Innovation for the Energy Transition

MCC Venture Award Ceremony, Prof. Eicke Weber, Gabriele Riedmann de Trinidad, Dr. Andreas Breuer, Zvika Klier, CEO of Tigi Ltd (Winner), Dr. Alois Flatz

For the 6th time, technology network Munich Network hosted the Munich Cleanteach Conference in the Bavarian capital on November 22, 2012. This year’s event focused on “Innovation for the Energy Transition”. A series of lectures were divided into the topics “energy efficiency”, “energy storage”, and “energy management”. As always, the speakers and panel participants included top-class personalities from industry and science, including Professor Eicke Weber, Head of Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, Professor Dr. Werner Tillmetz, Member of the Board of the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research, and Gabriele Riedmann de Trinidad, Senior Vice President for Strategic Area Energy at Deutsche Telekom AG.

„Fossil fuels are limited – so humankind has no choice but to change to the sustainable use of energy. And the question is: Why not do it quickly so we might have a chance to make the effects of climate change as small as possible?” asked Prof. Weber in his opening key-note. He further emphasized the economic significance of cleantech solutions in the fields of energy efficiency, energy generation, energy distribution and energy storage. He explained how providing low-cost energy solutions in these areas would lead to „very exciting economic opportunities… not just for Germany but for the world market.“ Prof. Weber also pointed out that Germany has put itself in pole position for this and predicted that hundreds of billion-dollar markets in the greentech area will help the world’s transition to a renewable energy supply.

During a session on energy efficiency, Volker Dragon from the Building Technologies Division at Siemens Building Automation and Dr. Dietrich Schmidt, Head of Department Energy Systems at Fraunhofer IBP – among others – discussed the latest developments in saving energy, particularly for buildings. Dr. Schmidt recommended firstly enhancing energy efficiency in uncomplicated systems like heating systems in buildings, in order to achieve success quickly. In another sessions concerning energy storage, Dr. Stephen Clifford, Energy Storage Team Leader at ABB Smart Grid Initiative presented applications that would allow energy storage in the power grid. Dr. Christopher Hebling, Division Manager at Hydrogen Technology, Micro Energy Technology at Fraunhofer ISE, explained the role of hydrogen in the transition of the energy system. The third session of the day centered on effective management and optimisation of energy generation and consumption units. Roger Roschnik, Director of the Building Energy Business Unit at Silentsoft, explained that 30 percent of energy savings in the building sector can be saved only through optimizing the way energy is managed.

In the afternoon, several cleantech start-ups presented their business ideas to the audience and interested investors. Among them was Tado, a start-up firm from Munich which developed an intelligent heating control that uses smartphones to help to reduce a household’s energy use for heating by an average of 27 percent.

In a panel discussion moderated by Ralf Hartmann, CEO of the cleantech PR agency GlobalCom PR Network and founder of the CleanEnergy Project, four field experts discussed the need for a masterplan for the effective achievement of the „Energiewende“ (Energy Transition). Dr. Andreas Breuer, Head of New Technologies at RWE Deutschland AG, Dr. Alois Flatz, Partner of Zouk Capital LLP, Gabriele Riedmann de Trinidad, Senior Vice President Strategic Area Energy, Deutsche Telekom AG and Prof. Eicke Weber, Head of Fraunhofer ISE also debated how to make cleantech solutions such a „smart home“ applications more attractive to the end consumer.

The four experts also made up the jury for the very first Munich Cleantech Conference Venture Award 2012. The prize was awarded to TIGI, a start-up from Israel that developed the Honeycomb Collector, a new breed of solar-thermal (water heating) collectors that turns sunlight to heat.

Corinna Lang and Dominique Cottee

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