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Accelerating circular innovations with the ABB startup challenge

ABB's 2023 Accelerating Circularity Startup Challenge crowns innovators of circular solutions, the winners are driving waste reduction, product reuse, and sustainability.

Abb Accelerating Circularity Challenge All Winners

ABB has recently concluded its 2023 ABB Accelerating Circularity Startup Challenge, aimed at promoting circular innovations that contribute to a more sustainable and resource-efficient future. The challenge attracted over 100 startups from around the world, each with the goal of designing solutions that align with circular economy principles, including waste reduction, product reuse, and regenerating natural systems.

The ABB Accelerating Circularity Startup Challenge is part of ABB's broader commitment to developing customer solutions that help preserve the earth's natural resources and create a low-carbon society. By 2030, ABB aims to innovate new circular business models that cover all stages of the product life cycle. The challenge provides an opportunity for startups to collaborate with ABB and collectively contribute to a more sustainable future.

Panu Virolainen, chief technology officer at ABB Motion, emphasized the importance of attracting startups to lead the way in creating a circular economy. Virolainen stated, "Together, with their talents and our industry knowledge and domain expertise, we can make a meaningful impact to help preserve the earth's resources for future generations."

Innovative Solutions for Circularity

The ABB Accelerating Circularity Startup Challenge identified three winning startups, each receiving $30,000 to further develop their concepts in collaboration with ABB. Let's take a closer look at the winning startups and their innovative solutions:

  1. Molg: Awarded the Motion Drive Products Challenge, Molg, a startup from the United States, addresses the growing e-waste problem by implementing circular manufacturing practices. Their robotic microfactory autonomously assembles and disassembles complex electronic products, such as laptop PCs, servers, and industrial electronics. Molg also collaborates with leading electronics manufacturers to design products with reuse in mind, ensuring a continuous lifecycle for materials and minimizing waste.
    Rob Lawson-Shanks, CEO and co-founder of Molg, expressed excitement about winning the ABB Accelerating Circularity Startup Challenge. Lawson-Shanks stated, "The opportunity to bring our Design for Circularity and Molg Microfactory automation technology to leading ABB Motion Drive products is a fantastic chance to work with a great partner and drive impact at scale."
  2. Minespider: A startup from Switzerland, was awarded the Motion Services Challenge for developing a reliable circularity certificate management tool. Minespider utilizes blockchain technology to create greater transparency and circularity in supply chains. Their interactive digital product passports enable consumers to access comprehensive information about a product's lifecycle and environmental impact. By promoting transparency, Minespider facilitates informed consumer choices and encourages more sustainable practices.
    Nathan Williams, founder & CEO of Minespider, expressed gratitude for the recognition and highlighted the transformative potential of leveraging emerging technology for a circular economy. Williams stated, "We are thrilled to have our solution acknowledged and are eager to begin this collaboration together."
  3. Excess Materials Exchange: The Electrification Services Challenge was awarded to Excess Materials Exchange (EME), a startup from the Netherlands. EME operates a digital platform where companies can exchange excess materials and products, fostering a more circular and sustainable economy. Similar to a dating site, EME matches waste or surplus materials from one company with another company that can utilize them. By connecting different industries and sectors, EME facilitates the transformation of waste into valuable resources, supporting environmental goals and potentially leading to cost savings for businesses.
    Christian van Maaren, founder of Excess Materials Exchange, expressed honor in being recognized by ABB and emphasized their commitment to driving the circular economy forward. Van Maaren stated, "Together with ABB, we're proving that a greener, more resource-efficient world is not just a vision, but an achievable reality."

The impact of the ABB startup challenge

The ABB Startup Challenge, now in its fourth year, has provided a platform for over 125 startups to showcase their innovations. Several winners from previous challenges have gone on to work with ABB to commercialize their offerings, while others have continued to progress their ideas or collaborate with fellow challengers they met during the competition.

By fostering collaboration between ABB and startups, the challenge has created a unique opportunity to accelerate the development and implementation of circular solutions. It not only supports ABB's goal of innovating towards circular business models but also contributes to the broader transition to a more sustainable future.

Through its Accelerating Circularity Startup Challenge, ABB has successfully identified and supported startups that are driving circular innovations. The winning startups, Molg, Minespider, and Excess Materials Exchange, each offer unique solutions to promote waste reduction, product reuse, and environmental sustainability. By collaborating with ABB, these startups have the opportunity to make a meaningful impact and contribute to the creation of a more circular economy.

The ABB Startup Challenge continues to be a platform for startups to showcase their innovative ideas and collaborate with industry leaders. As ABB and these startups work together, they pave the way for a more sustainable and resource-efficient future.

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