The idea is promising: New plastic materials can contribute to faster charging times for batteries in electric vehicles. With its “Power Separator” idea, the winning team of this year’s Start-up Challenge wants to use Covestro’s know-how in the field of high-tech materials to launch a new generation of battery separators on the market. Their aim is to improve the reliability and operating efficiency of Li-ion batteries and contribute to the sustainable development of the electromobility sector. In this way, the idea supports several of the United Nations’ goals for sustainable development. The winners were chosen at the K 2019 plastics trade fair in Düsseldorf.
Sustainability as a catalyst for ideas
“The winning idea has the potential to respond to the major challenges of our time, such as climate change and global population growth, and to contribute to sustainable mobility,” said Sucheta Govil, Chief Commercial Officer of Covestro and responsible for innovation. “Our goal is to use our solutions to expand the circular economy in the plastics industry and make the world a better place to live. The ideas and teams that took part in the Start-up Challenge help us to achieve this goal faster by designing concepts for more sustainable product lifecycles.”
The six best start-up teams have been intensively preparing for the grand finale over the past few months. The winners ultimately prevailed against five other projects from different business areas. In total, more than 200 applications for the second round of the internal competition were received worldwide this year.
Employees become start-up founders
For this year’s winners, it’s now time to get down to the business of being a founder. They will be released from their jobs for up to a year in order to realize their business idea and test the marketability of the products. Covestro will provide them with start-up financing of up to one million euros. This gives the team the chance to act as a start-up within the company and to prove their skills as founders under real conditions. With the Start-up Challenge, Covestro aims to promote the creativity and entrepreneurial thinking of its nearly 17000 employees.
With 2018 sales of EUR 14.6 billion, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, construction, wood processing and furniture, and electrical and electronics industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics, health and the chemical industry itself. Covestro has 30 production sites worldwide and employs approximately 16800 people (calculated as full-time equivalents) at the end of 2018.