The market turmoil of late is good for business – there is considerable hope for green hydrogen as an energy source. But the reality is likely to be complicated. Wind farms, solar plants and biogas plants supply power for the electrolyzers, while industrial facilities and households want to be supplied with power. Where should the hydrogen flow? Should it be consumed directly or flow into storage? And at what capacity should companies even run their own plants? Managing all this is a demanding task: “Eventually you get beyond the point where one individual can keep an eye on everything,” says Marcus Rübsam, a longtime SAP manager.
To solve this problem, he partnered with the father-son team of Armin and David Schwarz to found the startup CibusCell two years ago. Based in Speyer, the company is working on building a kind of digital control center for the world of green hydrogen. The software brings together data from all the energy producers and consumers involved. This approach aims to help keep the future energy system in balance. “The hydrogen value chain must be digitalized,” says Rübsam, “otherwise, we’ll never get the market up and running.”
CibusCell wants to be in on the action when hydrogen goes from pilot projects to everyday use. And they are getting plenty of interest from industry at the moment: “Many corporations are quite open to our ideas,” Rübsam reports. “We get initial meetings – and then follow-up meetings – very quickly.” Things are similar for other young tech companies making moves with green business ideas. The fundamental skepticism towards startups among many established companies is turning into a growing curiosity. “More and more companies understand that cooperations with startups are vital,” says Christoph Baier, founder of the consulting firm Ambivation. “They can’t develop and finance innovations in every area themselves.”