Solaga: We are currently working on two projects: one is a patented process of biogas production. The second is the the development of biofilm panels used for air cleaning
How did the idea for Solaga come about?
A few years ago, Solaga’s founders Ben and Johann stumbled upon this underestimated natural wonder : biofilms. They saw the huge potential of biofilms in our daily life and environment ; they could be renewable sources of energy and could be used as an air cleansing systems both indoors and outdoors.
In 2015 our founders made their university project a reality. Since then they have dedicated themselves to developing our biofilm’s countless properties. More specifically we have two major ongoing projects.
One patents have been filed, and outdoor systems are being tested.
In cooperation with GASAG AG our first pilot façade elements were built in 2017 on the EUREF campus in Berlin. Another system is being tested at the UFA fabrik.
What is the vision behind Solaga?
Our purpose today is to make biofilms part of our daily lives and allow everyone to benefit from there natural properties. We strongly believe they will help us build a greener society.
One of the two projects mentioned is Solaga Biogas. Thanks to this biogas production process, we want to provide a robust, reliable, affordable and smart solution to nonrenewable energy resources to all households. Our biogas process is an alternative to fossil fuels. It is only produced from CO2, trace elements and biomass! This means it allows to rebalance the carbon cycle too.
The second project is a wall decor, a biofilm in a frame called Alwe. With our Alwe we also realized biofilms could improve our living conditions by potentially reducing the amount of pollutants in our households. Research is undergoing in our lab.
Small particles and city smog have been in news headlines on a daily basis these past years. Biofilms could address this urgent issue.
From the idea to the start what have been the biggest challenges so far and how did you finance yourself?
Finding investors and communicating about our projects is very time-consuming. However, this aspect of our work is unavoidable because advanced science is extremely expensive so we need strong support.
Local and European institutions have backed us since the beginning. The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)and the CLAAS Foundation provide support to young talents and innovators like us and helped us to launch this startup.
GASAG AG is the largest municipal gas supply company in Western Europe. KIC InnoEnergy Business Creation is Europe’s largest accelerator in the field of sustainable energy. They have both vowed to help reduce CO2 emissions by finding sustainable resources, and seen the potential in our projects in answering this major issue. They are today our major sponsors.
Who is the target group of Solaga?
In the future, our biogas production system could be installed in any household. Communities could also share the system. We want this to be affordable for the majority, so we target all average citizens.
On the other hand Alwe is a high quality design product created for people that are particularly curious about science, vertical gardening and unique decoration pieces.
How does Solaga work?
Our boss, Benjamin Herzog manages the company and with the cofounder Johan Bauerfiend takes care of public relations and communicating. We have a very passionate science team made up of engineers specialized in different fields.
We all work together in our office for better synergy. All of our research and production also takes place in the lab, where Alwes are carefully handcrafted.
What advantages does Solaga offer? What sets you apart from other providers?
Solaga is special because our approach is unique; we are the only ones to provide and commercialize biofilms with these applications. We strongly believe in the potential of our products; they are high quality devices, meticulously handcrafted and tested in our laboratory using our expertise in biotechnology.
When it comes to green energy our Solaga Biogas system has for instance major assets like easy storage of the biogas, decentralizing energy supply and a simple installation.
Solaga, where is the road going? Where do you see yourself in five years?
In the future, we want Solaga to be big enough to provide our green solutions to everyone and to continue exploring biofilm’ potential applications all the while keeping our team spirit.
Most importantly, we want to be the creators of a new platform technology, that intervenes directly in the carbon cycle and hence decarbonization. We are at the starting point of what could be a platform technology that could have a huge impact, allowing the development of a stable bio-based economy, and the replacement of the fossil fuel industry.
Ultimately, we want to transform cities, bring back natural elements that also have a very significant and smart purpose. In our vision we see grey concrete areas beautified by biofilms that are both functional and aesthetic!
Finally, what 3 tips would you give aspiring founders?
Get out there, meet inspiring people! You will learn from them, get feedback on your own project, learn from other people’s experiences.
Stay true to your vision. Be honest about the aspects of your project you have to improve, people will appreciate that and respect and trust you more for it.
Take care of your team. Maintaining dynamism and motivation in your team is the key to success!
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