Charge electric cars cheaper and faster and have a cheaper power supply for your own home. All this without the need for large and cumbersome batteries, which are a major cost factor for cars too. Is that at all possible? Yes, it certainly is. With the “Battery-as-a-Service” concept, the Berlin-based start-up Clean Energy Global are offering exactly that. The Clean Energy Pack, consisting of a “scalable, universal energy storage system for stationary and mobile use. And the Clean Energy Net that comes with it, its software and cloud environment.” This is what the company has to offer in terms of storage and supply of electricity for the home and on the road.
Clean Energy Global co-founder Christoph Stürmer spoke with Innovation Origins about his company.
How did you come up with the idea of starting this start-up?
The story goes back a long way: In 2004, co-founders Philipp Rosengarten and Christoph Stürmer published a specialist book on premium automobile brands titled “Premium Power – Das Geheimnis des Erfolgs von Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche und Audi,” (Premium Power – The Secret of Success for Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche and Audi). They then started a project for an electric high-performance sedan together with Peter Marchl. It soon became clear that an electric vehicle’s economy would be compromised by its use of large batteries. This gave rise to the idea of a modular battery. Which quickly evolved into the concept of a universal battery system with cloud integration. That’s when the company was founded. The term “Battery-as-a-Service” was coined at the 2018 Hanover Trade Fair.
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What makes your product Clean Energy Global so special compared to your competitors and what problems does it resolve?
The innovative business model Battery-as-a-Service from Clean Energy Global GmbH is made up of the Clean Energy Pack, a secure and universal energy storage system for stationary and mobile use. Plus there is the Clean Energy Net that comes with it. This is the cloud-based software that enables communication and billing between operators and users of Clean Energy Packs. Also between electricity producers and customers. Which makes a completely new business model and a reduction of electricity storage costs by a factor of 2 to 3 all possible. This is done by combining Clean Energy Pack and Clean Energy Net products into Battery-as-a-Service. Here’s what the Clean Energy Pack technical USP offers in comparison to other battery systems:
- Scalable standard battery systems via flexible layout of individual Clean Energy Packs in 48/96 Volt applications or 4 or 8 Clean Energy Packs in groups of 20/40 kWh for 400/800V respectively.
- Reduction in vehicle’s recharging time to less than 1 minute, so there is no longer concern about the range. Operational readiness is increased by the rapid establishment of exchange stations for compatible vehicles.
- Lower investment and operating costs through reduction of battery consumption by up to two-thirds.
- Creation of micro-grids and stabilization of the electricity grid through clean energy mixes in electric vehicles, charging stations, battery swapping stations and stationary applications (energy storage, UPS reserve for power outages).
What has been the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome?
Every day we have to review and improve the company’s direction and strategy in order to ensure its optimal development. This is a constant challenge, especially from a financial point of view. Our concept contains so many important innovations and new solutions that it is difficult to explain it all or grasp it quickly. Our biggest obstacle is the preconceived ideas in people’s minds, especially those of so-called specialists and experts!
What motivates you to go to work every morning?
When Clean Energy Global was founded in Berlin in 2016, the founders had a vision: to make renewable electricity the world’s most important energy resource. We believe we can make a significant contribution to a better, safer and more sustainable world. That’s what motivates us.
Was there ever a moment when you wanted to give up?
Yes, at least once a day. If the team can’ t reach consensus on various ideas, methods and processes yet doesn’t waste valuable time and resources. Then its the clear vision and personal commitment of the team and our private investors which makes it possible for us to keep on going.
On the other hand, what has made you particularly proud?
At the start of 2019, we were able to unload the first tangible demonstration model of the Clean Energy Pack from the transport crate. That was definitely a very special moment. Time and time again, we experienced moments of sincere, personal enthusiasm about our idea at the world’s major trade fair. At these events, we have been able to fundamentally change the perspective of individuals. We are very proud of all that. We were recently invited by Rinspeed (the world-renowned manufacturer of vehicle concepts) to join them at some of the most important trade fairs around the world. We are pleased to have been nominated for the 2019 eMove360° Award. – And we are looking forward to the award ceremony!
What can we expect from Clean Energy Global in the coming years?
The aim of the current financing round is to create the very first commercial product of this type (First Viable Product) and to generate the first sales revenues from pilot series and licensing. Most of the capital raised will be immediately reinvested in the development of the core products Clean Energy Pack and Clean Energy Net. As well as in demonstration models of the primary initial applications. For example, in the first half of 2020 we plan to be able to show the first prototypes of the Clean Energy Pack and concept samples for vehicles and energy storage units that are to be equipped with it. From mid-2020, we want to offer the Clean Energy Packs commercially and use them as solar energy storage and as traction batteries for vehicles that will be retrofitted. In 2021, the high voltage version of the Clean Energy Pack will be launched for even more high-performance applications. We will also design and develop more innovative applications all the way up to the fully automatic battery exchange station.
Who are Clean Energy Global’s customers?
Clean Energy Global’s license holders are manufacturers of battery systems, electrical systems, solar energy systems and electric vehicles around the world. They sell their products to the major power supply system operators, gas stations, service workshops or vehicle fleets. These in turn offer “Battery-as-a-Service” and their services to end customers worldwide. This is a multi-secured business model that reconciles the interests of all stakeholders and secures rapid and safe growth.
What is your vision for Clean Energy Global?
Clean Energy Pack and Clean Energy Net have the potential to be used worldwide as a vision for every factory and every vehicle that runs on electricity. They can also be used for smaller power plants as temporary storage and grid energy buffers. These have the highest market growth potential in the world.