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Press release

Around 50 international startups presenting their innovations

March 14, 2024

  • Newly founded startups presenting themselves to the market for the first time
  • Guided tours presenting exciting startups each day
  • Green Stage: activity area for lectures, networking and discussions

IFAT Munich is once again presenting itself as a launch pad for innovative young companies in the environmental technology sector. From May 13 to 17, 2024, they will be presenting themselves to international experts in the Start-up Area, on the Green Stage, and on special guided tours.

“While startup activity has slowed down in other sectors of the economy, the dynamism of the startup scene in the environmental technology industry remains high,” says Stefan Rummel. The CEO of Messe München attributes this primarily to the long-term, existential importance of the topics dealt with. “Solving global environmental problems—such as climate change and its consequences, polluted seas and water shortages, or growing mountains of waste and dwindling natural resources—is one of the major challenges facing humanity and offers virtually unlimited scope for innovative ideas and new business models,” Rummel is certain about that.

Start-up Area for international young companies

Consequently, young companies will once again be given a broad forum at IFAT Munich 2024. From May 13 to 17 of this year, the world’s leading trade fair for environmental technology will once again feature a Start-up Area in Hall C4. Around 50 young companies from over 15 countries will present themselves in the separate exhibition area. Among them will be, for example, the Norwegian company Renasys, which aims to revolutionize wastewater treatment with a new type of mechanical filtration. “Our process offers unprecedented high flow rates for filtration levels from 40 down to 5 microns,” explains Christopher Sveen, Co-Founder and CEO at Renasys, and continues: “We are not only achieving outstanding efficiency in particle removal, but are also pioneering the recovery of resources, for example, organic matter from municipal wastewater or minerals from mining.” His aim is to forge further long-term partnerships at IFAT Munich in order to jointly tackle some of the world’s most pressing ecological challenges.

IFAT Munich 2024 also marks the market entry of Solar Materials. The Magdeburg-based startup has set itself the task of using its patented technology to completely recycle solar modules. “Not only glass, aluminum and copper are recovered, as has been customary in the industry to date, but also the critical raw material silicon and the precious metal silver,” explains co-founder Dr. Jan-Philipp Mai. According to him, this added value reduces recycling fees for customers such as solar farm operators and module manufacturers. The company currently has an annual recycling capacity of up to 150,000 modules, which should already have been expanded to 500,000 modules by 2025.

At the moment, the plan for Metycle, a young company founded in Cologne in 2022, is to become the “world’s most efficient and trusted marketplace for secondary metals.” The digital platform enables sellers and buyers to trade in all types of metals and mixed metals. Metycle manages the entire trading chain so that scrap dealers and metal collectors don’t need to contact recycling companies and smelters themselves. The respective parties to the transaction can track the supply chain online in real time.

Guided tours daily to selected startups

In addition to visiting the exhibitors in the Start-up Area on their own, trade visitors to IFAT Munich 2024 can also join guided tours. In the afternoon, from Monday through Thursday, selected companies in the special area will be visited with an expert guide.

Four lecture blocks on the Green Stage

As an additional information and networking offering, the Start-up Area will also include an activity area called “Green Stage” for exhibitor lectures, presentations by associations and partner institutions, and scientifically oriented discussion panels. On the mornings of the first four days of the trade fair, the program will include two-hour lecture and discussion blocks on topics of particular relevance to the startup scene. The example of automated dismantling will be used to look at the end of the linear economy and the opportunities for industrial collaboration, while current approaches for an optimized circular economy will be presented and discussed based on the construction sector. Other focal points will be the technical implementation options from the bioeconomy and cooperation between startups and the public sector.

More startups on the rest of the exhibition grounds

“With the Start-up Area, we are making it easier for young companies to access the market, and offering a concentrated space for the startup scene, but of course there are also many more exciting newcomers among the other exhibitors in our 18 halls and the outdoor area,” as Philipp Eisenmann, Exhibition Director of IFAT Munich, stresses.

WeSort.AI will be there for the first time and directly as the main exhibitor in Hall B5, Stand 124. Founded in 2021, the Würzburg-based company has developed from a promising idea into a respected player in the recycling industry within just two and a half years. Specializing in the granular analysis and sorting of waste objects using artificial intelligence (AI) and object recognition, WeSort.AI is revolutionizing waste management. “With our solution, we are opening up new fractions and achieving previously unattained levels of purity,” explains co-founder Nathanael Laier and continues: “A highlight of our technology, the ‘BatterySort’ product, makes a significant contribution to fire prevention in sorting plants. We will also be presenting it in a lecture at IFAT Munich on the Green Stage.” The technology is already being used successfully by various recyclers in Germany, and further AI analysis and sorting machines will be installed in 2024.

The example of Greyparrot shows the outstanding development that former young companies can achieve. The British company already presented its innovative system, which uses AI and machine learning to optimize the waste sorting process, at the last IFAT Munich in 2022—back then still as part of the Start-up Area. Greyparrot will be back in Munich again this year, but this time as a “regular” exhibitor in Hall B4, Stand 137. “Over the past two years, we have made massive progress in many areas—from the expansion of our waste recognition library to more than 70 categories, and the installation of over 100 Greyparrot analyzers in 14 countries, to our recently announced strategic partnership with Bollegraaf, the world’s largest manufacturer of recycling systems,” says Mikela Druckman. And the CEO of Greyparrot is looking further ahead: “Progress in tackling the global waste and resource crisis can only be made if we work together. That’s why we are once again looking forward to IFAT Munich to find out how our system can support the international key players in the recycling sector even more extensively.”

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© Messe München GmbH
IFAT Munich is once again presenting itself as a launch pad for around 50 innovative young companies in the environmental technology sector.