In regelmässigen Abständen versorgt uns Sunnie J. Groeneveld mit einem spannenden Interview. Diesmal traf sie sich mit Christoph Gebald, Co-founder von Climeworks.
Climeworks entwickelte eine Technologie, die es erlaubt, CO2 aus der Luft zu filtern. Mit dieser innovativen Idee hat das Unternehmen einiges erreicht. So sind die Co-Gründer, Christoph Gebald und sein Kollege Jan Wurzbacher, im Januar 2014 eine Zusammenarbeit mit Audi eingegangen – wir berichteten. Drei Monate später schlossen sie eine Serie-B-Finanzierungsrunde mit drei Millionen Franken ab. Und zurecht gehören sie zu den 58 Startups der Top 100, die von Venture Kick gefördert wurden. Was Sunnie aus Gebald herausbekommen konnte, erfahrt ihr hier im Interview. Sunnie, the stage is yours:
SUNNIE: Who are you?
CHRISTOPH: I’m 32 years YOUNG, a mechanical engineering graduate of ETH, and co-founder and co-director of the ETH spin-off Climeworks Ltd.
SUNNIE: What is a fun anecdote from the early days?
CHRISTOPH: My co-founder Jan Wurzbacher and I met almost 12 years ago. An anecdote that still makes me smile today is that during the first five minutes of our initial encounter on our first day of studies as mechanical engineers we found out that we both share the dream of one day starting our own company. Eventually during that day we decided that one day we will start our own company together. Six years later (i.e. after graduating from ETH) Climeworks was incorporated. Until the incorporation of Climeworks, we probably spent thousands of hours thinking about and researching majorly disruptive ideas in the engineering field.
SUNNIE: You are a finalist of the Virgin Earth Challenge, belong to the top 10 Swiss startups 2014, entered a major partnership with Audi and announced it with former Federal Council President Doris Leuthard at the Swiss Energy & Climate Summit. Personally, what’s your biggest highlight so far with climeworks?
CHRISTOPH: The most important milestone so far is the partnership with Audi. Capturing CO2 from atmospheric air sounds far-fetched. Making fuel from atmospheric CO2 almost unbelievable. Obviously combining the story of CO2-neutral fuels from ambient CO2 with the power of the second largest carmaker worldwide (Volkswagen) gave our vision of a closed carbon cycle, massively more leverage, thrust and credibility.
SUNNIE: You’re in it for the long-haul. What’s the vision that keeps you going?
CHRISTOPH: If people had no disruptive ideas during evolution of mankind we would still run barefoot through forests to chase deer with stone knifes. Extracting oil from the ground and adding CO2 to the atmosphere from its combustion sounds stoneage-ish to me. Of course currently I am a heavy user of such a system; however, we want to change it. Our dream at Climeworks is to contribute to a transformation of our current highly unsustainable energy system to a sustainable variant enabling a closed carbon cycle. The energy sector is by far the largest sector on this planet. Any global shift in energy needs scale and scale needs time. We are in it to complete this marathon!