Lade GmbH

Portrait photo of Lade founder Dennis Schumeyer. The photo is overlaid with blue, green and yellow circles. A charging station is shown next to the photo. 

| Lade GmbH / Stephan Sollmann
2022-10-01 Webcontent

Ingenieure for Future

If not now, then when? Many VDE member companies are investing in green technologies and trying to improve the future of our planet. The following three examples show that vision and efficiency can go hand in hand.  

By Melanie Unseld 

VDE dialog - the technology magazine

Better charging

Dennis Schulmeyer was contemplating the huge potential of electric cars long before Tesla became a household name. The IT entrepreneur and qualified electrical engineer was already developing initial ideas back in 2009 for a comprehensive, integrated charging system using power from renewable energy sources. Since 2020, he has been developing and producing complete solutions for efficient electric vehicle charging at LADE GmbH, the company he founded in Mainz. 

“I want us to do everything we can to keep the planet a livable place,” says Schulmeyer, explaining his motivation. “In e-mobility, we see an enormous lever for making the necessary changes as quickly as possible and in an economically efficient way.” 

Schulmeyer believes that electric vehicles can do more than just cut CO2 emissions from road traffic. He wants to use the millions of such vehicles on the roads of the future as local storage units for renewably generated electricity. Electric cars could help to even out power fluctuations and stabilize power grids. “Vehicle-to-Grid” (V2G) is the name of the technology behind this plan, where electric vehicles would not only be charged from the grid but could also feed power back into it.  

The LADE GmbH system for operating charging infrastructure comprises both hardware (including electronics) and software (the operator backend and smartphone app). The technological centerpiece is the load management system known as Zero Gap, which provides dynamic, phase-individual, real-time control of each single charging point. Schulmeyer is convinced of his vision: “With Vehicle-to-Grid, we can massively reduce CO2 emissions from both road traffic and power generation.” And he goes a step further: almost the entire power supply in Germany “can be guaranteed just from wind power, solar energy and electric cars with V2G functionality.” See for yourself. 

Test how Vehicle-to-Grid works in the online V2G simulator

"Fuck CO2"


Portrait photos of Carbonauten founders Torsten Becker and Christoph Hiemer. The photos are overlaid with blue, green and yellow circles. Pieces of biocarbon, which resemble chunks of coal, are shown next to the photos. 

| Carbonauten GmbH

It’s an ambitious goal: food, materials and energy are to be more sustainable, renewable, better and cheaper for everyone. “Our system makes it possible, since carbonauten is not a company but an attitude,” say Torsten Becker and Christoph Hiemer, founders of “carbonauten – the minus CO2 factory”. Their solution: storing CO2 from the soil to the sky. They are forthright about their mission: “F*ck CO2.” 

Becker and Hiemer sensed the potential of biocarbons right from their first meeting in 2013. Hiemer, whose father pioneered biomass power plants, wanted to use biomass as a material and energy source rather than simply burning it, so he developed a carbonization process using indirect heating. Becker’s fascination, meanwhile, was with the undiscovered properties of biofuels. In 2017, the two men left their secure jobs and founded a company.  

At that point, they needed capital. In 2018, they impressed the jury of the Cyber One Hightech Award and won €200,000. But Germany’s investors did not climb aboard. “Although we proved that our technological quantum leap worked, they refused to fund us. They wanted to appear relaxed and open-minded, but the typical bean-counting mentality prevailed and they only saw the risks. They want the seeds to grow first before they water them with investment – that’s still the dominant attitude today.”  

In 2019, a private investor helped them out in return for a 4% shareholding in carbonauten. Today, the shares are worth €1.6 million: 20 times the investment that put the startup on its feet. “In November 2019, we finished the first injection-molded bowl made of bioplastic and 30% biocarbon – it gave us goosebumps just holding it.”  

Biocarbons are produced from woody biomass residues left over from the forestry, farming, food and timber industries. Waste products that are otherwise burned, buried or simply left to rot away. The materials remove CO2 from the atmosphere, permanently store it in products and reduce aggressive climate gases such as methane and nitrous oxide, since decomposition processes are avoided. carbonauten has coined the name NET Materials® (NET = negative emission technologies) for its biocarbon-based product and has requested a patent. 

Carbonization is due to start on an industrial scale at the “minus CO2 factory 001” in Eberswalde, Germany, in the fall. Another shareholder, ForestFinance from Bonn, has invested €3.6 million. The production run has already sold out in advance. The founders want to create dozens of production sites worldwide in the coming years. An investment from HUEHOCO in summer 2021 lifted the company’s value to €40 million. It currently stands at over €83 million. One special focus will be on the production of pyrolysis oils. They are a low-cost alternative to agricultural pesticides, chemical fertilizers and veterinary medicines and chemicals. They also form a basis for plastics and surrogate fuels. This is nothing new in Germany: until 1950, the country was the world’s market leader in the production and use of pyrolysis oils as the predecessor to crude oil from the Middle East and Russia. For all the human innovation, one thing is clearer than ever: nature is the best engineer, from the soil to the sky. 

More about carbonauten: 

More energy-efficient lighting


Portrait photos of AS LED founders Andreas Thum and Stefan Kirner. The photos are overlaid with blue, green and yellow circles. A floodlight is shown next to the photo.  

| AS LED Lighting GmbH

High-quality lighting, built to last in Germany. That was the dream of two entrepreneurs who launched a startup for high-quality LED lighting, investing a lot of courage and capital.  

From the design to development and manufacture of their lamps, everything Andreas Thum and Stefan Kirner do at their base in Penzberg, Upper Bavaria, is built around protecting the climate and avoiding waste. When the two men started their venture in 2010, LED technology was still in its infancy. The circular economy and environmental design were a niche topic back then. If companies produced LED lighting, they did so in low-cost Asian countries and paid little regard to sustainability. 

But the two engineers were undaunted. They founded AS LED Lighting GmbH, largely from equity, to produce LED lighting for industry, commerce, sports and healthcare – and quickly found their first customers. Initially, it was just the two of them before they hired their first employee a year later. Now with a team of 15 permanent employees, they are pursuing their vision of developing and manufacturing efficient LED lighting with top quality and a long service life. The products are produced locally in Germany in an environmentally friendly way. 

The demand is clear: “Everyone needs light and everyone needs to save energy; efficient LED lighting will be the benchmark for all forms of lighting in the future.” 

They promise that, with lamps from AS LED Lighting, customers can save a lot of money, cut their CO2 emissions dramatically and reduce electrical waste. “Our mission is to do whatever it takes to reduce waste. That’s why all our LED lamps can be repaired and have replaceable parts,” says Thum. Kirner does the math: “In industrial settings, for instance in a warehouse or production hall, our products can reduce electricity consumption by 50% or more. In offices, the figure is as high as 70%.” Customers today include operators of sports centers, banks, medical practices and hospitals as well as commercial premises such as car dealerships.  

The company has been making its products in Penzberg, Upper Bavaria, since it was founded, and it intends to stay there. “We wanted short transport routes for our suppliers from the very beginning, not least for environmental reasons.” And this has not only paid off in terms of the carbon footprint. In the pandemic, when other companies had to cut production due to lack of materials, Thum and Kirner kept the lights on. 

More about AS LED (Website in German):