Earth Day: Discover 3 EIC-funded startups contributing to a more sustainable planet
Every April 22, we celebrate the Earth Day! The annual celebration of the environmental movement brings a different theme or area of focus each year. This year's theme is "Restore Our Earth" – a reminder of the opportunities that lay ahead. Many startups play a fundamental role in this transition to a greener future, creating technologies and solutions environmentally friendly. Earth Day is the perfect date to shed some light on a few EIC-funded startups (of many) that are contributing to a more sustainable planet. Discover them in the EIC Community.
PlanetCare: laundry without microplastic pollution
The Environmental Investigation Agency estimated that 51 trillion microplastic particles have accumulated in the ocean, with up to 219,000 tonnes of microplastics entering the sea from Europe each year. Microplastic pollution caused by washing processes of synthetic textiles has recently been assessed as the main source of primary microplastics in the oceans. Standard washing machines do not include a microfiber filter, and an effective solution to reduce fibre emissions is not available on the market. The EIC-funded startup PlanetCare, based in Slovenia, has developed Fibrestop, the first built-in microfiber filter for washing machines. The device consists of durable housing, a replaceable cartridge and an internal filter. Filtering is based on the physical capture of fibres, and no chemicals are used at any stage of the process. The cartridges can be returned to PlanetCare for recycling, ensuring an entirely closed-loop system and a circular business model.
According to Andrej Krzan, CRO at PlanetCare, the EIC funding has been essential for the startup. "It came at a crucial point in our development and allowed us to greatly accelerate our R&D. The grant with its prestige gave us credibility and opened doors to industrial partners that are key for getting our product on the market."
Brite Solar: energy innovations in glass
Agriculture is one significant burden that lies on our planet, leading to a great water consumption, energy and other resources that its production requires. With an expected increase in the world's population for the coming years, the impact on the environment can become impossible to withstand. Given the importance of making agriculture greener and more sustainable, Brite, an EIC-funded company from Greece, implements a project named PanePowerSW. The project's technology consists of a transparent solar panel glass that can generate clean energy while allowing light to shine through greenhouses windows.
On the one hand, PanePowerSW's technology leads to a significant reduction of energy operating costs in greenhouses. On the other hand, it enables the growth of crops due to its transparent surface. This innovation is already creating impact. Dr Nick Kanopoulos, President & CEO of PanePowerSW, noted: "a CO2 footprint study for the cultivation of grapes in a pilot greenhouse with our solar glass developed in Greece, reported for the first time globally a negative footprint per Kg of crops produced. This is a major contribution of our technology towards the global effort to "restore our earth" to a better and greener living environment."
Bioo: bio-electricity on the way
Climate change is becoming ever more tangible and having a real impact worldwide, with different effects like abnormal weather conditions and the rise of sea levels. So, what innovative sustainable resources can we use to produce clean energy? Arkyne Technologies S.L, a Spanish company, funded by the EIC, has an answer: Microbial Fuel Cells (MFC), which contribute to bio-electricity production. Bioo, has developed a biological battery, named Bioo Panel, capable of producing electricity by feeding on natural soil and using plants to maintain the ecosystem.
Bioo Panel can be installed underground, and it will visually fit the landscape while constantly producing clean electricity. Pablo M. Vidarte, CEO & Founder of Bioo, mentioned: "as a civilization, we passed through many revolutions, from burning fuels to using sources of energy that prevented the planet from getting worse by using artificial machinery on top of our fields. We've accomplished the next step of the line: creating a source of energy able to use and recover nature without damaging it; being able to let it reproduce freely without covering natural environments with artificial machines. The next technological revolution is the biotech revolution."