Start-up Blue Inductive Wins Business Plan Competition
In this year’s business plan competition “CyberOne Hightech Award Baden-Wuerttemberg 2017,” the Freiburg start-up Blue Inductive was awarded first prize in the area of industrial technology. The prize is endowed with 10,000 euros. Founded in 2016 as a spin-off company of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, the start-up develops wireless charging systems for batteries in mobile transport systems.
In the etaLINK technology from Blue Inductive, electricity is wirelessly transmitted based on the concept of magnetic induction, a principle used, for example, in induction cooking or charging stations for electric toothbrushes. To date, the systems developed by Blue Inductive have a power of 3 kilowatts. The sender and receiver of the sysetms can be separated by a distance of up to 20 centimeters, with only small energy losses. System efficiencies of over 90 percent are reached, bringing the technology up to the level of the best cable-connected charging systems. Presently the technology of the Freiburg startup is designed for charging autonomous industrial vehicles like fork lifts, packaging robots or mobile mounting platforms.
At the beginning of 2018, the 3 kW system for industrial robots will go into pilot production as a first product. Along with a small box containing the charging electronics, a two centimeter thick receiver coil in the form of a record sleeve is inserted into the underbody of the vehicle. The sender coil, its stationary counterpart, is constructed similarly. The applications shall later be expanded to include parking places for electric vehicles. The stationary unit automatically detects if a mobile partner is in place and ready to be charged. In the future, the technology shall enable a large number of vehicle batteries to provide balancing energy for the electricity grid.
The four founders of Blue Inductive met at Fraunhofer ISE during a research project on the inductive charging of electric vehicles. They decided to open the technology to the large market of mobile industrial robots. The Technology Transfer Office of the University of Freiburg and the Founders Office located there support the startup that already was distinguished with the Freiburg Innovation Prize in February 2017.