Start Up Energy Transition Award 2020: Award Finalists

15 start-ups from eleven countries will present their business models for energy transition and climate protection at the “Start Up Energy Transition Tech Festival” taking place on the 24th of March in Berlin

15 start-ups from eleven countries across continents have been nominated as finalists of the “Start Up Energy Transition (SET) Award” 2020. With submissions including portable battery systems; cross-industry storage systems; software for inspecting power lines; cleaning methods for air conditioning systems or retrofit solutions for buildings: the finalists impress with outstanding ideas that help reduce the ecological footprint of modern societies, advance climate protection and make an active contribution to accelerate energy transition.

The award is presented by the German Energy-Agency (dena) in cooperation with the World Energy Council. From almost 600 applications, an international jury selected the companies whose business ideas were most convincing in terms of energy system transformation and climate protection. The finalists will present their innovations at the SET Tech Festival in Berlin – an international event for start-ups, the energy industry and investors.

The ceremony for the SET Award winners will take place on the 24th of March at an evening reception of the “Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue”. There, the most innovative strategies and solutions will be awarded in five categories: Renewable Energies and Materials; Digital Energy Systems; Energy Efficiency Solutions; Smart Mobility; Special Prize: Quality Access & Sustainable Development Goal-7. This year’s competition for business ideas in the sector of energy transition and climate protection started with a kick-off event in Stockholm, Sweden on 30 September 2019.

In the current round, the award is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the partner countries Canada and Sweden, BayWa r.e. Energy Ventures, Berlin Partner, Elia Group, E.ON, GTAI, InnoEnergy, Inven Capital, Shell and other sponsors. In the past three years, a total of over 1300 start-ups from 90 countries have participated.

Start-ups meet international investors at the SET Tech Festival

At the SET Tech Festival, the finalists will present their projects in a live pitch. The festival also serves as a forum where start-ups can connect with international companies from accross the full energy sector, as well as, investors and potential customers. A total of around 800 participants are expected to attend – including over 200 start-ups.

Following the opening by Andreas Kuhlmann, CEO of dena, and Angela Wilkinson, Secretary General and CEO of the World Energy Council, there will be numerous sessions, presentations and dialogue formats. The opening panel “24/7 for Future” will welcome a large number of speakers to talk about how they are achieving sustainability in their work. The panel “Innovation in Policymaking” deals, among other things, with policy options for promoting zero-emission technologies. The session “Tech and Nature” will discuss nature-based solutions such as reforestation and seabeds as well as innovations in the field of carbon capture and storage technologies. One of this year’s keynote speakers is Matthias Maurer, astronaut at the European Space Agency ESA, who will share his view on energy system transformation and climate protection with the audience from a special perspective. These and many other programme items make the SET Tech Festival once again the meeting place for the renewable start-up scene.

About the “Start Up Energy Transition” initiative

The SET Award 2020 and the Tech Festival are part of the global SET initiative for pioneers in energy system transformation and climate protection. More than 100 partners from politics, business, science and non-governmental organizations are participating worldwide.

Further information about the SET Award, the SET Tech Festival and the SET Initiative is available at


The finalists of the SET Award 2020

Category: Renewable Energies & Materials

instagrid, Germany,

instagrid develops portable battery power supplies, enabling clean energy to replace small combustion engines anywhere. Founded in 2018, the German cleantech company has developed an advanced weatherproof portable power pack that can replace highly polluting petrol and diesel generators.

VoltStorage Germany,

Voltstorage develops and produces solar power storage systems based on the Vanadium Redox Flow (VRF) technology. VRF clearly differs from the lithium-based solutions as it is free from rare earth and conflict materials, completely recyclable and has a high level of operational safety and durability.

EnergyNest, Norway,

ErnergyNest offers a cross-industrial energy storage solution applicable to clientele within power generation, industrial manufacturing and the renewables sector. Their Thermal Battery technology is a smart, compact, durable and modular system with high heat capacity and conductivity, with a lifetime of 50+ years without any degradation.


Category: Digital Energy Systems

SwitchDin, Australia,

SwitchDin develops technology that makes distributed energy resources (DERs) visible and controllable. SwitchDin enables virtual powerplants, microgrids and helps to integrate DERs into the grid.

BluWave-ai, Canada,

BluWave uses artificial intelligence to accelerate the adoption and increased use of renewable energy by electrical utilities and enterprises. Provided through a SaaS model, their distributed AI platform optimizes multiple renewable and non-renewable energy sources in real-time to minimize cost and maximize availability and reliability.

Sterblue, France,

Sterblue builds software that helps drones inspect power lines and wind turbines. Sterblue software guides drones along trajectories that wrap tightly around structures, finds anomalies from the collected images, and outputs reports.


Category: Energy Efficiency Solutions

Blue Box Air, United States,

Blue Box Air is an innovative solution for reducing energy consumption and costs, while reducing CO2. Their innovation is a patented process for cleaning the coils in HVAC systems, which improves air quality and facility health while reducing the environmental footprint.

Enerbrain, Italy,

Enerbrain has developed energy retrofit solutions for large buildings that allow drastic cuts in consumption as well as a significant improvement in internal comfort. Their innovation ensure 20% energy savings, lower CO2 emissions and improved comfort thanks to a unique scalable IoT solution powered by AI coupled with fuzzy logic algorithms.

Enjay AB, Sweden,

Enjay is a Swedish cleantech company, specialized in energy efficiency. The company´s first solution, Lepido, offers profitable energy recovery from restaurant ventilation. The innovation enables reducing the annual emissions of CO2 by 500 million metric tons, one entire percent of the projected world-wide CO2 emissions by 2050.


Category: Smart Mobility

EcoG, Germany,

EcoG provides IoT operating system and all the software components needed to build and develop an EV charger. Furthermore, EcoG brings a straightforward solution for developing and integrating services for those chargers. As a result, EcoG enables building a viable business model out of EV charging.

Ponera Group, Switzerland,

Ponera Group has developed a unique logistic solution based on an innovative design of pallets’ system which decreases packing costs by minimizing the transport inefficiencies. The flexibility of this innovation makes it applicable to wide range of industries.


TRANSITION-ONE converts thermal cars into modern cars: electric, connected and affordable. Transition-One support supports clients in their transition to electric mobility for a cleaner planet. They developed a 4-hour conversion process guaranteeing quality and performance at an affordable price.


Category: Special Prize: Quality Access & SDG-7

Liter of Light, Philippines,

Their “Liter of Light” redesigns solar lighting for the developing world. Their simple, two-step technology creates local jobs, teaches green skills, and empowers energy-poor communities through simple solar lights built and installed using local parts and knowledge.

TFE Energy / Village Data Analytics, Germany,

Village Data Analytics (VIDA) is an AI-powered tool that uses satellite imagery, publicly available data, user data and energy modelling to automatically identify off-grid villages and extract insights to assess their suitability for off-grid electrification and de-risk investments.

Reeddi, Nigeria/Canada,

Reeddi provides clean, reliable and affordable electricity to individuals and businesses in energy-poor regions of the world. Reeddi Capsules are charged at Reeddi Energy stations, strategically located within such communities, and can be rented easily via mobile devices.


Related articles

SET Award, 2023, Energy Frontrunners

Energy Frontrunners ’23: Oorja is Helping Developing Communities Access Their Own Clean, Cheap Energy

“It didn’t make sense to me why are so many people precluded from access to clean energy? Therefore I wanted to solve this,” explains Amit Saraogi, CEO and co-founder of Oorja Development Solutions, as he explains his inspiration in founding the young company that won SET Award 2023. In our final Energy Frontrunners interview of 2023, we sat down with the Quality Energy Access & SDG-7 category winner to understand how they’re helping millions access clean water through solar energy.