EIT Climate-KIC supports European green recovery with €4 million for start-ups affected by COVID-19

Two UK-based start-ups – Alchemie Technology and Brill Power – have been awarded €1 million to assist in the green recovery

EIT Climate-KIC is investing €4 million in nine climate ventures to help them recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, and to support them in their efforts to bring essential innovations to contribute to the fight against climate change. The funding is part of the EIT Crisis Response Initiative, which directly contributes to the European Union’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of 301 applicants from 25 countries applied for funding under the ‘Extraordinary COVID-19 Venture Support’ call launched by EIT Climate-KIC in May 2020 to support highly innovative climate impact ventures whose business has been impacted by the pandemic crisis. The start-up economy is severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Raising capital from investors is more difficult in the current climate and bringing innovations to the market is often delayed, sometimes disrupted.

EIT Climate-KIC shortlisted 19 businesses and invited them to participate in a ‘Climate impact forecast’ workshop and to deliver their five-year ‘Climate Impact Potential’. Different metrics were used to calculate the greenhouse gases emissions reduction potential of the innovation and assess the suitability of the business for the grant.

The nine ventures selected for funding develop innovations in agriculture, energy and industry. They will receive between €320,000 and €500,000 and are now invited to sign an investment agreement.

  • AgroSustain SA (€420,000), a venture from Switzerland, provides biological solutions for crop protection, including coatings for fruits and vegetables freshness extension as well as antifungal solutions, preventing fungal growth on crops in the field, and protecting the fresh produce during storage and distribution.
  • Alchemie Technology (€500,000), a start-up from the UK, commercialises breakthrough new technology for sustainable dyeing and finishing of textiles.
  • Brill Power (€500,000), is a UK-based team of battery specialists whose technology improves battery system performance with intelligent control technology.
  • Bound4blue (€500,000), a Spanish company, is on a mission to deliver automated wind-assisted propulsion systems (wingsails) to shipowners and operators looking to decrease their fuel-related costs and pollutant emissions up to 30 per cent.
  • Dabbel AI (€320,000), in Germany, developed Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven software able to self-manage commercial building energy systems. Available worldwide, DABBEL replaces the building engineer’s human brain with artificial intelligence, reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions up to 40 per cent.
  • Everimpact (€320,000), is a French company who developed software that combines satellite, ground sensors, and AI data to help cities and businesses measure their greenhouse gas emissions and identify opportunities to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • PlanBlue (€500,000), a company from Germany, combines satellite technology with artificial intelligence and underwater navigation in an intelligent underwater camera to monitor the effects of climate change, biodiversity, plastic waste pollution, but also enable sustainable industrial activities on and near seafloor areas, lake bottoms and river beds.
  • UniSieve AG (€440,000), a Swiss cleantech company, provides sustainable membrane separation solutions to customers in the chemical and energy industries.
  • Vultus (€500,000), a Swedish venture, eliminates waste in farming by offering satellite-based prescriptions, reducing nitrogen, fungicide and water usage by 30 per cent.

“Our entrepreneurship community has been severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis, be it through last-minute investment cancellations, losing customers, global supply chains being interrupted or even just distraction from prioritising the climate emergency in the face of immediate economic crisis,” says CEO of EIT Climate-KIC, Kirsten Dunlop.

“The volume and geographical spread of applications we received for this call shows how much support is needed across Europe, it also confirms that there is both an urgent need and an opportunity for the innovation community to focus on building capability for resilience and renewal. Our team has selected ventures that will significantly contribute to building back better – maximising the opportunity to accelerate decarbonisation and introduce sustainable solutions – and ventures that can achieve significant milestones in crisis prevention and resilience given the likelihood of further shocks.”

The funding will help the selected ventures to overcome this unprecedented situation and continue delivering innovative solutions for Europe and its citizens. The support package is one of the two elements of the ‘EIT Crisis Response Initiative’, a €60 million additional funding mobilised by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) to power innovations in health, climate change, digitisation, food, sustainable energy, urban mobility, manufacturing and raw materials. Eleven climate innovation projects across Europe had already been selected by EIT Climate-KIC to receive funding as part of the ‘Pandemic Response Projects’, the other instrument of this European initiative.

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