Nuventura, a german based start-up specialising in switch gears for electricity grids, filled us in on what they are doing and how their innovative switchgears contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Describe your start-up in a nutshell. What motivated the founders to start the company?
We have developed an innovative switchgear – an essential component of any electricity grid– that is free from greenhouse gases and is technologically superior to the solutions that can be found in the market today.
One of the biggest problems with existing gas insulated switchgear (GIS) technologies is that most of them use SF6 – the most potent greenhouse gas in existence. The gas is extremely dangerous for the environment as it is 23,500 times stronger than CO2 in terms of its effect on global warming. Additionally, it has an extremely long lifetime of 3,200 years, which is well beyond CO2‘s 100-200 year lifetime. Yearly global SF6 emissions are equivalent to the yearly C02 emissions produced by approximately 100 million cars. 80% of all SF6 produced ends up being used by GIS.
The environmental concerns related to SF6 became the main motivational factor for the founders to act. They set out to design an environmentally friendly alternative that would, simultaneously, be more efficient and safer.
nuventura’s switchgear is free from SF6, and instead of this highly potent gas, it simply uses the air we all breathe. Furthermore, because there is no SF6 (or any other greenhouse gas), the operation of a GIS has been simplified, leading to significant economic and performance advantages.
What was the process for coming up with your product/innovation?
One of the founders, Manjunath Ramesh, used to work for one of the large manufacturers developing SF6-based switchgear himself, where he experienced first-hand all the challenges associated with SF6. He realised that, because of the niche nature of the segment, along with the long product life cycle and the lack of innovations over decades, there were very few people who would be able to make the necessary changes.
So, he decided to act. He quit his job, asked his wife to do the same, and driven by the purpose of developing a pioneering grid technology – despite having no connections there at the time -moved to Berlin.
Inspired by his idea and dedication, two other founders – Nikolaus Thomale and Fabian Lemke – joined him in 2017 and together they founded nuventura. In slightly over a year, they had built a strong team, launched their first pilot with a German energy provider Westnetz/Innogy, gained financial support and won a number of awards and competitions.
What do you love about the sector you work in?
Besides education and food, energy is the most basic and universal good. We love the fact that we get to work in such an important sector and try to make it better.
Any big news or updates for your start-up recently?
We are finalising negotiations for our first commercial project – we are very excited for our product to be in the market and for it to start making an impact!
Where do you envision your start-up in 3 years?
In 3 years, we will be a known solution and a reference in the switchgear technology sector. We will be competing with big companies and challenging the industry setup and its values.