The startup Colipi from the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) has developed a globally unique technology that can produce sustainable oil in a CO2-neutral way. The Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) is supporting the founders supervised by beyourpilot as well as Startup Port @TUHH with an increase in EXIST research transfer funding of 2.9 million euros to a total of 4.1 million euros – the highest individual funding from the federal EXIST programme to date.
The production of palm oil threatens our climate: more than nine million hectares of rainforest around the equator have already been cleared for it. This not only destroys important habitat for endangered animal species, but also releases large amounts of CO2. Colipi produces sustainable alternatives to vegetable oils such as palm oil through gas fermentation. The starting materials are carbon dioxide, oxygen and hydrogen.
Colipi’s approach was successfully presented as part of the call for transfer of the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH): Calls for Transfer (C4T) programme launched in summer 2018 under the project sponsorship of the TUHH promotes the transfer of ideas, knowledge and technology at Hamburg’s state universities by supporting project proposals with up to 30,000 euros in start-up funding. The funding can be used flexibly in terms of content and form, so that the project plans can be advanced in an implementation-oriented manner: “The arrangement of the funding was wonderfully unbureaucratic. C4T’s controlling department gave us excellent support with the finances,” Philipp Arbter reports.
The start-up was then accompanied by beyourpilot Gründungsberatung as well as Startup Port @TUHH and supported in applying for the funding. With the second EXIST application, the startup received the longed-for approval in mid-2021: since November 2021, the funding has been flowing, enabling the expansion of oil production from laboratory scale to industrial production.
Dr Melanie Leonhard, Senator of the Ministry of Economics and Innovation: “By providing a viable and local alternative to conventional palm oil, Colipi is paving the way for a more sustainable and environmentally conscious future. The fact that beyourpilot was able to successfully accompany the startup on its way to funding shows us how important such support services are, especially at the beginning of startups. I congratulate the founders on their funding and wish them continued success.”
Maximilian Webers, CEO and founder of Colipi: “This globally unique Carbon Capture & Utilisation (CCU) approach is made possible by a patented gas fermentation system that we developed ourselves. Initial measurement results and calculations give hope that in a few years we will be able to convert carbon dioxide into palm oil alternatives using hydrogen in an economically as well as ecologically sensible way. COLIPI Climate Oil will be a CO₂-footprint reducing raw material for cosmetics, food, bio-plastics and e-fuels. The EXIST funding programme is unique and distinguishes Germany as a business location. We are very grateful for the trust placed in us by BWMK and all the players involved, coupled with the unconditional responsibility to bring this technology to market maturity for Hamburg, Germany and the world as quickly as possible.”
For more information about Colipi’s founding story, see our Startup Story.