2018 SET Award: Winners Announced

Dear friends of Start Up Energy Transition,

The wait is officially over. On April 17th, at the exciting Kraftwerk Berlin building, the six winners of the 2018 SET Award were announced! These 6 start-ups are tackling climate change with their innovative products and simultaneously directing the energy transition for the foreseeable future. We are so excited to feature them to you all around the world!


The 2018 Start Up Energy Transition Award winners are:

 Ionomr Innovations Inc., Canada (Category: Low-Carbon Energy Production)

Ionomr designs, adapts, and manufactures ion-exchange membranes to enable cost-effective clean energy generation and storage, wastewater treatment, and industrial processes. Their membrane technology has a high potential impact on the market. It could not just change one sector within energy, but transform the energy transition itself. Its scalability potential is large. Its non-hazardous byproducts create further added value for the environment. For these reasons, Ionomr is this year’s SET Award winner for Low-Carbon Energy Production.

ForCity, France (Category: Intelligent Grids, Platforms & Cyber Security)

ForCity provides urban decision makers in various sectors like district heating and cooling and water a software suite to simulate how their city could change over the next decades and to plan sustainable decisions. Their 3D simulations allow users to forecast and account for grid instabilities and energy transition challenges of the future. This systematic software approach has broad applications that match ever increasing urbanisation and city management demand. For these reasons, ForCity was chosen as the 2018 SET Award winner of Intelligent Grids, Platforms & Cyber Security.

Coolar UG, Germany (Category: Energy Efficiency, Smart Devices & Storage)

Coolar is working on an electricity-independent and instead, solar-heat-powered, water-based refrigerator, for example to, for example, cool vaccines in remote areas without grid access. Their cooling technology presents a solution to one of the key determinants of CO2 emissions: inefficient refrigerants. Additionally, their technology displays potential for wide applications throughout sectors and regions that are in a real need of cooling breakthroughs. Due to this and the possible climate impact, Coolar was chosen as the 2018 SET Award winner of Energy Efficiency, Smart Devices & Storage.

Skeleton Technologies, Germany/Estonia (Category: Innovative Mobility)

Skeleton Technologies is a manufacturer of graphene-based ultracapacitors and energy storage systems. Their ultracapacitors offer four times the power density and two times the energy density of their competitors, displaying an innovative leap to the technology. When applied to heavy vehicles, their Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) increases fuel efficiency and results in dramatic cuts in the emissions associated with heavy trucking. For this and the real added value for decreasing heavy fuel consumption, Skeleton was chosen as the 2018 SET award winner for Innovative Mobility.

SOLHO B.V., Netherlands (Category: Energy, Water, and Food)

SOLHO develops off-grid solar-based energy systems to power greenhouse-based horticultural projects, thus helping to provide food for a growing world population with fewer resources and reduced environmental impact. Their system called SPHROUT (Solar-PoweRed Horticultural Off-grid UniT) uses solar power and thermal storage to harness sun and seawater to generate all the needs of greenhouses. This represents an answer to the energy, water and food trilemma that many in the world face day-to-day. Due to this, SOLHO was chosen the 2018 SET Award winner for Energy, Water & Food.

Acacia Innovations Ltd., Kenya (Category: Special Prize: SDG-7, UN-target Sustainable Energy for All )

Acacia Innovations makes modern and clean cooking affordable for schools in Kenya. It supplies cooking fuel and cookstoves by using a subscription model that has allowed Acacia to gain the status as the largest market operator. Corresponding to the UN Sustainable Development Goal Number 7, it helps provide sustainable energy for all, while also decreasing pollutants by using briquettes made of sugar cane waste. For this commitment, Acacia was chosen as the 2018 SET Award winner for the Special Prize: SDG-7.


Presenters of the awards were the Honourable Stéphane Dion, Canadian Ambassador to Germany and Special Envoy to the European Union and Europe: Walter J. Lindner, German State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office: Dr. Katrin Leonhardt, Director of the Credit Institute for Reconstruction (KfW): Christoph Frei, Secretary General of the World Energy Council, Katherine Hamilton, Chair at 38 North Solutions and Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Future of Energy Global Future Council: Dr. Christoph Beier, Vice Chairman of Management Board and Managing Director at GIZ GmbH.

Thank you to all who attended the festival and supported us and these fantastic start-ups in discussing the future of energy and the energy transition itself! With the second iteration of the Start Up Energy Transition done, we are proud to boast a network of over 1,000 start-ups, from over 70 countries, fighting for change throughout the world!

We cannot wait to see what next year brings and we hope to see you there! Stay tuned!

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