Pioneering energy projects presented with the VERENA award 2020.


The VERBUND-E-Novation Award 2020 – or VERENA for short – this year goes to Frauscher Thermal Motors GmbH from Upper Austria and Easelink GmbH from Styria. The VERENA award from VERBUND, the leading electricity company in Austria, has been awarded to particularly innovative companies in the energy sector as part of the State Prize for Innovation since 2012.

“The two winning projects mark important milestones on the way to the energy future. Easelink sets new standards in charging technology with its mass-market solution for the conductive charging of electric vehicles. The innovative motor from Frauscher Thermal Motors for the ecological recycling of lean gases shows that there are also pioneering solutions for very challenging topics,” says VERBUND Chairman of the Executive Board, Wolfgang Anzengruber. “These are precisely the companies that we need for achieving the energy and climate targets,” says Anzengruber enthusiastically about the quality of the submitted projects. “Let us use the challenges as an opportunity for a modern innovation and industrial programme that offers prospects for Austria as a business location and can be a model for success throughout Europe.

Conductive charging technology for electric cars

The automatic charging of electric vehicles without a connecting cable while parked should be possible on a series production basis from 2022/23 thanks to the Matrix Charging® technology from Easelink GmbH. Leading car makers, infrastructure providers and vehicle fleet operators are already relying on the technology of the future: Matrix Charging®. The Styrian high-tech company Easelink is developing the automated conductive charging system Matrix Charging®. The vision behind this technology is to use all possible parking times of electric vehicles as charging times by means of an automated charging connection at the respective parking space. The Matrix Charging® system consists of two components: a vehicle unit on the underside of the vehicle and a charging plate in the surface of the parking space. As soon as the vehicle parks above the charging plate on the parking space, it is automatically charged by the direct physical connection. The company Easelink was founded in 2015 with the purpose of establishing a standard for the automated charging of electric cars with Matrix Charging®.

Innovative engine for lean gases

Gases containing methane that can no longer be used must be flared off to prevent even greater damage to the climate. In the future, an innovative combustion engine should use the energy contained in such gases. In the Stirling engine invented over 200 years ago, gases of different qualities are not combusted inside the engine, in contrast to the more familiar internal combustion engines. This makes it possible to burn not only contaminated gases but also those with a low energy content and in doing so generate valuable electrical energy and low-temperature heat. After decades of research, the company Frauscher from Upper Austria has developed a method for dramatically reducing the piston forces of the familiar engine and thus building up a simple, low-maintenance and affordable working machine. Moreover, with the aid of a special burner, it has even been possible to process lean gases with an extremely low methane content. The innovative engine, which remains in the trial phase until 2021, could, for example, enable the use of sewage gases, landfill gases or methane to be used for economic benefit instead of having to flare it off unused.

Another company was nominated for the VERENA prize in 2020: 

Hex GmbH, Carinthia, developed the project “Reducing CO2 emissions by optimising the utilisation of motor vehicles” in cooperation with the University of Klagenfurt.

The VERBUND-E-Novation Award (VERENA) was presented this year for the 18th time by the leading Austrian electricity company VERBUND for innovative projects on the topics of Energy Efficiency, Energy Management and Smart Grids, Electromobility, and Electricity from Renewable Energies. VERENA motivates industry and research to cooperate on the implementation of pioneering measures. VERENA has been presented as a special prize of the State Prize for Innovation since 2012.

Gerlinde Gänsdorfer VERBUND Press Office

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