SET Awards 2018: Six Startups Working for the Global Energy Transition

This year's SET awards saw six companies from five different countries recognised for their climate change-tackling and energy-based innovations.

Author Lydia Skrabania:

Translation Lydia Skrabania, 04.30.18

The international platform Start Up Energy Transition (SET) is an initiative of the German Energy Agency that in cooperation with the World Energy Council, promotes innovation that helps to push forward the transition to renewable energies. The SET award recognises promising contributions that help speed up this transition and help tackle climate change. This year they received applications from more than 400 startups from 68 different countries, with a total of 18 ended up being nominated in six different categories. The winners of the SET Awards were announced on April 17th in Berlin’s Kraftwerk.

In the category Low-Carbon Energy Production the winner was Ionomr Innovations, a Canadian startup that develops and produces the ion-exchange membrane “Aemion”, used to enable cost-effective clean energy generation and storage and to treat and clean wastewater.

The prize for the category Intelligent Grids, Platforms & Cyber Security was awarded to the French company ForCity for its software platform for intelligent city planning. Using 4D simulations, they’re able to predict and construct the developments and challenges faced by the cities of the future and use them as the basis for informed and efficient urban planning.

In the category Energy Efficiency, Smart Devices & Storage the award went to the Berlin-based startup Coolar and their refrigerator that works even without electricity, but instead powered ingeniously by solar thermal energy and warm water. As well as being the ideal solution for how to store medicines and vaccines in a reliable way in off-grid areas, unlike other inefficient grid-powered alternatives, their cooling system is also completely carbon neutral.

A German/Estonian company scooped the prize in the Innovative Mobility category: Skeleton Technologies produce ultracapacitors and energy storage systems based on Graphene, an extremely resilient material made of carbon. Compared to other similar devices, their ultracapacitors provide four times the power density and two times the energy density. When applied to heavy vehicles, their tech increases fuel efficiency and achieves huge cuts in emissions.

There was also an award for the category Energy, Water, and Food. The winners here were SOLHO, a young company from the Netherlands that develops solar energy systems for greenhouses. Their system uses solar power, thermal energy and sea water to supply greenhouses with all they need when it comes to heating/cooling, fresh water and CO2 – completely without electricity.

In the sixth category, a special prize was awarded for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal #7 (sustainable energy for all). The winner here was the Kenyan social enterprise Acacia Innovations, who sell cheap and eco-friendly fuel made from sugarcane waste. Unlike firewood, which is used by many millions of people in the Global South to cook and heat their homes, Acacia’s Kuni Safi briquettes are almost completely smoke-free. They have a much smaller CO2 footprint as well, and no trees have to be chopped down produce them.

This is a translation by Marisa Pettit of an original article which first appeared on RESET’s German-language site.

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