Start-ups Batch #4
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Circular Valley startups have ideas that avoid billions of tons of emissions
Fourteen young companies from around the world have advanced their business models in the extended Rhine-Ruhr region in recent months. They have different focuses, but one important thing in common: a "giga-impact."
Many of the fourteen startups that participated in the fourth batch of the Circular Economy Accelerator program, traveled to Germany from all over the world, including from Palestine, Singapore, the US and Kenya. The fourteen companies are engaged in water treatment, waste management, platform solutions, green building, or renewable energies. As the following overview shows, their ideas have the potential to avoid CO2 or waste in the order of billions of tons:
Water treatment and desalination
  • Colea
    The Palestinian startup helps olive farms and mills worldwide. Globally, this agricultural sector produces around 30 million cubic meters of wastewater annually. Colea AgriTech has developed a technology to treat this water so that it can be reused. Employing this technology allows olive producers operate more circularly and profitably.

    Photo: Thaer Thafesh

  • CyFract
    The founders from Munich, Germany, have enabled a major step forward for capturing very small particles. Until now, removing microparticles from water has not only required a great amount of energy, but many filter systems also have weaknesses. CyFract sets water in rotation, thereby separating the tiny particles and requiring a lot less energy.

    Photo: Tayyar Bayrakci
  • Desolenator
    The Dutch startup uses nature to produce drinking water from the sea. The founders have developed the world's first solar thermal solution for desalination. The power of the sun ensures that fresh water is available on a large scale - and that it is also produced sustainably.

    Photo: Marc Alexander Schwarze and Nick Heinemann
  • Bio-Recycler
    Bio-Recycler's The idea that the Kenyan startup is pursuing, is not only a great opportunity for its home country, but also beyond. Due to massive environmental and water pollution in Kenya, clean drinking water is rare. To this end, Bio-Recycler recycles and treats wastewater - currently at already 13,200 liters per day.

    Photo: Calvince Okello
  • Hydroleap
    The focus of the startup from Singapore is the treatment of industrial wastewater. Thanks to its technology, only a fraction of the current amount of chemicals used is required, reducing their demand by 80 percent. At the same time, 40 percent more water has been saved. A nice side effect for the companies is that wastewater treatment costs fall by around 30 percent. Hydroleap has already attracted a lot of attention in Asia, and now the technology is coming to Europe - with the help of Circular Valley®.

    Photo: Lakshmi Jothinathan, Preneshan Reddy
Waste treatment and packaging
  • Lixo
    The French startup uses artificial intelligence to enable a true circular economy. The technology analyzes waste in real time as it moves down the assembly line, giving an accurate overview of what recyclables it contains. This makes waste management more transparent, efficient and traceable. Lixo's solution is therefore of interest to many players along the recyclables value chain, such as disposal companies, sorters and recyclers. While the young company has already won major partners such as Suez and Veolia, it now wants to grow internationally in the next step.

    Photo: Marjorie Darcet
  • Rhinopaq
    For the founders from Essen, Germany, a bitter figure and the image of shipping containers formed the beginning of their idea. The bitter figure: every fourth tree is felled for packaging. This wouldn't have to be the case if packaging from online retail were stored in containers that could be reused over and over. And this is exactly what Rhinopaq's boxes and envelopes made of recycled polypropylene do: They replace disposable packaging when shipping tools, personal care products, cleaning products, coffee, toys and pet food, for example.

    Photo: Matthias Thesing (left) und Marc Diefenbach
  • Circular Valley Delivery
    This project will be introduced in a separate article in this newsletter.

    You can find i5 here.

    Photo: Dr. Carsten Gerhardt
Green building
  • RecycleX
    The Indian startup uses industrial waste and disposed plastic to make its products. For instance, industrial slag, fly ash and metal waste are used to create new bricks, cobblestones, tiles, planters, benches, and curbstones. A RecycleX "Fly Ash Brick" contains no natural resources and avoids one kilogram of CO2. The founders' solution is therefore twofold: no waste is produced because materials remain in the cycle. At the same time, the need for cement is significantly reduced, and with it the impact on the climate. RecycleX is relevant to a wide range of potential partners, ranging from waste collectors, industry to the construction sector. RecycleX's solution is particularly interesting for booming regions, whose population and thereby built environment is expected to grow significantly.

    Photo: Abhishek Chhazed
  • Cyrkl
    Czech Republic
    The Austrian and Czech founders have launched Europe's largest online waste platform – with more than 18.000 registered companies in 11 countries. Cyrkl offers three services: a free-of-charge marketplace that customers can use independently. For more complex cases, the startup offers its customers a fee-based consulting, to support them throughout the process. Cyrkl's consulting activities are even more intensive in the third field of activity, which deals with strategic and structural solutions. Here, waste is analyzed and suggestions are made for the most suitable ways of dealing with it.

    Photo: David Mattersdorfer (left) und Cyril Klepek
  • MikaCycle
    The French startup is an expert in plastic recycling. The startup began by researching the pain points and weaknesses in the procurement process and then developed their global marketplace for high-quality recycled plastic. Trading on its marketplace should be as easy as possible for both sides. Quality and trust are paramount for Mika Cycle to enable the progress they hope to make. Transparent supply chains are an important building block in this. The goal: Where plastic cannot be avoided, as much of it as possible should remain in the cycle. To this end, the company wants to standardize recycling processes and make them more productive.

    Photo: Scott Brooks
  • Clickwaste
    The German startup from Heidelberg uses its slogan to explain what change is associated with the platform: "Turning waste to value". In other words, the waste materials that companies previously had to pay for to dispose of, suddenly become a new revenue stream. Clickwaste offers its services for a wide range of materials – in the same way that individual consumers are familiar with from online marketplaces.

    Photo: Dr. Daniel Vuynovich
Renewable energy from a circularity perspective
  • 1s1-Energy
    The US startup develops water electrolysis systems for hydrogen production with renewable energy. While hydrogen is currently mainly produced using methane and coal, 1s1 Energy is working on truly green hydrogen. This plays a key role in decarbonization efforts, especially in the industrial, chemical and long-distance transportation sector. The 1s1 systems are said to be about 30 percent cheaper than comparable water electrolysis systems on the market.

    Photo: Daniel Sobek
    The Italian founders have developed a method to replace current ethanol production methods. 95 percent of the world's ethanol originates from agriculture. The consequences: high emissions, soil erosion, loss of biodiversity and enormous water consumption. The solution: CO2NVERT takes CO2 that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere and combines it with green hydrogen to create sustainable ethanol. This is the first of a whole series of chemical products that the Italians want to produce green.

    Photo: Paolo Licata (right)
DemoDay Batch#4 - Aftermovie
2023.03.23 I Historische Stadthalle Wuppertal
The recording of the DemoDay can be found here.