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SoundEnergy is a Dutch start-up that has invented an air conditioning system which requires neither electricity nor a coolant, the THEAC-25. The system converts heat into cold using thermal acoustic technology. Instead of the usual coolants, THEAC-25 works with argon, a climate-neutral gas. At the moment, the system is primarily profitable when it comes to commercial use. However, in the future, Sound Energy wants to develop 10- and 5-kilowatt systems for private homes.

Innovation Origins talked to SoundEnergy’s CEO Herbert Berkhout about their goals and the beginnings of the start-up.

SoundEnergy-CEO Herbert Berkhout © SoundEnergy

How did you come up with the idea to start SoundEnergy?

After researching cooling issues in auxiliary buildings as an architect, I came in contact with this technology: thermo acoustics, developed by Kees de Blok and Pawel Owczarek. I recognized its potential right away. The three of us decided to cooperate and I organized a few feasibility studies with construction industry and real estate partners. These seemed economically viable. From that moment on, we decided to develop a scalable product – The THEAC-25.

What makes SoundEnergy special compared to other companies in your field?

No use of electricity. Converting heat loss directly into practical cooling with no moving parts and low maintenance cost and a high level of efficiency.

What was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome?

The credibility of a start-up in a very conservative market.

Was there a moment when you wanted to give up?

In 2015, after the first potential client told us after a positive feasibility study that he could not wait anymore for our prototype to be available and he decided to cool his building with conventional products. It was completely understandable, but it was a disappointment.

And vice versa: What was the best moment for you when it came to founding the company? What made you particularly proud?

When we won the Young Technology Award 2015 (public and jury prize) and our future investor, Cottonwood Technology Fund (New Mexico, USA) was present in the audience, voted for us and later invested a 7-digit amount in us.

What can we expect from you in the coming years?

SoundEnergy will grow fast internationally and wants to become a world leader in cooling using solar and/or industrial heat loss.

What is your vision for SoundEnergy?

Prove the technology within the Western European markets and then quickly grow in the emerging markets.

Some general information:
Who are the founders of the startup: Herbert Berkhout, Kees de Vlok, Pawel Owczarek
Year founded: March 5, 2015
Financing: Venture capital
Employees: We have a world-class team of dedicated science, technical and commercial experts, who are all idealistic and determined to succeed in their mission.

More about SoundEnergy:
Solution for cruise ships? Air conditioning without external power input uses heat for cooling

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