Meet Simon Brugger, Co-Founder and CEO at CellForm Germany

 

LCBA joins the #EuropeanYearofYouth

Simon Brugger is a young German entrepreneur who founded CellForm, a company specialised in Flow Plates for Hydrogen Industry (Fuel Cells and Electrolysis Cells). This technology has a wide range of uses and is expected to play a key role in stationary, mobile and portable applications. We had the opportunity to talk to him and learn more about CellForm:

  • Could you tell us about yourprofessional background and why you chose to focus your career on Hydrogen Industry?
I studied process engineering in my bachelor degree in Stuttgart (University of Stuttgart) and General Mamagement in my Master in Friedrichshafen (Zeppelin University). During my time in Stuttgart, I was always fascinated by technological things that also have the greatest impact on society. And so I spent a relatively large amount of time as a research assistant at the institute doing research on plastics made from renewable raw materials. After my bachelor’s degree, however, it was clear to me that i wanted to gain a more comprehensive view of society and the economy and for this reason I decided to do a non-consecutive master’s degree at Zeppelin University. During this time, I first became aware of hydrogen in 2017. The subject gripped me so much that I spent my entire master’s thesis on hydrogen and fuel cells, in addition to my technical background, from a social, ecological and economic perspective. A internships at the strategy department at Daimler also underlined my passion for hydrogen.
  • Which is your main role at CellForm Hydrogen? 
I am Co-Founder and CEO. As the head of a pretty young company, this means I am involved in everything. My passion is our technology and R&D but I am also focused on our funding process, HR, technical sales and supply chain.
  • What kind of services does it provide?
We are manufacturing (forming and welding) bipolar plates for fuel cells and electrolysis with market leading condition in terms of stack efficieny and costs (the two main disadvantages about fuel cells and electrolysis stacks). We developed a new forming and welding technology that gives us the opportunity to implement geometries and features on these plates that are not possible with any other approach. The bipolar plate is the core component of a fuel cell and electrolysis stack. The substrat is a very thin metal foil (0.05-0.1mm thickness). This foil is pretty hard to form. We succeeded in the implementation with not only the most filligree and efficient Flowfield but also by reducing the thickness from 0.1mm (state of the art) to 0.05mm which saves further resources, weight and waste.
  • How does your projectcontribute to the environment?
Since we are able to produce plates that enable a +5% efficiency increase while using -50% of resources we are able to make hydrogen itself way better but also enable the hydrogen technologies in a wider application which also contributes a lot by replacing for example diesel generators.
  • Which was the main challenge you faced to launch your own business project?
Since CellForm is a very young company the lack of experience was the biggest obstacle before we had our first projects with leading fuel cell companies.
  •  Do you have any young talent that inspired your career?
CEO of Sunfire: Nils Aldag.

Interview: Amanda Moraes, Social-Environmental Coordinator at Acciona Energía Brazil

Amanda Moraes, Graduated in Environmental Engineering and MBA in Corporate Sustainability, is currently working as Social-Environmental at Coordinator Acciona Energía Brazil. Amanda is specialised in environmental licensing and in environmental management. She is the responsible for the implementation of projects in Brazil aligned with company’s ESG strategies. #SheLeadsTheChange

  • Which is ACCIONA Energía main area of activity?

ACCIONA Energía is the largest global energy operator working exclusively in the renewable energy sector, with no fossil legacy. The company has commercial operations in 20 countries on the five continents, and has been present in Brazil since 2021. It works exclusively in renewable energy, with activities in wind, solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, hydro and biomass generation.

As a result of more than 20 years of experience in the renewable energy sector, the company offers reliable and efficient solutions based on the most advanced technologies, such as green hydrogen and solar floating plants.

The company also sells 100% renewable energy on the electricity markets and through bilateral contracts with a wide range of customers, with a special focus on companies that want to reduce their carbon footprint.

In 2021 we entered the market in Brazil, a priority country for our growth pipeline in the coming years.

  • As socio-environmental coordinator, what is your main mission in the company?

My role is to translate the ESG strategies of the company for our projects in the country, being able to develop our projects with respect to the environment and the people around us and leaving a legacy beyond the generation of clean energy itself.

  • Could you tell us more about your professional experience in environmental and socio-environmental management?

I am passionate about what I do, and I feel that wherever I have been, I have made a difference and come out different, always with positive exchanges and mutual growth.

The environmental and social area goes beyond a profession, it connects me to my truest lifestyle and ideals.

I try in practice to contribute to the world that I believe in and to the revolution that I feel inside of me.

  • What other women have inspired you in your professional career?

I am the result of all the women I have crossed on my professional path and throughout the years I have lived, it is difficult to name names among so many, they all contributed to my growth and improvement, bringing me to where I am and pushing me to reach where I still want to go.

During my professional career I have also been encouraged to grow professionally, regardless of my gender. I recently joined ACCIONA Energía, where I have found several inspiring female colleagues.

Meet Lise Nicolas, Co-Founder of M. & Mme Recyclage

Lise Nicolas is a young French entrepreneur with the aim of tackling climate change by helping companies that are willing to find and implement new sustainable solutions. She leads M. & Mme Recyclage start-up which provides information about plastic and plastic recycling. Lisa’s ambition is to break the myth around plastic recycling and change the consumption of plastics, specially in the packaging field, which represents 40% of plastic production.

1. Could you tell us about your professional background and why you chose to focus your career on recycling sector?

I did my first steps in the recycling sector through MINIWIZ, a Taiwan-based architecture, and design company that uses recycled plastic inside its projects. I joined them to led the development of an open-access recycled materials database. To help designers and architects to select the best plastic trash for their project regarding their properties. The purpose of the database is to address the disparity between sustainability, recycling, eco-consciousness, and the bleak market reality around its lack of financially feasible applications. We wanted to show the world the unlimited potential of trash by taking recycled material to the highest form of product engineering. Then I join the R&D team and initial conception of the Trashpresso recycling units. The Traspresso is a mobile and solar plastic waste semi-industrial recycling plant. It currently turns plastic trash into products. The highlight of this project was a recycling trip in a remote Tibetan area with National Geographic and Jackie Chan, but that was also when I realized that plastics manufacturers were using the recycling scheme as a parade to legitimize the disposable packaging.

2. Which is your main role at M. & Mme. Recyclage?

My main role is to provide information without financial drive interests about plastic and plastic recycling. To help companies that are willing to go forwards find new sustainable solutions. Meanwhile, I also have to share my knowledge about waste recycling reality and fight against greenwashing. In a world where the quantity of single-use plastic waste is constantly increasing, everyone must have quick and free access to the necessary knowledge to develop a critical mind and participate in environmental sustainability. My ambition is to break the myth around plastic recycling that exonerates all players (not just the consumer). We need to change our consumption of plastics, specially in the packaging field, which represents 40% of plastic production.

3. What kind of services does it provide?

We are a consulting R&D firm on environmental and recycling problematics. Anyone can benefit from our expertise in the following fields: recycling, plastics, bioplastics, ecotoxicity, construction of recycling machines, and recycling plants implementation.

We offer:

  • to support companies in their strategic directions of R&D and
  • the construction and improvement of recycling
  • to provide support on the search for recycled materials, suppliers, collection ..
  • research on recyclability, biodegradability, and the source of materials through scientific articles and technical
  • tailor-made training within your
  • scientific mediation through different channels: infographics, videos, texts… and

2. How does your project contribute to the environment?

Scientific illiteracy is socially constructed. That is why some people do not question their consumption of plastic or that we are witnessing “plastic bashing” (without dissociating fields such as medicine or transportation). My project responds to social-technical issues where the engineer is a crucial link in technical democracy. We wish to support a social demand for citizen participation concerning the main technical orientations (such as the circular economy bill). To be independent and free of machinery, to base my reflection on technics only and without any drive interest.

3. Which was the main challenge you faced to launch your own business project?

 The biggest challenge that we faced and are still facing is that we need to educate people on what is really happening in the recycling industry and what is financially and logistically feasible.

Ignorance about plastic management should stop. It leads to poor and polarized debates and wrong political decisions. For example, the plastic ban where people turned to cardboard instead of rethinking the usage: do we NEED this packaging. Another huge challenge is that one of the reasons for plastic recycling opacity is due to the opposite of interests of actors of the recycling scheme ( collectivity, plastics manufacturers, recyclers, incinerators,…). To be sure to base our work only on technic, and without any drive interest, we didn’t find a way to finance the vulgarisation part of our work, so we are using our savings generated by our consulting firm to back our work.

4. Could you tell us more about the Precious Plastic France Association?

Precious Plastic France is an association that federates and supports the ecosystem of French actors working to reduce plastic pollution and claiming to be part of a global community of small local plastic recyclers. Precious Plastic France aims to develop local recycling workshop. To reduce a maximum of plastics which were supposed to finish in nature, incinerators or landfills.

5. Do you have any young talent that inspired your career?

I have a lot of interest in the work and career of Jean-Marc Jancovici (The shift Project president), Aurélien Barrau ( Physicist & Philosopher) and Etienne Klein (Research director of CEA). I am still inspired today by their projects. On a different style, i am also a hudge fan of Orelsan’s career a french rap artist.

 

#EuropeanYearofYouth

Meet William Bergh, CEO at Cling Systems

William Bergh is a young Swedish entrepreneur who founded Cling Systems, the B2B platform that connects the battery ecosystem to ensure batteries are reused, repurposed and recycled. We had the pleasure to talk with him and learn more about his circular economy business project:

1.Could you tell us about your professional background and why you chose to focus your career on circular economy? 

The circular economy is something that has always fascinated and really gripped me. Cling Systems was born out of a desire to close the loop of lithium-ion battery systems and a few different experiences from my professional and personal life informed the decision to start it. I studied engineering at Lund University in Sweden and when I was there, together with some friends founded Lund Formula Student’s very first electric formula racing team and developed the first electric driveline. That provided a fascinating preview of the challenges of developing and running a project and team focused on mobility. As my studies were coming to a conclusion, I did my Masters Thesisat Northvolt mapping the logistics of EV batteries and lithium-ion battery recycling. Those experiences got me thinking about how to change the perception of waste. I also spend some of my studies within Environmental Science in Hawaii which really provided a window into how we need to respect the environment. 

2.How does Cling´s B2B market platform work? 

We work to match supply and demand and eliminate as much friction as possible in the trade. This means assembling and structuring loads of battery data. Once a trade is established, we move on to managing compliant shipping, the transfer of liability, and safe payments. The regulations point is important as the supply chain is very extensive, given where battery materials are dug up, where they are refined, where they are manufactured in gigafactories – these often are on different continents so the industry is a global one. We have to stay nimble so who knows how it will look in 12 months’ time as the sector moves so quickly. 

3.Who can participate? 

There are so many players in the industry and it is constantly shifting, but at the moment we view the sell side as companies such as OEMs, fleet owners, insurance providers, diagnostic providers, repair workshops, and car dismantlers. The buy side is remanufacturers, repurporsers and recyclers. Within those groups, we assess and vet those looking to use our platform so that the buyers are professional players and trustworthy. We spend a lot of time building up relationships with other industry players and that is very important for us. 

4.How does your company contribute to the environment? 

A sustainable society is dependent on sustainable batteries. Sustainable batteries are dependent on circularity. Cling enables circularity. Enabling reuse, repurposing and recycling of EV batteries means that material that makes up new batteries does not need to be dug out the ground, often at considerable cost to the environment. Our platform will mean emissions are avoided and the more batteries we can exchange, the more we can contribute towards batteries being seen less as a cost or even waste, and more as an asset. By digitizing this waste, we can make it an accessible and valuable resource. 

5.Which was the main challenge you faced to launch your business project? 

Like any startup, getting funding for the business was a crucial requirement and we completed our seed fundraise of 2.3m USD led by Trucks VC and First Venture, as well as angel investors. Fundraising involves many parallel conversations and takes a lot longer than you think it will so that was a big challenge that we needed to complete. The investors are very supportive and have really helped us accelerate the vision we have for the company.  

6.Do you have any young talent that inspired your career? 

Many. There are incredible people everywhere that has inspired me – in my university classes, high school friends, and of course online and in newspapers. I think peer-inspiration often is overlooked. Look around, who do you see that inspires and motivates you? 

 #EuropeanYearofYouth #LCBA 

Meet Iulia Dorobantu Co-founder of Charger.ro & Architect 

We have the pleasure to talk with Iulia Dorobantu a European young entrepreneur who launched Charger.ro, the first one-stop-shop marketplace that brings together solutions, products & equipment making green energy more accessible. Iulia is committed to build a greener and innovative future for Europe.

Could you tell us about your professional background and why you chose to focus your career on renewable energy? 

I was born in Bucharest, Romania, a post-communist country, where the focus and funds were chaotically dispersed between various industries, but not at all towards sustainable actions. With shy initiatives during school years to show responsibility towards consumption, daily habits, and behavior defined by integrity, honesty, and care towards our local community and environment, I have become interested in following renewable energy and climate initiatives.  

I have a background in architecture, with studies divided between both Bucharest and Paris, France. After finishing my studies in both Universities, I decided to return to my home country and bring my contribution here. I recently co-founded the platform Charger.ro, which currently addresses the Romanian market.   

As an architect and young entrepreneur, I find it both challenging and exciting to see the exponential development of available solutions and technology that address some of the biggest challenges of our generation. In this moment of urgency, I believe it is vital to respond fast and efficiently, avoid potential catastrophes, and start sustainably building a new cycle of initiatives and approaches.  

I have always been interested and concerned about my impact on the world, both as a human being and climate-wise. We know that climate change is caused by human activity but pinning down exactly who is responsible or finding the right solution is trickier than it might seem.  

  1. How does Charger.ro´s marketplace work? 

Charger.ro is the first one-stop-shop marketplace that brings together curated products, equipment, and solutions, starting the green urban mobility market.  

Despite the remarkable progress of technology, producers don’t manage to have a global approach to customers, market strategy, available funding, data, or establish accessible communication. On the other side, the already-users or new buyers face a chaotic and disorganized market. They risk buying unfitted products with no second opinion, and they lose time selecting solutions with minimal budgets.  

Charger.ro changes the way people buy and sell green-powered solutions. We are building a link in the market, acting as a broker for the provider and creating a fresh and complete shopping experience for the buyer. By creating a one-stop-shop, we create a community of trusted suppliers, complementary services, and educational content. In this way, we enable access to available funding, knowledge, and solutions.  

  1. What kind of products or services are available?

Charger.ro makes green energy more accessible! We are creating a complete portfolio of charging devices for EV and plug-in hybrid cars for any environment, accessories, consumables, applications, and software. Moreover, we are touching the entire green mobility market, with charging docks for electric scooters and bicycles, accessories, applications, and smart urban furniture.  

The platform creates a matchmaking process and algorithm, matching your need with the right solution through consultancy or a project, available funding sources and a fitting team close to your current location, all in the same place. We create an ecosystem of producers, wholesalers, and service providers while creating a complete and regulated portfolio of solutions. 

In time, we want to cover and offer a complete scan of renewable energy by introducing solutions like photovoltaic panels, off-grid systems and so on, and cover an international market expansion in multiple verticals.  

  1. How does your project contribute to the environment?

Charger.ro contributes to the environment by making the adoption of alternative solutions much more manageable, cheaper, and fun. We are promoting and creating access to available solutions and matchmaking them with all extra services needed to encourage potential adopters to take the next step. 

We also care a lot about educating the communities, explaining the solutions for everyone, and promoting sustainable actions. Thus, we are developing a monthly educational content module with key business actors and NGOs. 

  1. Which was the main challenge you faced to launch your business project?

The main challenges are not business-related. Of course, everything is moving fast, and we must cover everything with little resources and within short deadlines, but the real struggle has always been addressing the large population. I believe that educating the people and communities is the point where the real difference is made. And this not only in terms of renewable energy, but also in small everyday actions that we can make to improve and aspire towards a better and greener Planet!  

  1. Do you have any young talent that inspired your career?

There are so many young and not so young anymore talented people, that I always consider it is unfair to name only one. Let us make a small step forward and inspire the person standing right next to us! Because the people who inspired my career are “normal” people, yet extraordinary, who came even for 5 minutes and made a small change into my world! 

Lucía Beloqui Larrumbe

Meet Lucía Beloqui Larumbe a PhD student from Delft University researching offshore wind energy connectivity to the grid