December 10, 2021
But exactly how they plan to get there? Well, they still have to figure that out.
We know that our current efforts to stop global warming are not enough. And if we have any chance of reducing future emissions and limiting the global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, technology will have a crucial role to play.
In celebration of an upcoming collaboration between betahausX and Energy Challenge: German Startups for the Energy Transition, we’re featuring some of the top energy startups in Germany who are working towards a cleaner future. Energy Challenge is an acceleration program coming out of the Energy Partnership Chile-Alemania. It’s organised by AHK Chile and the State of Bavaria Office for South America and backed by powerhouse partners like WERK1, Fraunhofer Ventures, SpinLab, and Bayern. Apply here.
From seed round startups modernising buildings with efficiency in mind to unicorn companies rethinking mobility, these are the German energy startups to watch in 2022.
Green City Solutions is a Green-Tech pioneer from Berlin working on realising an extraordinary vision: to create urban spaces where people can live healthier. The core product - a moss-powered air filter - is based on the unique idea of combining nature with technology to improve air quality. Green City Solutions is manufacturing the world‘s first biotech filter, which quantifiably improves air quality. The “CityTree” product combines specific moss cultures that eat particulate matter (PM) and refreshes air by cooling and humidification.
The Greentech Alliance is an initiative started by the founders of Plan A. It brings together Greentech startups from all around the world, connected by the wish to push forward green business models, products, and methods to significantly reduce the negative impact of individuals and companies on our planet. The vision behind the Greentech Alliance is to support the member companies with funding, sales, marketing, partnership opportunities, impact advice. Since the initiative launched in Berlin, The Greentech Alliance has amassed 250+ green startup members from 60+ geographies and 200+ advisors from VCs from Silicon Valley, journalists from all over Europe, and public sector representatives.
According to Aedifion’s LinkedIn, buildings account for 40% of the energy consumption in industrialised countries. That’s why the Cologne startup is committed to developing tools for the cloud-based processing of operating data from building automation systems. Their vision is to enable cloud-based control and optimization of BATs. By creating interconnections between building operations, they’re able to correct for the volatility of renewable energy and contribute to the future energy system.
Hailing from Munich, Sono Motors is changing global mobility through electric vehicles with alternative power technologies. The company’s first product – an electric car called the “Sion” – includes photovoltaics (“Sono Solar”) in the chassis extending the car’s battery range of 305 km by 112 km on average per week. And since the vehicle is slated to hit the market in 2023, the company will surely be ramping things up in 2022.
Hawa Dawa – based in Munich – is a pre-seed startup global air quality platform that crowd-sources the data from IoT devices and satellites displaying the air pollution on interactive & realtime city maps. Hawa Dawa reaches the street-level granularity, enabling measurement of individual exposure to individual pollutants, and provides industry-specific products for the areas of intelligent traffic systems, mobility, health management, city planning, and others. While it’s still early days, the possible use cases for this technology are huge.
TIER Mobility is a fast-growing ride-sharing company based in Berlin. The company aims to reduce reliance on cars by creating a network of shared, light electric vehicles such as e-scooters, e-bikes, and e-mopeds. While they got their start in 2018, the company has already gotten seven rounds of funding amounting to $646.9M and reached the elusive unicorn status.
Enpal is another Berlin-based unicorn. Their motto? Digital, decentralised, and 100% renewable. The company enables homeowners to make the switch to solar by offering photovoltaics solar power systems with no money upfront. This benefits the homeowners with lower energy bills while reducing their carbon footprint. The company recently closed a round of Series C funding with SoftBank for $174M meaning 2022 could be bigger than ever for Enpal.
Based in Dresden, Sunfire develops and manufactures systems for renewable industrial gas and fuel production. Their substitutes – e-Gas, e-Ful, or e-Chemicals – allow existing infrastructures to run without fossil fuels. The company's vision is to “make regenerative energy from sources such as wind farms, hydropower plants, and photovoltaic systems available wherever and whenever it is needed — not just when the wind is blowing, the waves are crashing, or the sun is shining.” The company is currently developing Green Hydrogen for industrial-scale use, so keep your eyes out for them in the year ahead.
Zolar is another startup on the list offering homeowners photovoltaic systems. But where they shine is their online configurator. It allows homeowners to customise and get personal assistance for their PV. To use their words, “Zolar enables its customers to become energy providers for their own four walls, neutralise their carbon footprint and, in turn, make an effective contribution to climate protection.” With a fresh round of funding closed in November 2021, Zolar hopes to make solar energy more accessible and affordable for everyone.
Working out of Munich, Tado is a startup giving private homes and small businesses the power to “optimise energy consumption at home without sacrificing comfort.” They’re doing this through smart thermostats and apps that adjust to real-time behaviour, even considering weather and building design factors. Tado makes saving energy (and money) look pretty good with a sleek product design and an easy-to-use app.
Ecoworks taps into the power of industrial pre-fabrication, digital processes, and highly efficient energy systems to modernise and cut energy waste for multi-family homes. The company works as a contractor and takes care of every step, from submitting applications to providing the building with clean energy. Ecoworks is still at an early stage – they just closed their seed round in 2021 – but with projects going in several German cities, we look forward to seeing where the company lands in 2022.
After the solar panel installation is complete is when Solytic comes in. The post-installation solar platform helps solar panel users cut monitoring costs and receive data-driven advice on how to maximise performance. In the long term, the Berlin-based company aims to become the go-to digital platform for anyone looking to improve the performance and lifespan of their photovoltaics.
No list of energy startups to watch in Germany would be complete without mentioning Sonnen. Sonnen got their start in Wildpoldsried in 2010 and cemented their place as a powerhouse in intelligent lithium-based energy storage when Shell acquired them in 2019. The company is establishing a foothold in the US market with projects in Utah and California.
Lumenaza is a software solution for municipal utilities, project developers, energy cooperatives, and new energy players. Since 2016, they’ve been offering a “utility-in-a-box” software that enables them to provide the services of an energy service provider in a more modular and automated way. Using sophisticated algorithms, Lumenaza ensures a secure and balanced supply of green electricity in regional communities.
Ecoligo is bringing affordable, clean solar energy to businesses in emerging markets. The way it works is crowdinvesting. Projects have the opportunity to raise funding so they can use solar energy, and investors with as little as €100 can earn interest on a project they know is fossil fuel free.
1.5° Ventures is committed to bringing “entrepreneurs together to stop climate change at scale.” The Berlin-based climate tech builder is named after the necessity that we limit global warming to 1.5°C. One Five has the network and experience startups reducing climate emissions need to propel themselves ahead. Keep an eye on the startups coming out of their programs in 2022 for a look at the future.
VoltStorage calls itself the “next-generation battery system.” Founded in 2016, the team has become a leader in stationary flow batteries. They do this by creating solar energy storage systems based on Vanadium Redox Battery (VRB) technology. According to the company, as little as a third of the energy generated by home solar panels can be used, and storage is the missing link. That means the ability to store surplus solar to use during lower shine days. With a Series B round closed in 2021, we can expect the future of VoltStorage will be scaling up from home applications to larger commercial projects.