Deep Tech startup Nuventura closes funding round to enable an electricity grid without the strongest greenhouse gas in existence – SF6
Nuventura, a pioneer in sustainable electricity grid technologies, closes its seed investment round including E.ON, VC Fonds Technologie Berlin managed by IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft mbH, Apex Energy Teterow and existing investors, including experts from the industry such as Dr. Arndt Neuhaus and Dr. Kaveh Niayesh, or policy experts such as Dr. Christoph Wolff and Caio Koch-Weser. After the investment, several grants, loans and national and international innovation prizes won, the company now has a substantial 7-digit EUR amount at hand to realize its upcoming goals and milestones.
Nuventura will use the new investment to continue certifying its sustainable, patented technology for gas insulated switchgear for commercial application in the medium voltage range and to enter the market for switchgear technologies as a technology licensing company. The new funds will also be used to realize several installations of Nuventura’s technology in electricity grids in and outside Germany and to develop additional products based on the company’s patents.
The core principle of Nuventura’s technology is the avoidance of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) – the most potent greenhouse gas in existence – in its designs for gas insulated switchgear (GIS). GIS are a fundamental component of any electricity grid. Instead of SF6, Nuventura uses simple dry air in its switchgear design, while keeping all benefits of the SF6-technology.
SF6 has a global warming potential (GWP) of 23500, meaning that once released, its greenhouse effect is 23500 times stronger than the effect of CO2. It is a synthetic gas for which neither a natural sink exists, nor an effective disposal method is at hand, making its accumulation in the atmosphere virtually irreversible. On top of this, the gas is extremely long-lived: SF6’s atmospheric lifetime is 3,200 years. Because of its strong global warming effect, its actual emissions equal to the CO2 emissions of approximately 100 million cars per year. While 85% of the total global SF6 production is used inside gas insulated switchgear (GIS), Nuventura aims to replace this use case with its technology, to effectively abandon the use of SF6 at all.
“Our technology is currently unique in its market segment of medium voltage applications, because we managed to make it simpler and competitive with current technologies while adding additional benefits relevant for future smart grids.” says Manjunath Ramesh, co-founder and managing director of Nuventura. “We just use the air we breathe as a replacement of SF6. This simplifies production and operation substantially”, he adds.
“Our aim as an accelerator and seed investor is to partner with startups that developed trendsetting tech, have a great and diverse team and that are able to set up pilots with the E.ON businesses,” says Inga Land, Managing Director of :agile accelerator GmbH. “Nuventura brings all that along and we are looking forward to keep working with them. Apart from the investment, it is planned to launch a pilot project together with E.ON’s network operator E.DIS at a location near Berlin. “
As an ecologically responsible network operator, we are highly interested in finding alternatives to SF6 technology and actively contribute to climate protection.” states Dr. Alexander Montebaur, Chairman of the Board of E.DIS AG. “We consider the innovative approach of Nuventura as very promising.
Earlier this year, the electricity grid operator EWS Schönau already announced to install Nuventura’s technology in its grid in 2020.
“We are very happy to see a deep-tech company like Nuventura evolve in Berlin and strongly believe in its potential to shake up a whole industry from here. The case is very compelling for us and shows, that sustainable technologies and solid business cases can go hand in hand”, says Philipp Roth from IBB Bet.
About IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft
IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft (www.ibb-bet.de) provides venture capital to innovative Berlin-based companies and has established itself as a market leader in the field of early stage financing in Germany. The funds are used primarily for the development and market launch of innovative products or services, as well as for business concepts of creative industries. Currently two of the funds managed by the IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft are in the investment phase, the VC Fonds Technologie Berlin II with a fund size of 60 million euros and the VC Fonds Kreativwirtschaft Berlin II with a fund size of 40 million euros. Both VC funds are financed by means of the Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB) and the European Fund for Regional Development (EFRE) administered by the State Berlin. Since 1997 the IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft, in consortia with partners, has made 1.43 billion euros available to creative and technology-orientated companies; thereof, the portion invested by IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft itself, as lead, co-lead or co-investor, was approximately 200 million euros.
Colder outside, hotter at Nuventura
This autumn has been very busy for us and has led to many exciting developments that we want to share with you:
1. Successfully launched our first pilot!
We have launched our first pilot with Westnetz/Innogy that has been successfully running since August. Read more about it in an article by EnerGate.
2. Recognised as a thought leader in the industry:
Manjunath Ramesh presented Nuventura's switchgear together with our supporters from Westnetz at the CIGRE - the most important standardisation body for switchgear technologies
they also presented two posters about SF6-free technologies and innovative sensor concepts at the VDE-Hochspannung conference – a major technology platform on the latest innovations and tailor-made detailed solutions in the energy sector.
3. Won a bunch of awards:
got to top 100 most innovative startups in Germany (according to The Hundert magazine)
got to top 500 best deeptech startups worldwide (according to Hello Tomorrow)
received the StartGreen award of the Federal Environment Ministry
were selected as a German representative for the Cleantech Open Challenge in sunny San Francisco
received a sustainable development goals finalist prize by SDG Investment
4. FAZ and Forbes talk about us:
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote about Nuventura as one of the examples of how Berlin is a world leader in terms of technological innovation.
Forbes featured us as one of the 100 most innovative startups in Germany, based on the above-mentioned list by the Hundert.
We successfully launched our first pilot!
On Friday we visited Rheinberg to officially launch our joint pilot with Westnetz/Innogy. The aim of the pilot is to prove that with our technology it is possible to use air instead of SF6 in electricity grid (to be more precise, in its essential component - medium voltage gas insulated switchgear). Our switchgear was installed at the Westnetz station in Rheinberg and has been successfully operating for a couple of months already. The pilot is expected to run until August 2019 and has already shown some very promising results.
This milestone is very important to us and we are very grateful to our supporters from Westnetz/Innogy for the opportunity and the trust they granted us with. But more importantly, we are very happy to see that big players recognise the urge for green solutions and are ready to commit to finding green alternatives to SF6.
Every summer has a story and we are proud of ours
Writing a „how we spent our summer“ update couldn’t have been more pleasant – within the last three months we have managed to successfully complete a long-awaited milestone and make a big leap forward with some of Germany’s most promising accelerator programmes. We are very excited about the new opportunities they have opened for us and are especially grateful to all our supporters who have trusted us. Be sure to check out our news below and stay tuned to see what we will be up to during the autumn.
Successfully completed the E.ON's :agile accelerator
The three-month accelerator program, which we feel lucky to have been part of, provided us with funding, training, mentoring and networking. The culmination of the program was the #Entech Demo:Day, where we got the chance to present Nuventura in front of over 150 guests. The program was a hugely rewarding experience and we hope that it won't be the last collaboration between Nuventura and E.ON.
Got accepted into the Smart Green accelerator
Smart Green accelerator is an accelerator for startups involved in the green economy, with a particular focus on green engineering, energy, digital and lifestyle. We are very happy to have been accepted into the program and cannot wait to attend the coaching sessions in September in Freiburg!
Got into the pitching phase 3 of Climate-KIC's accelerator
Climate-KIC Accelerator is an EU acceleration program focused on climate impact. We have successfully completed two stages of the 18-month program and are due to soon pitch for the final, third stage. The pitching will take place in late September so keep your fingers crossed for us!