Which companies based in Europe are acquiring tech startups

Cleantech startups: These are the champions from Germany

The renowned Cleantech 100 Report is published every autumn. It brings together startups from all over the world who are developing technologies to produce energy that is less damaging to the climate or the environment, to avoid waste, to save and clean water or to turn the transport sector inside out.

The initiators of the report - the Cleantech Group, which brings together startups and large companies for cooperation - are concerned with selecting the most innovative green technology companies. On the one hand, the technologies themselves play a role, but also their opportunities on the market.

The companies are selected by a prominent jury, which includes representatives from companies such as BMW, ABB, GE and Evonik. About half of the experts come from the technical field and the other half from the finance and investment sector.

The 84-member jury has now selected its winners for 2014 from almost 6,000 nominated companies. In the end, almost 30 percent of the cleantech best-of came from Europe and Israel. The majority is based in the United States. This is not surprising either, there are also more investors there who are taking money into their hands to support startups.

There are also five German companies among the 100 finalists:

Wherever engines are running, gigantic amounts of waste heat are generated. So far, this has mostly fizzled out into the environment unused. Duisburg-based O-Flexx Technologies and his technology director Gerhard Span want to change that and tap the waste heat as an inexpensive source of energy. Your matchhead-sized thermal generators generate electricity from temperature differences. Special nano-coatings developed by O-Flexx do this so effectively that this form of energy generation becomes economical for the first time (more on this here).

The startup based in Berlin and its 60 employees have been testing for about six years how various battery technologies can best be integrated into an energy system that mainly relies on renewable energies. Younicos recently put the first large battery into operation in Germany together with the North German electricity supplier Wemag. It compensates for fluctuations in the power grid. With further projects, Younicos also wants to make entire islands energy self-sufficient. Solar and wind power would then be stored by the batteries for times when there is no green power.

The startup from Oberallgäu is one of the pioneers in the home battery market and started developing its own memory in 2008 (the cells for this come from Asia). With the company's latest battery, owners of a solar system should be able to produce and store their own electricity at a cost of around 30 cents per kilowatt hour. This means that privately generated electricity costs about as much as that from the socket.

The Dresden-based startup wants to produce hydrogen from excess green electricity. In a further step, this can be combined with carbon dioxide to create a liquid fuel that cars or airplanes can refuel. Sunfire has meanwhile gained a number of large companies as partners and is currently working on a pilot system.

These are simply too expensive for a breakthrough in electric cars. But there are also no charging stations where drivers can fill the empty batteries with electricity. The Berlin startup Ubitricity wants to counteract this deficiency with charging stations that are built into street lamps. That is much cheaper than installing new charging stations. The Berlin administration is not yet really enthusiastic about the idea. The startup had to give its first charging stations to the city so that they could even be installed.

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