A Powerful Green Innovation

Across the country, there are hosts of start-ups developing cutting-edge solutions in the energy sector. Instagrid, a company from Ludwigsburg in southwest Germany which makes clean portable power solutions, is one example of German creativity in the area.

April 2021

While working for Bosch in the electronics and battery division, Andreas Sedlmayr and Sebastian Berning noticed that whenever they were deployed outside, electricity was a major headache. It gave them an idea. Construction sites rely on diesel generators to provide power, but they are big environmental offenders. “They emit one hundred times more toxins than a car,” says Berning.

It was a lightbulb moment which resulted in the birth of instagrid. The start-up, which also has an office in Helsinki, makes 15kg industrial batteries that cause zero local emissions and can last an entire day, whether they’re powering a jackhammer or a music festival’s PA system.

Instagrid has exploited Germany’s engineering expertise and its proximity to customers in the Netherlands and Scandinavia. In 2020, it won the prestigious Start Up Energy Transition Award and has attracted the interest of investors. “They’re actively looking in Germany because they know the technology is here,” says Sedlmayr.

Replacing diesel generators with instagrid’s carbonneutral batteries to provide power for market stalls is just one of the initiatives the city of Stuttgart has launched to increase climate protection. © Felix Fuchs/instagrid

Powerful potential backers

Indeed, instagrid is just one of a raft of start-ups in Germany working to provide sustainable energy solutions. “There are a lot of homegrown start-ups,” says Germany Trade & Invest’s cleantech expert Robert Compton. “That shows that the conditions here are right.”

That’s no accident. Germany is at the heart of Europe’s energy industry, with countless young companies developing not only digital innovations for existing energy products but also hardware to solve future energy needs. Environmental awareness is an integral part of German culture, and the government is committed to decarbonizing the country’s energy supply by 2050. Also, the country produces a lot of well-trained engineers, many of whom are keen to start out in the cleantech sector.

Energy heavyweights such as German companies E.ON and RWE as well as Sweden’s Vattenfall, which is heavily involved in Germany, are actively looking for start-ups to promote innovation. So, the chances for small German-based energy companies to scale up have never been better.

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