Best of 2022
Throughout 2022, this website featured more than 300 articles and videos about Germany as a business and high-tech location. Below is a list so that you can catch up on anything you might have missed. We hope that you will discover some interesting articles and that you’ll take the opportunity to revisit reports you enjoyed reading.
© donvictori0 – stock.adobe.com
Despite rising energy costs and other global disruptions resulting from Russia’s war against Ukraine, more international companies expanded to Germany in 2022 than the previous year. That’s according to Robert Hermann, the CEO of Germany Trade & Invest, Germany international business promotion agency.
For years, economic development in eastern Germany has lagged behind the rest of the country, but a series of massive business expansion projects is turning the tide. The national government’s commissioner for eastern Germany, Carsten Schneider, discusses the growing momentum in those regions.
Contemporary Amperex Technology Thuringia (CATT) has begun serial production of lithium-ion cells in the heart of Europe. It’s the first time the Chinese parent company CATL has produced outside its home country.
A Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) aboard the ship Esperenza is now in operation in the northern German town of Wilhelmshaven.
Researchers at the University of Leipzig have succeeded in reconstructing an RNA polymerase as it likely existed roughly two billion years ago. The prehistoric protein represented a major step in evolution because unlike its precursors, it didn’t work continuously and was thus more effective, as modern-day enzymes are.
Shanghai-based AutoFlight is opening its European headquarters in the Bavarian city of Augsburg. The Chinese start-up combined innovative materials with cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence, automatized flight and 5G.
The German capital has climbed one spot in the Startup Blink platform’s annual list of the world’s best locations for start-ups.
Australia’s Pure Battery Technologies (PBT) is set to commence construction of a new test plant in the city of Hagen in early 2023. The facility will produce primary cathode material. The goal is to make 15,000 tons annually – or enough for 150,000 mid-sized electric-vehicle batteries.
Germany means business! And now GTAI has its very own podcast. Once a month “INTO GERMANY” will bring you an in-depth look a hot topic plus the top business stories from Europe’s largest economy.
For decades, the United States and Asia have dominated semiconductor production. But now Germany is poised to become one of the leading chip makers in Europe and the world. With the ongoing global microchip shortage, it’s high time for such a shift.
Germany’s high level of innovation, large domestic market and rapidly growing renewable energy capacity are attracting international cleantech businesses. Solar parks, wind farms and hydrogen plants are popping up all over the country, accompanied by an electromobility boom.
It’s an innovation that fires the imagination and could have massive medical potential. Young Berlin company Cellbricks has successfully employed additive manufacturing to create simple, living human tissue.
On November 3, the federal German government reached an accord with the country’s six northernmost regional states and grid operators 50Hertz, Amprion and TenneT to dramatically increase the country’s wind energy output.
US chemicals giant Dow is teaming up with British recycling company Mura Technology to build a massive new plastic recycling plant in the town of Böhlen in the eastern German regional state of Saxony.
The eastern German city of Cottbus near the Polish border has approved a proposal to construct a 21-megawatt-peak floating solar electricity production site. It will be the largest facility of its kind in the country.
Germany’s digital industry association Bitkom predicts that expenditures in the country for IT security will rise from EUR 6.9 billion in 2021 to EUR 10.3 billion in 2025. That’s the main conclusion of a new study published to coincide with the start of the IT security trade fair it-sa in Nuremberg.
Spanish-German company Siemens Gamesa has constructed a prototype wind turbine that could redefine the standards for wind electricity generation.
Germany wants to put the pedal to the metal in terms of its electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The Minister of Digital and Transportation (BMDV) and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) have drawn up a new “masterplan” to further encourage electro-mobility on Germany’s roads.
Changes to the law at the start of the New Year, providers of to-go food – caterers, delivery services and restaurants – will be required to offer reusable packages. It’s one of many rules intended to cut down on plastic and other harmful waste. But the regulations also open up a new niche for international companies to do business in Germany.
At the end of August, Canada and Germany concluded a major agreement that will see German companies importing Canadian-produced green hydrogen. Germany Trade & Invest Director Canada Daniel Lenkeit talks about what’s in the deal for both sides.
The northern German regional state of Lower Saxony is home to a world first: a completely hydrogen-driven passenger rail service. The fourteen H2 trains on the line shuttle between the northern German cities of Cuxhaven, Bremervörde and Buxtehude replaced fifteen diesel-powered ones.
Erlangen company Fluence Energy and TransnetBW, the transmission system operator in the regional state of Baden-Württemberg, have announced the start of work on 250 megawatt battery-based energy storage-as-transmission project.
With Germany phasing out coal-based power , alternative opportunities and sectors are opening up in the country’s traditional mining areas. As part of the government initiatives to support that transition , the Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) says more than EUR three billion will be invested in two major research centers in the east of the country.
Germany’s transition to clean energy has been on the political agenda for years, but geopolitical developments have given it an unprecedented urgency. For businesses, this means a flurry of new opportunities, supported by lots of state funding and private investment.
US News and World Report’s annual list of the world’s best countries is out, and Germany trailed only Switzerland according to a variety of metrics. The criteria used by the American magazine were Adventure, Agility, Cultural Influence, Entrepreneurship, Heritage, Movers, Open for Business, Power, Social Purpose and Quality of Life.
Research institute Fraunhofer ISE says that before the end of September Germany had already generated more than 52.4 terawatt hours of solar electricity. That’s more than in all of 2021 or 2020, the previous record year with just over 50 TWh.
The Association of Researching Pharmaceutical Companies (vfa) says 36 newly approved medications have been introduced to the German market in 2022. That continues the strong innovation trend from 2021, when 46 new medicines were introduced in the calendar year, vfa added.
Scientists at the University of Leipzig have identified an enzyme, PHL7, that degrades PET plastic much more rapidly than previously believed possible. The discovery could revolutionize the recycling of PET plastic.
The Association of Researching Pharmaceutical Companies (vfa) says 36 newly approved medications have been introduced to the German market in 2022. That continues the strong innovation trend from 2021, when 46 new medicines were introduced in the calendar year, vfa added.
Digitalization, the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence are rapidly remaking the logistics and supply chain sectors. The German market for international providers of logistics solutions is heating up – stoked by the coronavirus pandemic and growth in e-commerce.
German R&D often takes place outside of the “ivory towers” of universities at independent institutions like the Fraunhofer and Max Planck societies and the Helmholtz and Leibniz associations. They are technology hothouses, partnering with industry to develop cutting-edge solutions.
The founders of Celonis © Celonis
Process mining and optimization company Celonis from Munich has become the first start-up in Germany to crack the EUR 10 billion valuation mark.
According to the Global Data Investment Monitor, Germany attracted more foreign direct investment than any other country in 2021. The Investment Monitor recorded 1537 projects, compared with 1517 for the United States in second place.
Germany’s Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action has concluded a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with energy giants Uniper, RWE and EnBW/VNG on the liquid natural gas (LNG) terminals under construction in Brunsbüttel and Wilhelmshaven.
According to figures from the Federation of the German Heating Industry (BDH), 25 percent more new heat pumps were delivered in the country in the first half of 2022 than in the same period the year before. The raw numbers rose from 76,500 to 96,000, and heat pumps’ share of the market went from 17 to 21 percent.
American semiconductor manufacturer GlobalFoundries has announced a massive new investment in its production facility in the eastern German city of Dresden. The project will be worth at least USD one billion.
German chemicals multinational BASF has begun construction on a test plant for recycling batteries in the town of Schwarzheide of the eastern regional state of Brandenburg. The new facility represents an expansion of the company’s activities in this area.
The German capital is famous for its start-up scene and trumps the rest of the country – and most European capitals – when it comes to investments. That’s why international venture capital funds are flocking there.
On January 1, 2022, the latest investment incentive funding map from the Joint Task Program for Europe came into effect. Michael Schnabel, Germany Trade & Invest’s senior manager for Finance & Incentives, tells us what it means for businesses in Germany.
American semiconductor manufacturer Vishay is enlarging its production facilities in the northern German city of Itzehoe. The company has purchased three-hectare plot of land as part of a EUR 300 million project to expand its capacities.
As of August 1, it is now possible to form private limited liability companies (GmbHs) or entrepreneurial and limited liability entrepreneurial companies (UGs) entirely digitally. Previous founders were required to appear in person. But now they can make use of video conferences.
© Sono Motors
“Celebrate the Sun” was the theme of the bash thrown by Munich automotive startup Sono Motors as they unveiled the production model of their flagship vehicle, the Sion, before more than 2000 solar vehicle enthusiasts. The company touts the car as the world’s “first affordable solar electric vehicle.
Germany has already established itself as the hub of supercomputing in Europe.
Estonian maker of supercapacitors Skeleton Technologies has committed to a major five-year investment in the Leipzig suburb of Markranstädt in eastern Germany. The company will spend EUR 220 million on a fully automated, digitalized manufacturing plant that will utilize technology from German electronics giant Siemens.
A 92-year-old retired mechanical engineer from Leipzig in Saxony has designed a novel wind turbine that experts say could generate up to 200 percent more electricity than conventional ones.
Branded consumerism and the circular economy may seem like odd bedfellows on the surface. But Estonian company Fairown, which is expanding to Germany, believes the future lies in offering products as services, not one-off purchases. It’s way of breaking the “buy, use, throw away” cycle. Fairown CEO Hendrik Roosna tells us how his company is trying to shift brands to circularity.
The stunning pictures of space made by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) have caused jaws to drop across planet Earth. And they are themselves the result of a global effort led by NASA but also including the European and Canadian space agencies.
In March, Intel announced it would be building a billion-euro new microchip production facility in the eastern German city of Magdeburg. Intel Germany’s managing director Christin Eisenschmid tells Markets Germany how this record foreign direct investment came about.
The German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action has allocated EUR 16.66 million for a pilot facility, called “LiBinfinity,” to reuse lithium-ion batteries. The facility will be built at Mercedes Benz’s Kuppenheim location and have an annual capacity of 2500 tons.
The German Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Justice have announced sweeping reforms aimed at making it easier for start-ups, high-growth companies and small to medium-sized companies to access capital markets.
The results of the 2022 Startup Heat Map are in, and Berlin has again been voted the best place for fledgling businesses in Europe. The list, based on a geographically weighted survey of more than 24,000 founders also included Munich at number eight, and Hamburg, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Cologne at numbers 33, 39, 45 and 50 respectively.
The federal German government’s agency for international business promotion is joining the Instaverse.
Germany’s Federal Statistical Office reports impressive rises in the number of businesses and households getting electricity from solar installation. The number of solar power stations installed in March 2022 was up 10.1 percent, and the installed capacity 9.7 percent, year on year. 2.2 million photovoltaic power stations are now installed in Germany.
Germany’s excellence as a research and scientific location has been further bolstered by the news that the country’s most prominent computer center in Jülich will receive Europe’s first Exascale supercomputer.
Coronavirus restrictions have provided a huge boost to the digital learning sector in Germany, shaking the country out of its traditional approach to education. Online learning companies can now benefit from a range of government programs.
Ground has been broken south of Leipzig at the site of what will become 650 MW, 500-hectare photovoltaic facility. The solar park is being constructed at a former brown coal opencast mine.
Researchers at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC) in Berlin have identified a gene, EBAG9, that “disarms” the immune response to cancer cells. By switching off the gene, scientists believe they can better harness the body’s T cells for targeted immunotherapies.
Germany is undergoing a sea change in construction. The Federal Statistical Office says that over half (50.6 percent) of new residential buildings in the country last year used heat pumps as their primary heating source.
Experts agree that artificial intelligence (AI) will be one of the major technologies of the future. But AI is no longer just something from Silicon Valley. Germany is emerging as the ideal location for providers in Europe.
Germany’s digital transformation has lagged behind some of its European neighbors in recent years. The new coalition government has made it a priority to change this, offering innovative digital solutions providers a competitive edge.
The founders of BioNTech, Ugur Sahin (left) and Özlem Türeci © BioNTech
The just-published “Migrant Founders Monitor” commissioned by Germany’s Startup Association and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation shows how international the country’s entrepreneurial scene has become. Researchers found that 22 percent of start-up founders have an immigrant background – with 59 percent of that group being born outside Germany.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF, working with Varian Medical Systems, have come up with a novel system for tumor radiotherapy. It makes precise 3D images of tumors, so that doctors can kill cancer cells with minimal damage to surrounding tissue.
As part of its drive to push connectivity in Germany, the government has pledged to dramatically expand the country’s fiber optic network, especially in rural and remote areas. Start-up One Fiber from the southwestern city of Mainz has an innovative idea for how to do this: use Germany’s extensive rail system.
New numbers concerning the manufacturing of electric vehicles reveal the breadth of the transformation of mobility and the automotive sector in Germany. According to the Federal Statistical Office, 86 percent more EVs were produced in 2021 compared with the previous year. Exports rose by 92 percent over the same period.
Liquid natural gas (LNG) has emerged as an important element of Germany’s immediate strategy to diversify and secure its energy supply. The government has, for instance, promised to get four floating LNG terminals up and running as soon as possible, perhaps by the end of the year. And the greater emphasis on LNG is already benefiting companies from aboard.
From summer 2021 most COVID restrictions were lifted in the UK, marking a gradual, ongoing return to normalcy. A number of companies took the opportunity to revisit and restart investment projects in Germany that had been put on hold. According to Germany Trade & Invest’s 2021 FDI Report, 140 firms set up operations in Germany last year – a significant increase on the 103 expansions in 2020 but still well below the post-Brexit peak of 185 in 2019. Robert Scheid, director of GTAI’s London Office, discusses the latest trends.
Germany’s Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck was personally on hand in the northern city of Wilhelmshaven as work commenced on the country’s first-ever liquid natural gas (LNG) terminal. Construction has been predicted to take until between the end of the year and ten months.
Not one but two German-based companies have broken through the prestigious USD one billion valuation mark: Taxfix and OneFootball, both from Berlin.
Germany’s single-cell biotechnology sector is transforming cancer treatments by shining a light on the genetic activity of individual cells. It’s also advancing our understanding of how our immune defences respond to Covid-19.
The coronavirus pandemic didn’t slow down the growth of fintechs in Germany – and may have even helped it. That’s the result of research carried out by the business magazines Finanz-Szene and Finance Forward using data from the German national government’s official registry.
Woodlands around the world are suffering from the effects of climate change, so reforestation is set to become increasingly important. Berlin start-up Skyseed has developed a system of using drones to seed damaged areas.
More and more electric vehicles were among the newly registered cars in Germany in Q1 2022. According to the government motor transport authority KBA, EVs accounted for 44.5 percent of new cars – 18 percent higher than over the same period in 2021.The percentage of purely battery electric vehicles (BEVS) reached 13.4 – a 35 percent increase over a year ago.
Medical technology leads the way in our bimonthly round-up of the biggest venture capital deals involving firms from Germany. But logistics, greentech and fintech companies also booked nine-figure funding rounds.
When it took office late last year, the new German government promised to introduce wide-ranging legislation by Easter to accelerate the transition to clean energy. The so-called “Easter Package” delivers on that pledge. Rob Compton, Germany Trade & Invest Senior Manager for Energy, Construction and Environmental Technologies breaks down the legislation.
The developers of the Neuconnect Interconnector – a novel 720-kilometer land and underwater cable link between the United Kingdom and Germany – have announced that EUR 1.9 billion will go to Italy’s Prysmian Group and German multinational Siemens. It will run from the Isle of Grain in Kent in the UK to the northern German state of Lower Saxony.
2021 was a very good year for the gaming sector in Germany. The German Games Industry Association (game) has calculated that revenue software, online fees and hardware shot up 17 percent last year over already records levels in 2020. Total turnover was EUR 9.8 billion.
Construction is starting on 25 low-income houses in Windhoek, Namibia. It’s not the sort of announcement that would attract much attention beyond the local news. But this is no ordinary project. The houses in question are being constructed with innovative modular polymer concrete blocks made by German company PolyCare.
In the first week of April, Berlin’s Grover became the latest German unicorn after raising USD 330 million in Series C funding. The young company rents, refurbishes and re-rents electronic devices. Taking advantage of the trend toward “rent not buy” and the circular economy, Grover said the latest capital infusion took its total value over USD one billion.
The German capital is launching a test initiative that will see 200 streetlights modified to serve as charging stations for electric vehicles.
Late March was a hugely influential and promising stretch for Germany’s efforts to create an industrial-scale hydrogen economy.
Primobius, a joint venture between Australian company Neometals and Germany’s SMS group, has inaugurated a demonstration plant for recycling lithium-ion batteries in the western German town of Hilchenbach.
German logistics company Zeitfracht Group has ordered 17 delivery drones made by hot young start-up Wingcopter, with an option for an addition 115 in the next two years. The aircraft will come into use for offshore deliveries as of the second half of 2024, for example, to bring spare parts to offshore windfarms.
Germany’s transition to a clean energy future has picked up additional momentum after the Russian attack on Ukraine. Thomas Grigoleit, Germany Trade & Invest Director of Energy, Construction and Environmental Technologies discusses what the short- and medium-term future will hold.
Good help can be hard to find, as many businesses discovered in 2021. Service robots are increasingly being adopted in countries where wages are high and labor shortages threaten many economic sectors.
Russia’s attack on Ukraine is leading Germany to seek energy security and independence from imported Russian natural gas, oil and coal. Now the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) has published a rough timetable of when major shifts in German energy supplies could be achieved.
Wheel.Me from Oslo has designed what it says is the world’s first autonomous logistics wheel combining robotics, indoor navigation technology and data analytics. The scale-up has just taken this innovative idea to Germany, establishing a subsidiary near the logistics hub of Frankfurt. We spoke with Wheel.Me’s Chief Commercial Officer Daniel Hessen about his company’s new take on humankind’s oldest invention.
The United Arab Emirates and Germany have agreed to cooperate on a number of major hydrogen projects involving companies from both nations.
March 22, 2022 will go down as a major date in German automotive history, as US electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla inaugurated its first-ever European gigafactory in the regional state of Brandenburg outside the German capital.
A study in the journal Nature-Scientific Reports has shown that cold atmospheric plasmajet (CAP-jet) is far more salutary than the standard best-practice treatment of wounds.
German Vice-Chancellor and Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck is travelling to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates on March 19-21 for talks concerning cooperation on energy, specifically hydrogen and liquid natural gas. The discussions come as Germany reassesses the amounts of natural gas and other energy sources it imports from Russia.
Business software company Staffbase from Chemnitz in eastern Germany has joined the ranks of firms valued USD 1 billion or more. That’s after a funding round of EUR 106 million from investors including General Atlantic and Insight Partners.
VW has announced plans to construct a major new production facility for electric vehicles near its main plant in Wolfsburg. Work on the project, which will cost EUR 2 billlion, could begin as early as spring 2023, with the carmaker’s Trinity model to start rolling off production lines by 2026.
According to preliminary calculations by the Federal Statistical Office, Germany put EUR 105.9 billion into R&D in 2020, over three percent of the country’s gross domestic product. Those numbers were slightly lower than in 2019, but the amount spent by non-university research institutions rose by four percent to EUR 15.6 billion.
Researchers at the Technical University of Chemnitz and Dresden’s Leibniz Institute IFW have constructed a battery the size of a dust particle. Scientists at the Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry were also involved in the project, which is being touted as the world’s tiniest battery.
Wandelbots, a high-flying start-up from the eastern German city of Dresden, has ascended to the next financial level with a funding round of USD 84 million.
1400 degrees Celsius and 200 MPa – nearly enough heat to melt iron and the pressure of a luxury car resting on the point of a finger. Those are the impressive specs of the Hot Isostatic Press (HIPpe) at Bremen’s ECOMAT technology center.
One of the most promising areas in the fight against cancer is so-called CAR-T therapies. At its core are genetically engineered chimeric antigen receptor T cells that allow the immune system to specifically target cancer cells.
Researchers at Max Delbrück Centre for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in Berlin have identified rare gene variants that increase susceptibility to the skin disease eczema. They published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Together with his team, Professor of Physics Michael Saliba, the director of the Institute for Photovoltaics at the University of Stuttgart, has come up with a technology that could revolutionize solar power production.
Venture capital funding rose across the board in 2021, but one of the sectors where it was most prominent is telemedicine. Funds for telemedicine firms around the world reached USD 1.4 billion, double the amount raised in 2020.
More and more German start-ups are achieving one-billion-dollar-plus unicorn status. The global boom in venture capital investment is reshaping the start-up landscape in Germany and could even reconfigure Europe’s largest economy as a whole.
As jewelry goes, the minimalistic Pago ring isn’t exactly an eye-catcher. But to understand the nine-millimeter ceramic ring, you have to know what’s inside: an NVC chip that allows wearers to make contactless payments for purchases.
The new government under Chancellor Olaf Scholz is repositioning German society and the German economy with an even sharper focus on decarbonization.
The task of decarbonizing a major industrial nation like Germany was never going to be easy. But innovative German and international companies, with a helping hand from the government, are demonstrating how green hydrogen could help turn the tide toward a cleaner economy.
The European Union has dramatically restricted single-use plastics and may eliminate them entirely. That’s shaken up the market in favor of product developers who are able to think outside of conventional containers.
Waste not, want not, runs the old adage, but traditionally, Germany has been more interested in recycling than in circular-economies. All that’s starting to change.
Insheim geothermic facility in Rhineland-Palatinate © tiefegeothermie.de
The listed German-Australian company Vulcan Energy has dished out EUR 31.5 million to acquire the Insheim geothermic facility in the Rhineland-Palatinate in western Germany. It plans to convert ts new acquisition into a pilot lithium-production facility.
Magdeburg’s healthtech landscape has a new attraction. Israel’s Kidod Science & Technologies has joined the eastern German city’s Health + IT Campus to establish a new EUR 10 million company called IBD Science + Technologies.
Carbon cement technology for lightweight modular structures.
You can create heat with electricity and generate electricity with heat, but if you ask Berlin’s LUMENION, the two commodities need to be far more tightly connected in the form of “renewable heat.”
How to make wine growing more environmentally friendly? One answer is to design tractors that can tend the grapes more intelligently, say the makers of Vineyard Pilot Assistant, an automated tractor that increases the speed at which vineyards can be worked and weeded and provides a viable alternative to chemical herbicides.
The Forschungszentrum Jülich research center is home to a milestone in quantum computing with more than 5000 qubits. It’s the first of its kind in Europe.
Construction is starting at a gas works in Lingen in the Emsland region of northern Germany on a pilot pipeline for transporting hydrogen. The project is part of the GET H2 and TransHyDE initiatives and is receiving by EUR 11.6 million from the German Ministry of Education and Research.
E-sports are booming like never before in Germany and the rest of Europe. Video game tournaments offer electrifying opportunities for sponsorship and brand awareness, so it’s not surprising that international sports players are joining the fray.