Portuguese startups win at Cleantech
The Portuguese startups Albedo and Amnis Pura have won the first and third prizes at Cleantech Camp 2021.
The Cleantech Camp acceleration programme is aimed at startups, business projects or unincorporated companies in the clean energy sector. The main themes are: biogas and hydrogen, circular economy, energy efficiency, IoT & AI energy, Renewable energies, Smart Cities, Smart Factories, Smart Grids and Sustainable Mobility.
Ninety clean business ideas applied to enter this year’s 6th Cleantech Camp, an Iberian entrepreneurial programme dedicated to technologies in the clean energy area.
From the candidates, just 15 projects from Spain, Portugal, France, Sweden, Italy, Finland and Ukraine were selected to get the training that the programme made available, between April and July this year.
Of these, only three managed to secure a place on the podium of winners, two of which were Portuguese startups – Albedo and Amnis Pura.
Albedo won first prize taking home a €20,000 cheque after presenting a project that aims to combat energy inefficiency in buildings by using critical residual biological matter (dried lemon and other citrus fruit peels) in insulation to be used in the construction sector.
Laura Lourenzo, who created Albedo told ECO that the idea for the invention arose during the confinement and then she rolled up her sleeves and got down to work.
“During the confinement, I spent many hours sat in front of a window overlooking the front yard area of my house and watched the lemons grow. This observation made me realise that despite high temperatures, exposure to sun and lack of water, lemons were perfect and lemon peel could be used as a natural insulation material,” she said.
To date, the startup has already collected the citrus waste from various municipalities “which come from citrus fruit cooperatives, from the fruit juice industry, citrus fruit waste and the peel waste from freshly squeezed orange juice machines in supermarkets, hotels, airports and restaurants”.
The other startup, Amnis Pura, was founded as a spinoff at Porto University’s Faculty of Engineering. It has developed a gas purification technology, including hydrogen, for a vast range of industries.
“The project, based on Pressure Swing Absorption technology, can be viewed as a series of columns interlinked via a system of valves. The columns have an absorbent material and it is this that selectively separates out specific gases, acting like a filter,” explained Frederico Relvas, the entrepreneur who came up with the idea.
However, it was by improving the absorbent material and creating an innovative system of controlling the process which enabled Amnis Pura to be 15% more efficient than competing companies, that enabled it to secure 3rd place at Cleantech Camp 2021 and prize money of €5,000.