German environmental protection entrepreneurship observation
Due to factors such as cultural diversity and talent accumulation, Berlin is not only Germany’s political and economic center, but also Germany’s entrepreneurial highland. According to information provided by the German Federal Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment, Berlin is the capital of the most dynamic start-up companies in Europe, and 90% of start-up companies are engaged in the latest product development and service support.
The EUREF Campus, a new energy technology park in southwestern Berlin, is a blessing for Berlin's energy-saving and environmentally-friendly start-up companies. More than 100 years ago, this large-scale gas field was built on the land of 11 football fields, which provided energy for Berlin’s urban development. Today, it has become a testing ground for the German energy revolution. Many environmental startups, research institutes and municipal projects have gathered here.
Reinhard Müller, a well-known real estate developer in Berlin, is the promoter of the EUREF Campus. After the nuclear accident in Fukushima in 2011, Reinhard Müller felt deeply involved. He believes that mankind should rely on new energy rather than nuclear energy to meet the needs of survival and development, and hope to do something to promote the application and development of new energy.
At that time, the government had an urgent hope for promoting the use of new energy. The two sides hit it off and Reinhard Müller took the land for 1 million euros from the Berlin municipal government. His plan is a total investment of 600 million euros to transform the old coal gas plant into a pilot area for new energy.
At present, Reinhard Müller's transformation and construction of the park has shown results. It is understood that EUREF Campus has settled in more than 2,500 employees in more than 100 companies. The park basically achieves self-sufficiency in solar energy, wind power and other clean energy sources.
“Reinhard Müller is smart and full of vision. On the one hand, he can make use of his own real estate operation experience to make money through renting the site. On the other hand, the arrival of park companies can create thousands of jobs, and companies can easily interact with each other. It has a good interactive effect. After mature projects such as electric bus, it can be implemented in cities, which can promote the use of clean energy in the city,” said a person with whom Reinhard Müller had contact.
Collaborative trials of infrastructure platforms
Berlin's Infralab, a sustainable urban development intelligent traffic experiment project, is a project platform that is located in the park and is jointly funded by companies in Berlin that are responsible for six infrastructures such as public transportation, water, and natural gas.
“The six companies originally did not cooperate in this form and there are even some competing relationships. However, through Infralab, they have found the opportunity for cooperation and sharing to jointly promote thematic research and bring value-added results to the development of the company.” Infralab PR Maike Hank, director of the department, explained that their research themes centered on four aspects: electric traffic technology, circular economy, technology related to digitalization, and climate protection.
Maike Hank said that since these six companies are all old Berlin companies, the forms of work have a traditional fixed model, so they will be more difficult when they start their cooperation. However, with the intensive discussion and gathering, the six companies have deepened their understanding and understanding, and they have established trust and cooperation relationships from small projects.
In addition to promoting research collaboration between six companies, Infralab also supports startups. "If the startup's products are related to our research themes, we will provide them with free office space to help them show off new products for R&D. If the company needs financing, we will help," said Maike Hank.
Infralab's support for startups is not to seek returns, but rather that startups with ideas and technologies can survive in the initial stages and provide opportunities for the development of their products and technologies. During the year and a half of Infralab's launch, five or six start-ups have been helped by the platform. There are both public welfare projects that return to green nature, and high-tech projects.
SirPlus is one of the start-up companies with the theme of reducing food waste. The company has introduced more food into recyclable systems through cooperation with manufacturers, farmers and wholesalers.
"In fact, the problem of wasting food exists all over the world, but Germany has a rather special reason is strict food shelf life. Our shelf life means that after food expires, the taste is not as good as when it was just produced, not After the expiration date, the food is inedible, but people seem to have developed a habit of throwing out expired food,” said the person in charge of Sir Plus.
SirPlus collects these expired foods at a lower price and sells them to consumers at a discount of 30% to 70% after being tested by professional food technicians. "The company's current revenue can basically cover expenditures. We don't do this for profit, but we want people to reduce food waste and pay more attention to the value of food," said the person in charge.
The start-up project is planned to introduce venture capital to expand development
Compared to SirPlus, which does not have a clear profit target, Solmove is a startup that combines environmental protection and commercialization. The company was established in 2014 and mainly produces photovoltaic panels that can be laid on streets. Founder Donald Mueller-Judex had previously founded two software companies and the founding team currently has four employees. Starting in August last year, the company received Infralab's support and received a free-to-use office.
“Traditional solar photovoltaic panels are laid on the roof and there is no more space to use. So we want to produce solar photovoltaic modules that can be laid on streets and roads without affecting the driving of cars. Because of the special material design, The noise of the car driving on the surface of the panel is lower than on the general road surface,” said Annemarie Botzki, head of the international exchange department of the company.
Annemarie Botzki told reporters in the 21st Century Business Herald that in the past four years, the company mainly cooperated with scientific research institutions to conduct research on pressure resistance, damage resistance, and slip resistance of products. At present, the R&D phase is basically mature, and the first product will be installed and tested in the park.
According to a document she provided, the photodynamic planning project was launched in Germany, China, the United States, South Korea and Dubai. In China, for the construction of the 2022 Winter Olympics from Beijing to Zhangjiakou, the speed of light is also planned to participate. Annemarie Botzki said that the company is currently receiving a contract of intent. If the 100-meter trial line in this fall passes the acceptance, it will get the order.
On a global scale, there are four other companies that are doing the same in addition to the light motion. However, Annemarie Botzki believes that these competitor's products are either installed in complex or technical aspects, and the light-moving products show more advantages. “For example, our products are smart surface designs. These grooves are directional. The angle of sunlight is not the same throughout the day. Through the angled grooves, our products can absorb solar heat as much as possible.” She Say.
Although the customer first purchases, he will feel that the price of the light-moving product is higher. However, Annemarie Botzki said that the light-moving products have higher durability, and the cost will decline in the long run. "Our product life is about 25 years, and we can recover the cost when the product is used to 13 years or so," she said.
Due to the research and development of products in the past four years, the total investment of the company is only 500,000 Euros. Of these, 100,000 came from start-up subsidies provided by the state government, and 400,000 came from private capital raised by the founders. However, in order to expand the production of equipment for purchase, the company will introduce venture capital.
Annemarie Botzki told reporters that in June this year, the company will conduct an estimated 400,000 euros angel round of financing. In September, the company will introduce venture capital in a wider range. The amount of financing is expected to be 2 million euros.