Armin Lutz Seidel from Munich has assembled 13 tiny statues of liberty on his presentation table. They stand for the garbage that millions of men in Germany produce when they shave. Seidel calculates that 13 times the weight of the US Statue of Liberty comes from the disposal of disposable plastic razor heads every year. The trained mechanical engineer got to work and tinkered with a razor made of metal, where only the blades had to be changed.
The result is called Shavent, is gender-neutral, dishwasher-safe and, above all, durable. Actually a product that was manufactured before industrial mass production, “we turn it back, that’s the plan,” says Seidel’s daughter Romy Lindenberg, who is responsible for marketing in the family start-up. That has too Ex-racing driver Nico Rosberg convinced who has invested in the company. Rosberg is co-owner of Greentech festivals at Tegel Airport, which will gather around 200 exhibitors on the topics of sustainability and climate neutrality until Friday. He invited Seidel to the event fair.
It’s hot on the airport forecourt, the sun is shining from a cloudless sky. The right weather to get in the mood for the themes that the festival deals with. Founded in Berlin in 2019, Greentech now has branches in New York, London and Singapore. The Berlin Greentech 2022 is significantly larger than in previous years. Rosberg and his partner Marco Voigt promote it as the largest European festival of its kind. The exhibitors come from 20 different countries, this time the partner country is Italy. In addition to their products and solutions, which can be seen in the former Lufthansa hangar and on the square in front of it, visitors can exchange ideas with company bosses, environmental activists and politicians at panel discussions. Prizes are awarded for innovative technical solutions and the most promising start-ups.
Billie Eilish is to give a greeting – via video
The festival was primarily thought up by Marco Voigt from Berlin, who studied automotive engineering. He worked at Porsche and founded the postal service provider Pin AG in the late 1990s, after which he advised the federal government on e-mobility. Voigt likes to get celebrities like singer Nena or Rosberg on board to increase attention. Superstar Billie Eilish is supposed to give a greeting at the festival, but only digitally. Another celebrity guest will be seen live: Federal Minister of Finance Christian Lindner (FDP). He is expected on Thursday at 1.30 p.m., together with the Deputy Mayor of Amsterdam, Marieke von Doorninck, who is responsible for sustainability in the city.
Among the exhibitors are also big brands such as Deutsche Bahn, Google, Lufthansa, L’Oreal, Telekom, E.On and Huawei. The real estate consultancy Drees & Sommer presents the “House of the Future”, of course with many smart home solutions for saving space and energy. The Berlin start-up NexAero presents its first hydrogen-powered air taxi. Big car manufacturers like Audi or Hyundai are showing their latest electric vehicles, the manufacturer Mini created a set of wheels that looks more like a lounge. This is still a gimmick by the developers, but Rosberg and Voigt are happy to take a seat on their press tour.
An electrically operated “City-Bot” for many tasks
The large automotive supplier Edag from Wiesbaden is exhibiting a vehicle in the hangar that would also fit well into a science fiction film. Marketing expert Johannes Imhof describes the streamlined automobile as a “City-Bot”, an autonomous multifunction unit on wheels. Suitable for transporting people, but also for clearing rubbish or watering street trees. The only disadvantage: The vehicle needs a cordoned-off area without disturbing individual traffic. A pilot test is planned for the Eintracht Frankfurt stadium. It has not yet been decided whether Edag will later build these prototypes together with a partner, i.e. a large automobile manufacturer, or completely independently.
Another main theme of the festival is water, especially water treatment and water production in arid regions of the world. And the topic of concrete, which has become the focus of green technology because of the energy-guzzling cement production. The BIGG conference, which stands for “Building Industry goes green”, will take place on Thursday as part of the Greentech Festival high CO2 emissions from the construction industry can be lowered.
The festival also includes the Greentech Awards, which are presented at a gala. In the area of innovation, three companies were nominated that want to solve major environmental problems: The Austrian company Phantor develops “water generators” that use condensation to extract drinking water from the air. Israeli company UBQ promises to turn unsorted household waste into a plastic substitute. The German company Wastx Plastic turns non-recyclable plastic waste into a fuel that can be used flexibly.
Water extraction from the air – with solar power
From a technical point of view, obtaining water from the air is relatively simple. In the meantime, it is more a question of reducing energy consumption and simplifying the devices for everyday use. There are also backpack solutions, says Christian Winzenried from the Zurich company Janus Management, which supports the company HuProTech as a start-up incubator. The energy for water production comes from solar panels on the backpack – or on a larger scale on a container, which can then independently obtain up to 2000 liters of drinking water from the air. They are in talks with a UN organization that is active in the field of development aid.
Sustainability is now the core issue in all areas. Aki Tuncer from the Danish fashion label Knowledge Cotton has always been very important to the environment. In the meantime he is being courted at fashion fairs, he says, he used to be placed in the furthest corner.
At Greentech he can show his recycled jeans, bags made from former plastic bottles and T-shirts made from organic cotton in the tent on the outdoor area. For every T-shirt sold, the company donates ten euros to the Water-Aid aid project. Unfortunately they would big brands only hesitantly or not at all into sustainable fashion invest, Tuncer complains. The reason is the price. A pair of recycled jeans costs 10 to 20 euros more than normal ones.