The start-up CarbonStack, founded at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, is fighting climate change with reforestation in Europe. The company recently received seed funding of 500,000 euros from business angel Per Liljenqvist. CarbonStack is supported by beyourpilot start-up consultant Lars Kalusky.
By 2050 at the latest, greenhouse gas emissions in Europe should be at zero. The global community reached this agreement in 2015 at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. The aim is to stop global warming at a maximum of two degrees. Industrial engineers at HAW Hamburg are therefore working on a platform for CO2 offsets: “Climate change is progressing at breakneck speed. Without a greatly increased volume of offsets, we would have to have avoided all greenhouse gas emissions in seven years to reach the 1.5°C target. We won’t be able to do that. Our goal is to make this compensation as measurable and transparent as possible,” explains Julian Kakarott, CEO and founder of the start-up CarbonStack. The team started at HAW Hamburg under the name Carbon Offsets and is supported by Prof. Dr. Volker Skwarek, head of the FTZ Digital Business Processes, as a mentor. beyourpilot start-up consultant Lars Kalusky supervises the team and was able to help with the successful application for the EXIST-Gründerstipendium last year, among other things. The technology start-up from HAW Hamburg enables companies to offset unavoidable CO2 emissions with regional reforestation projects. Transparency is particularly important here, which is why all project forests are monitored with high-resolution satellite images and the compensation amounts are documented on an energy-saving blockchain – greenwashing is thus to be ruled out.
More than 45,000 trees have already been planted this year to compensate for this
The start-up develops regional reforestation projects for companies that want to compensate for their unavoidable CO2 emissions. This spring alone, CarbonStack planted over 45,000 trees in Germany. The focus here is on forest areas that are already suffering greatly from climate change. Further large-scale projects are therefore underway in the Harz Mountains and in North Rhine-Westphalia.
But this is just the beginning: with the help of the seed funding of 500,000 euros from the business angel Per Liljenqvist, the four-member founding team will now further develop the existing technologies in the areas of blockchain, remote sensing – the monitoring of the earth’s surface via satellite – and environmental modelling for a precise forecast of CO2 sequestration. “We are delighted to be trusted with our vision. By investing in our technology, we can scale offsetting opportunities faster, document more accurately and attract new customers,” says Kakarott. It is precisely for this technology that CarbonStack recently received additional InnoRampUp funding from IFB Hamburg. This promotes particularly innovative, technology-based business models from the Hanseatic city.
Transparency through blockchain and satellite images
“The market for carbon offset projects is booming. But in times of greenwashing, transparency is particularly important to us and that’s what sets us apart,” says Kakarott. Using blockchain technology, CarbonStack makes the CO2 offsetting of companies forgery-proof and documents origin and effect transparently for all parties involved. To this end, the founding team is working closely with the Algorand Foundation to establish a register for CO2 offsets from Germany. Algorand is a blockchain technology that enables fast transactions with a very low energy input. It also offsets the remaining emissions. According to Kakarott, it was important for CarbonStack to work with a CO2-neutral technology partner.
The startup also relies on satellite data to identify those areas in Germany where new tree cover is urgently needed. At the same time, the satellite images can be used to measure the success of the reforestation. To do this, CarbonStack uses the latest generation of earth observation satellites that send images from space to earth with a resolution of 30 centimetres per pixel, making practically every single tree visible. CarbonStack analyses the data independently with its in-house AI expertise. So far, the start-up has analysed data from 1.5 million trees in the DACH region.
The Hamburg-based start-up CarbonStack has a vision: to achieve climate neutrality faster through transparent and promising CO2 compensation. To this end, CarbonStack currently has ten employees and develops regional reforestation projects for German companies. Thanks to blockchain technology and remote sensing, the projects are documented transparently – greenwashing is ruled out. The founding team – consisting of Julian Kakarott, Noah Winneberger, Jesper Kolk and Jann Wendt – combines expertise from blockchain research, user experience, forestry and remote sensing as well as geodata analysis. Swedish investor Per Liljenqvist completes the team since the latest financing round. The company is advised by beyourpilot founding consultant Lars Kalusky.