Saarbrücken, Germany, 25 September 2020
Dutch clean energy conglomerate Koolen Industries has invested €3 million in Kraftblock, a German firm that uses nanotechnology to develop new ways to store and transport energy as heat.
“Energy storage is an essential cornerstone that underpins both our efforts to cut emissions from industry and to transition to renewable energy. Kraftblock’s technology makes both of these goals achievable,” said Kees Koolen, Chairman and CEO, Koolen Industries.
Kraftblock’s thermal energy storage system is used to capture excess heat, which is an inevitable by-product of industrial operations, and reuse it as energy for production.
“This helps industrial companies decarbonize and significantly reduce their overall carbon dioxide emissions, which delivers not only ecological benefits but cost savings too, as they will be less affected by recently introduced CO2 taxes,” said Martin Schichtel, CEO, Kraftblock.
In addition, the system is used to store electricity generated by solar or wind power and converted to heat.
“By capturing and utilising heat that would normally go to waste, Kraftblock’s technology makes it possible to decarbonise industry. By storing renewable energy, it makes it possible to deliver clean energy to people whenever and wherever they need it, for instance during times when there is no sun or wind,” said Koolen.
In 2018, German Shark Tank Judge and Tech Investor Frank Thelen backed Kraftblock with his VC fund Freigeist, who also focuses on supporting disruptive, purpose-driven tech startups.
“Just like Freigeist, Koolen Industries invests in technology that has the potential to help us overcome many of the biggest challenges facing humankind – climate change. Kraftblock is one of those technologies, as its storage technology could be the missing piece in the energy transition,” said Frank Thelen, Founder and CEO, Freigeist Capital.
The high-temperature storage system based on nanotechnology is significantly more efficient than other thermal storage systems on the market, which mostly use salt or concrete as a storage medium. The granule developed by Kraftblock stores temperatures of up to 1.300 degrees and thus has a significantly higher overall efficiency. Thanks to the modular structure, the storage system is very cost-effective and can be easily scaled up to individual needs.
The granules are made from about 85% recycled material, which makes them eco-friendly and sustainable. In addition, they have a practically infinite lifespan of some 15,000 cycles, which compares well with, say, lithium battery cells that are limited to a maximum 8,000 cycles.
The heat storage technology developed by Kraftblock is very concentrated, which makes it affordable to transport large amounts of heat. Moreover, they have ready to scale concepts that allow isolation with less heat loss than in other applications.
“With the seven-figure investment from Koolen Industries and the valuable support from Kees Koolen, we plan to pursue the projects in our pipeline, grow the team and finance the upcoming internationalization”, said Schichtel.
“With Koolen Industries we have found the ideal partner for our future development. We expect mutual knowledge transfer from the cooperation.”
Kraftblock (formerly Nebuma GmbH) is a green tech startup founded in Saarbrücken in 2014 that manufactures high-temperature storage systems. The patented, nanotechnology-based storage granulate can effectively store temperatures of up to 1,300 degrees, which leads to significantly higher efficiency than in conventional thermal storage systems. By offering the storage system in modular containers, mobile, transportable as well as stationary applications are possible. The company was founded by Dr. Martin Schichtel and Dr. Susanne König.
The mission of Koolen Industries is to enable everyone to contribute to and participate in the energy transition. Generating clean energy from wind and the sun, and developing solutions that store, transport and deliver this energy, we provide consumers and industry with an autonomous life that is independent of the grid.
Koolen Industries is a group of companies that cooperate to offer complete, integrated clean energy solutions to companies and consumers. Whether it is about solar energy, lithium batteries, power to gas solutions, charging infrastructure or a combination thereof; Koolen Industries can transfer the wish of customers into reality.
Since its inception in 2019, Koolen Industries has brought a number of companies into the fold. These include solar panel installations companies BonGo Solar and NovaVolt, lithium battery maker Super B, energy storage company Smart Grid, electric charging infrastructure firm Floading Energy, green hydrogen and ammonia company Proton Ventures, mobile energy storage company GreenBattery, flow battery developer Elestor, cloud-based mobile energy storage platform provider Skoon Energy, EIT InnoEnergy, which invests in sustainable energy start-ups across Europe, AI robotics company Aziobot and Hardt Hyperloop.
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