already populated by a large number of “big players” who will gladly and directly accept the competition and already have the financial background to become active here in the short term. The big chance is thus at the same time a big risk to lose the competition and thus the market shares already at the beginning, if the strategy and the goals are not pursued with fullest precision. We pursue the international target group.

You founded your company in 2016, a lot has happened since then. You have already explained some of the results to us. What are the next steps for the development of Olmatic?

An essential milestone of the strategy is the transfer of the already existing prototypes to market maturity. The goal should be to be able to place these on the market as quickly as possible. A proof-of-concept of the prototypes has already been successfully carried out, so that the next step according to the strategy is to carry out corresponding final development steps to series maturity. These essentially include a final optimisation of the findings from the prototype tests, adaptation of conformity to the applicable standards and norms, planning and implementation of necessary production processes and final approval of the products. In the course of the prototype phase a new energy management module was developed, which contains the OPT procedure. In the course of this two new products are to be developed at short notice, which can be directly transferred to already existing customer networks and distribution channels. The energy supply module is to be the first product of the new Universal 4.0 series and in its current version serves as an energy supply module for intelligent supply and energy management in accordance with OPT for consumers in the low-voltage range. The OPT’s software functionality can be directly marketed as a successor model to the existing OPT plus the additional OPT function and will serve as a central gateway and control unit for the digital networking of the system in the future.

Christian, thank you very much for this exciting and detailed interview. We wish you much success for the further development of Olmatic. Those who are interested in supporting Olmatic are welcome to take a look at your EnergieLOFT Request in which you are looking for investors for the Olmatic Power Tracking.

SolarWorX is the Startup of the Week 27: Solar power for rural electrification

Energy & Environment, Energy Supply, Power Generation

If a political discourse is conducted in Germany on electricity supply, buzzwords such as “renewable energies”, “smart grid” or “storage systems” are often used. These terms are characterised by technological progress, because if an electricity grid has already been built up and established, further developments and optimisation measures follow. What is often not taken into account, however, is that 1.2 billion people on earth still live completely without access to electricity. Instead, fossil fuels such as diesel or kerosene are used – of course with considerable effects on nature and society. Our startup of the week, SolarWorX, has therefore taken the initiative and is reacting to these problems. How? CEO Felix Boldt explains this to us in our interview. 

Hello, Felix, thank you for taking the time to talk to us! We are pleased to learn more about SolarWorX today. That’s why I start with the first question: How would you describe SolarWorX in one sentence?

We offer innovative solar power solutions for 1.2 billion people without access to electricity.

A very social approach. Could you go into a little more detail? How is your solution technically structured, for example?

Our solar power solutions are aimed at people in sub-Saharan Africa who live far away from the public power grid. Our systems can be modularly expanded and speak to our customers in local languages like Swahili and Wolof. Individual systems can be interconnected to form a DC microgrid, allowing neighbors to share power and larger consumers to operate easily. Our products are IoT integrated and can be conveniently paid in installments via the customer’s mobile phone credit (PayGo). We use clean solar power, wood-based plastics for our product housings and innovative battery technologies that are not made of rare ressources.

You’ve just listed some of the aspects that make your technology and mission stand out. Do you create further added value?

We have used our many years of experience as founders in the off-grid solar sector to develop a unique solution tailored to our target markets. The systems can be used to operate household appliances (lamps, televisions, refrigerators) or support small local businesses without access to electricity. Compared to diesel generators and the connection to a power grid, we offer a cheaper and ecologically sustainable alternative.

The electricity produced by your systems is intended for the end consumer. Is your business model structured accordingly?

No, we are pursuing a different concept.Our experience has shown that vertically integrated B2C concepts with a regional focus are risky and prevent fast scaling. We therefore sell our products on a B2B basis to local distributors experienced in the target markets (currently West Africa). We also offer consulting services to distributors, NGOs and other international players.

In the beginning you talked about 1.2 billion people who currently live without access to electricity. What impact does such a lifestyle have?

Exactly, more than 1 billion of the world’s poorest people have no access to electricity. 600 million in sub-Saharan Africa alone. Most of them use fossil fuels, such as kerosene for light and diesel for generators. The lack of access to a clean and cost-effective electricity supply limits children’s educational opportunities, damages the health of families and offers only very limited opportunities to generate income.

You founded your company in 2018 and have already reached many milestones since then. Can you tell us more about it?

Since the end of 2018 we have been testing our solar power systems in two pilot projects with a total of 250 plants in Senegal and Cameroon. The first commercial production will take place next month. In parallel, we are currently developing a Microgrid module, which will be piloted next autumn. We were able to secure a seed investment from InnoEnergy, various grants and would now like to close our Series-A Funding at the end of June. For our solar home systems we were awarded with the “Digital Solar & Storage” Award and qualified for the global final round of “Empower a billion lives” by IEEE.

Thank you very much for the exciting interview, Felix. We think your project is great and wish you continued success! To start the serial production of your solution and further developments like e.g. solution business for Micro-Grids and the development and securing of Q&A processes, you are still looking for investors. You can find more about this in your EnergieLOFT Request.