Circular Valley startups double the value of renewable energy

Fourteen young companies from around the world have come to Germany's wider Rhine-Ruhr region to work on special ideas for the circular economy. What makes these ideas special is that they avoid emissions on a scale of billions of tons. Two of the startups are working on this, one of them focusses on green hydrogen and the other on sustainable ethanol.
While the energy demand of the world remains high, the costs of this high consumption are no longer sustainable for our planet. For this reason, two things are urgently needed: more renewable energy - and new processes that ensure that no new emissions of CO2 or waste are generated through them. Therefore, Circular Valley® supports two startups from the USA and Italy that deal with this topic. The founders are currently participating in the Circular Economy Accelerator program.

At present, a total of 14 startups are in the wider Rhine-Ruhr region to advance their ideas with the support of top-class coaches and Circular-Valley® partners from the established economy. As diverse as the topics of current startup batch are - ranging from water treatment to waste trading platforms – they share the fact that their ideas have the potential to avoid billions of tons of emissions, implying a "giga-impact."

The startups focusing on the theme of "Renewable Energy from a Circular Perspective" are the following two:

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 real 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.
Daniel Sobek, 1s1 Energy
Photo: Circular Valley®/Jan Turek.

CO2NVERT 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.
Paolo Licata, CO2NVERT
Photo: Circular Valley®/Jan Turek.

Circular Valley® aims to make the wider Rhine-Ruhr region a global hotspot for the circular economy, a place like Silicon Valley is for the digital industry. That is why renewable energy has played a central role since the project's launch in summer 2021. For example, the initiative's network includes startups Rosi Solar (France) and Ecosilico (Russia and the United Kingdom).

Rosi Solar deals with the recyclables contained in solar panels. Currently, a lot of waste is generated, and valuable raw materials are lost once photovoltaic systems reach the end of their lifecycle. Rosi Solar has developed a technique to recycle photovoltaic panels on an industrial level, reprocessing silicon, silver and copper.

Ecosolico is working to ensure that fewer solar modules are disposed of, by focusing on the contained silicon. The startup's technology allows to replace industrial nanosilica powder with recycled silicon dioxide from silicon-based waste. The benefit: the technology is cost-effective and carbon neutral.

If you would like to meet the representatives of 1s1Energy or CO2NVERT in person or in a video conference, we would be happy to organize an appointment for you. To do so, please contact us at press@circular-valley.org.

The images show Paolo Licata (CO2NVERT) and Daniel Sobek (1s1 Energy). The images can be used free of charge for reporting on the current batch of the Circular Economy Accelerator. Source: Jan Turek/Circular Valley®