Global start-ups shine at SET Award 2018

Posted on 19 April 2018

Start Up Energy Transition (SET), an initiative by the Deutsche Energie-Agentur – the German Energy Agency (dena) in cooperation with the World Energy Council, has announced the winners of the SET Award 2018. The finalists were awarded for the most promising contributions to the energy transition and climate protection in six categories: Ionomr Innovations (Canada) in the category Low-Carbon Energy Production; ForCity (France) in the category Intelligent Grids, Platforms & Cyber Security; Coolar (Germany) in the category Energy Efficiency, Smart Devices & Storage; Skeleton Technologies (Germany) in the category Innovative Mobility; SOLHO (Netherlands) in the category Energy, Water, and Food; Acacia Innovations (Kenya) in the special prize category SDG-7, UN-target Sustainable Energy for All.

Andreas Kuhlmann, Chief Executive of dena, praised the high quality of this year’s winners and participants: “The SET Award 2018 shows that energy transition and climate protection are attracting some of the best young entrepreneurs worldwide. I am, of course, especially proud of the winners. But the competition in general was truly amazing. Many participants showed a high level of innovation, ambition and expertise. This is exactly what we need on our way to a sustainable energy future. They are all invited to stay involved in our SET initiative. It provides a rapidly growing network for businesses that want to contribute to the global energy transition.”

The winners were awarded their prizes in Berlin on 17 April at a joint evening reception of the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue, the SET Tech Festival and the energy blockchain conference ‘EventHorizon’.  An international jury selected the winners from more than 400 applications from 68 countries. 18 start-ups competed in the finals and presented their ideas at the SET Tech Festival on 16 April.

Frei, Secretary General of the World Energy Council, commented : “The number one issue keeping innovators awake at night is blockchain as well as the internet of things, while renewables keep them busy at work. Other priority areas are market design and electric storage. The winners of the SET Award 2018 show they have powerful ideas to handle these issues, which are critical to the energy transition.”

About the winners

Ionomr Innovations, Canada (Category 1: Low-Carbon Energy Production): Ionomr designs, adapts and manufactures ion-exchange membranes to enable cost-effective clean energy generation and storage, wastewater treatment and industrial processes. Their membrane technology has a high potential impact on the market. It could not just change one sector within energy, but transform the energy transition itself. Its scalability potential is large. Its non-hazardous byproducts create further added value for the environment.

ForCity, France (Category 2: Intelligent Grids, Platforms & Cyber Security): ForCity provides urban decision makers in various sectors like district heating and cooling and water a software suite to simulate how their city could change over the next decades and to plan sustainable decisions. Their 4D simulations allow users to forecast and account for grid instabilities and energy transition challenges of the future. This systematic software approach has broad applications that match ever increasing urbanisation and city management demand.

Coolar, Germany (Category 3: Energy Efficiency, Smart Devices & Storage): Coolar is working on an electricity-independent and instead, solar-heat-powered, water-based refrigerator, to, for example, cool vaccines in remote areas without grid access. Their cooling technology presents a solution to one of the key determinants of climate-damaging emissions: inefficient refrigerants. Additionally, their technology displays potential for wide applications throughout sectors and regions that are in a real need of cooling breakthroughs.

Skeleton Technologies, Germany (Category 4: Innovative Mobility): Skeleton Technologies is a manufacturer of graphene-based ultracapacitors and energy storage systems. Their ultracapacitors offer four times the power density and two times the energy density of their competitors, displaying an innovative leap to the technology. When applied to heavy vehicles, their system increases fuel efficiency and results in dramatic cuts in the emissions associated with heavy trucking.

SOLHO, Netherlands (Category 5: Energy, Water and Food): SOLHO develops off-grid solar-based energy systems to power greenhouse-based horticultural projects, thus helping to provide food for a growing world population with fewer resources and reduced environmental impact. Their system uses solar power and thermal storage to harness sun and seawater to generate all the needs of greenhouses. This represents an answer to the energy, water and food trilemma that many in the world face day-to-day.

Acacia Innovations, Kenya (Category 6: Special Prize: SDG-7, UN-target Sustainable Energy for All): Acacia Innovations makes modern and clean cooking affordable for schools in Kenya. It supplies cooking fuel and cookstoves by using a subscription model that has allowed Acacia to gain the status as the largest market operator. Corresponding to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 7, it helps provide sustainable energy for all, while also decreasing pollutants by using briquettes made of sugar cane waste.

More information on the SET initiative, the SET Tech Festival and the SET Award with its winners and finalists can be found at www.startup-energy-transition.com.