Green Businesses Made In Ukraine: Startups Are Fixing The Grid, Empowering Mobility, & Reducing Waste

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By Kateryna Prohnimak, Editor-in-Chief of Greencubator, and Andrij Zinchenko, co-founder of Greencubator.

Ukraine is one of 45 participants in the coming global green business ideas competition known as ClimateLaunchpad. This Eastern European country has also became one of the 10 countries with the largest number of participating startups. Out of initial 55 applicants to the contest, 8 teams made it to the national final.

ukraine climatelaunchpad

The winners — UGrid, TOKA, Stock-Factory — will represent Ukraine at the Global Grand Final in Edinburgh, Scotland on 1-2 November. And their plans for fixing climate change are quite ambitious.

“This year’s Ukrainian ClimateLaunchpad competition demonstrated us just how versatile the cleantech sector can be. Our national finalists who are getting prepared to compete in Edinburgh belong to different cleantech markets: power plants; electrical mobility; optimization of market places and product loss reduction. This vividly demonstrates that there is an opportunity for climate-friendly innovation pretty much in each and every industry,” says Roman Zinchenko, head of Greencubator, an NGO supporting the Ukrainian national final of ClimateLaunchpad.

Here is a closer look at Ukrainian startups aspiring to win the prizes at world’s largest climate-friendly startup competition.

Smarter Local Grids

The developers of the next big thing for electric grids — UGrid – have won the first place of Ukraine’s National CLP final. A team of five has created a hardware and software solution for deploying microgrids based on legacy electricity grids. Users of these distributed sustainable power plants will get convenient tools for managing and controlling power consumption, and will be able to use their electricity in a most efficient way combining various sources. For better control and prediction of energy use, UGrid provides tools to create virtual power plants (VPPs) relying on existing distributed energy resources (DER). This technology combines microinverters, IoT-controllers, and cloud-based software. UGrid’s solution is a good choice for utilities and users who struggle to reduce the use of fossil energy sources and avoid overpayments during peak periods.

Pavlo Repalo, founder of UGrid, explains the vision behind the project: “Imagine that you have a solar panel on your roof or a windmill near your house. It makes you green, which sounds great. But imagine a couple of million of people who did the same. That sounds great, too, but… There is always “but.” When the usage of weather-dependent generation increases, the grid becomes more unbalanced: someone will face a lack of energy, someone will have a surplus of it. So, to be green you will need distributed balancing capabilities. UGrid is going to address this problem. We will unite all green people in one dynamic network which will be balanced by our distributed virtual power plant solution.”

E-mobility for Urban Apartment Owners

TOKA, a company deploying a charging station network for electric vehicles, also will compete at Edinburgh. This team managed to develop smart energy-balancing system for apartment complexes. TOKA aims to create an e-charging stations suitable for nighttime charging for both residents and builders of new houses.

Their product can make night charging sessions more convenient and profitable. The equation is simple and efficient for developers of apartment complexes — by shifting EV charging load towards night time when electricity demand is low, they reduce both the electricity bill for residents and connection costs for developers. While a larger amount of convenient charging stations might convince urban citizens to switch to electric vehicles, the TOKA team makes charging stations more attractive for companies who build residential complexes.

Discarded Goods Treated Right

In most cases your local supermarket does not tell you it throws away large amounts of food and goods, usually because they are about to expire or have small visual defects – but are still completely edible! No supermarket really wants to admit the problem, but Stock-Factory decided to make a sustainable climate-friendly business on removing this pain-point of grocery stores.

The team developed a smart platform for manufacturers and retailers which helps them with selling the unsold stock of quality goods or passing it on to the charity. This will help to reduce the amount of wasted/destroyed goods in the trading chain and improve logistics, thereby reducing the carbon footprint and sheer volume of waste.

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