Nadja Kirchhof


“Network Sustainability Award 2021”: the winners

  • Sunfire, INERGYS, Verdigris, and phelas impress with their sustainable solutions 
  • Award honors tech innovators with solutions for renewable energies and network management
Deutsche Telekom „Network Sustainability Award 2021“

Thinking about sustainability today: Telekom supports the startup and business community in shaping a more sustainable world.

Grand stage for startups and companies with solutions for energy production and storage: At the Telekom Tech Grounds, the winners of the second edition of the Sustainability Award, this time focusing on network sustainability, were honored. The award is organized by hub:raum, Deutsche Telekom’s tech incubator, and presented in collaboration with award partners Orange, SK Telecom, Microsoft, and the Solar Impulse Foundation.

Sustainability triumphs

The jury’s chosen candidate for the top of the winner’s podium was the German company Sunfire. It scored high with its idea for scalable and clean electricity from fuel cells with BioLPG or e-propane to support PV or battery solutions. These guarantee off-grid telecommunications operations. 

Second place was awarded to the solution from INERGYS. The French startup relies on systems developed in-house, which use wind and solar power to generate renewable energy.

Verdigris convinced the jury of its AI-controlled energy management system for intelligent buildings and data centers. The American company secured the third place.

phelas has developed the key needed to unlock the energy transition: an energy storage system for operators of renewable energy, grid operators, and the energy sector. Although the solution is still in the very early stages, the jury was impressed with its great potential and the young German startup therefore won a special prize.

"Sustainability concerns us all. Deutsche Telekom cares deeply about this issue. I am convinced that only with technology we can have a positive impact on our environment. And with strong ideas and partners”, says Claudia Nemat, Telekom Board member responsible for technology and innovation. “With the Network Sustainability Award, we want to support innovative solutions and approaches from the sustainable sector. We are delighted with the high quality of the applications received worldwide. And the journey continues: As the next step, we will develop a proof of concept together with the four winners and the partners."

The four finalists will share a total of 60,000 euros in prize money (1st place: 25,000; 2nd place: 15,000, 3rd place; and special prize: 10,000). Moreover, the sponsoring companies will support them in the development of a proof of concept.

Sustainability is already a crucial factor

With this award, Deutsche Telekom is supporting the startup and business community to create a more sustainable world. How can the relevant technologies for the next decade be made more sustainable? That’s the challenge the ICT industry faces, and the starting point for the Network Sustainability Award.

Fighting climate change is one of the most urgent issues of our time. Deutsche Telekom has set ambitious climate goals for itself that make an active contribution to achieving the 1.5-degree goal of the Paris Agreement. This includes reducing its own emissions to zero by 2025. Deutsche Telekom is also to be a net zero company by 2040 at the latest, which means eliminating its carbon footprint. An important milestone has already been achieved: the company now sources all its electricity for the entire Group from renewable sources of energy. In addition to using renewable energy sources, energy efficiency also plays a key role in achieving the climate targets. The digitalization and modernization of the networks make a significant contribution to this. As such, incorporating sustainability into technological innovations at an early stage and developing sustainable technological solutions in the long term are key priorities for the company.

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