We all know the effect that carbon dioxide (CO2) has on global warming. But did you know that SF6 is the world’s most potent greenhouse gas?
Not many people do. Although it occurs in smaller amounts compared to CO2, the annual SF6 emissions are equal to CO2 emissions from approximately 100 million cars. The majority of SF6 emissions come from its use as an insulating medium in switchgears - an essential component of any electricity grid.
With a collective responsibility to limit the progress of global warming, the energy industry has been hindered by their reliance on SF6. No-one could find a viable alternative - that was until Manjunath Ramesh put his mind to it.
Manjunath spent 10 years working in the power industry where he gained an in-depth knowledge of switchgear technology. With a nagging concern about the long-term environmental impact of SF6, he broke the switchgear design down to its basic principles. Then he redesigned it without the need for the harmful gas.
With a shared passion for improving the impact that the energy industry has on the environment, Manjunath joined forces with entrepreneurs Nikolaus Thomale and Dr. Fabian Lemke. Together they founded Nuventura and developed Manjunath’s product idea.
Nuventura’s switchgear technology simply replaces the greenhouse gas with breathable air making it completely carbon neutral and environmentally friendly. For energy providers it means they benefit from a solution that’s easier to install, monitor, maintain and they can stay ahead of climate change regulations.
The business model
Nuventura’s vision is to create a clean, efficient and climate-safe global power sector free from the use of SF6. To achieve it they will licence their technology to partners that make up the global network of switchgear manufacturers. The combination of Neventura’s technology, along with the manufacturers tailored service and customised solutions, will make sure that local energy needs are met.
With a global switchgear market valued at €29 billion and growing at over 8.5% annually, Nuventura feel confident they can build a successful business, while making the use of SF6 redundant in the world's electricity grids.
The next steps
As part of the :agile accelerator programme, Nuventura can take their business to the next level.
They are currently piloting their prototype product with a German utilities company and hope to start pilots with other major European utilities in collaboration with manufacturers. Their next big investment will be to certify the safety and performance of their product through an independent accredited laboratory.
‘Being part of the :agile programme has been a fantastic experience for us. Having access to E.ON's know-how and broad network has been invaluable in our manoeuvring of the grid industry. It is highly recommended for any startup looking to enter this space,’ says Nikolaus Thomale from Nuventura.