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Innovation & Technology Request

Start-up companies with emission and carbon free energy solutions to be implemented on a former industrial site are sought from an urban development company

Country of Origin: Germany
Reference Number: TRDE20200625001
Publication Date: 25 June 2020


The German hub of an international company is transforming a former industrial site into an innovative circular creative workspace. The goal is to realise this with a zero emission and carbon-free energy grid. The site will be available as a test bed for energy pilot projects and new ideas. As this request is part of an open innovation challenge targeted towards start-up companies, only start-up companies with relevant energy solutions are sought for technical cooperation.


The German branch of an international group of companies that is specialized in sustainable urban development is working in close collaboration with a German city on the development of a historic  industrial site. This site and industrial complex has been an icon for the German steel industry for 160 years. Steel production has meanwhile stopped there but the site has remained as a historic monument. The vision is to make this site part of a new economy based on services, knowledge, technologies and logistics. In a first step a circular innovation centre will be set-up in the open space front of a blast furnace. More development is to follow. The area  is to be the future home to new ideas in technology, services, farming and innovations, economy and entrepreneurship.

This is where the challenge presented by the German company branch is starting. They are looking to create a zero-emission zone with a carbon-free energy grid, capable of supplying energy not only to a single building but the whole industrial site. This includes electrical and thermal energy for buildings, production facilities, mobility and public services.

Such a challenge requires multiple disciplines to collaborate in fields such as energy-efficiency, sustainable energy production, storage, and distribution. Starting point of the challenge is to design an energy system for one of the innovation communities that are going to settle in the historic building at the site. This will form the starting point for further development of a sustainable energy system for the rest of the site and it will function as a living lab and testing ground for new ideas, technologies and system innovations.

Thus the challenge is very much open to ideas, concepts or even already developed solutions to produce or store emission-free energy as well as solutions to manage different energy sources on a campus.

Start-up companies from the energy sector are sought for technical cooperation agreements to jointly implement the technology. Even though this is part of a competitive innovation challenge, the tasks are so manifold that more than one solution can be chosen to take forward.

IMPORTANT: This technology request refers to an innovation challenge exclusively for start-up companies published on an open internet platform that was issued by a city in North Rhine-Westphalia. If a start-up expresses interest before the closing date of 15 August, it will be guided towards this open innovation platform. The start-up company takes part in the challenge with his application. If it is selected, it will be invited to a digital week (7-11 September 2020) with workshops, pitches and work elements together with this company as well as with training on the German market and entry to the regional ecosystem.

All submissions will get feedback by the company on this open platform. The challenge closes on August 15, 2020. Mind that posts on this platform are not confidential. Beside open discussions on the platform, sharing of confidential information will be made possible on demand. After that, the company will nominate the start-ups with whom they would like to cooperate in the development of a solution.

Expertise sought

Any energy solutions to produce or store carbon and emission-free electrical or thermal energy that can be implemented at or adjusted to the requirements of an industrial site in transition to new creative work and innovation space are sought.
Technology to handle energy coming from different sources is also of interest.

The solutions can be at any stage of development ranging from idea to market-readiness.

Requested partner

The German branch of the company group seeks start-up companies from the energy sector for technical cooperation agreements.

The ideal partners would be young companies that have developed promising approaches and products for setting up such systems and that are faced with the challenge of testing these on a larger scale in operational use. Via this cooperation the young companies will find the testing ground and opportunity to test their products and concepts for carbon and emission free energy systems. Together with the German partner they can discuss concepts, products and ideas for the challenge and set out to implement pilot projects on site.

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