:agile, E.ON´s accelerator and seed-investor, and the venture capital fund Technologie Berlin, managed by IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft bmH, has closed an investment in nuventura, a startup that replaces SF6 in gas-insulated switchgear with dry air.
The core principle of nuventura’s technology is the avoidance of SF6 – the most potent greenhouse gas in existence. Gas-insulated switchgear, a fundamental component of any electricity grid, uses SF6 as a protective gas layer enclosing the conductors. Instead of SF6, nuventura uses simple dry air in its switchgear design, while keeping all benefits of the SF6-technology.
SF6 has a global warming potential of 23500, meaning that once released, its greenhouse effect is 23500 times stronger than the effect of CO2. It is a synthetic gas for which neither a natural sink exists, nor an effective disposal method is at hand, making its accumulation in the atmosphere virtually irreversible. As a synthetic gas, SF6 is extremely long-lived – its atmospheric lifetime is 3,200 years. Because of its strong global warming effect, its actual emissions equal to the CO2 emissions of approximately 100 million cars per year. While 85% of the total global SF6 production is used inside gas insulated switchgear, nuventura aims to replace this use case with its technology, to effectively abandon the use of SF6 at all.
“Our technology is currently unique in its market segment of medium voltage applications, because we managed to make it simpler and competitive with current technologies while adding additional benefits relevant for future smart grids.” says Manjunath Ramesh, co-founder and managing director of nuventura.
Switchgear equipped with nuventura’s solution is easier to operate than SF6-based technology and allows for sensors within the gas container, which monitor the equipment and capture valuable operating data for smart grid applications. Based on sensor data, the operator can optimize maintenance cycles and anticipate required actions to ensure smooth operations. Sensors also play a key role in grid IT security and therefore for smart grid management.
nuventura has joined :agile accelerator in early 2018 and have been closely working with E.ON ever since. “Our aim as is to partner with startups that developed trendsetting tech, have a great and diverse team and that are able to set up pilots with the E.ON businesses,” says Inga Land, Managing Director of :agile accelerator GmbH. “Nuventura brings all that along and we are looking forward to keep working with them. Apart from the investment, it is planned to launch a pilot project together with E.ON’s grid operator E.DIS at Ketzin substation, site of the E.DIS energy transition lab.”
After the investment the company now has a substantial 7-digit EUR amount at hand to realize its upcoming goals and milestones. nuventura will use the new investment to realize several installations of their technology in electricity grids in and outside Germany and to develop additional products based on the company’s patents. The new funds will also be used to continue certifying its sustainable, patented technology for gas insulated switchgear for commercial application in the medium voltage range and to enter the market for switchgear technologies as a technology licensing company. “We should do everything in our power to achieve a complete ban of SF6. That is why we are making our technology available to all switchgear manufacturers via licenses,” Fabian Lemke, commercial director at nuventura, adds.
nuventura contributes to ambitious sustainability and climate commitments that E.ON has made. “As an ecologically responsible network operator, we are highly interested in finding alternatives to SF6 technology and actively contribute to climate protection,” states Dr. Alexander Montebaur, Chairman of the Board of E.DIS AG. “We consider the innovative approach of nuventura as very promising.”
Read the last article about nuventura here