This website uses cookies to ensure a better browsing experience; in addition to technical cookies, third-party cookies are also used. To learn more and become familiar with the cookies used, please visit the Cookies page.
By continuing to browse this site, you automatically consent to the use of cookies


Third trend: sustainability

Innovation / -

1 di 1









(photo credit: Torbjørn Buvarp)









The food of the future must require less water, less energy, less fertilizer and less transport. And since sometimes you have to look at the past in order to innovate, many young people are devoting themselves to agriculture and reviving methods of organic cultivation, using biodynamic approaches, permaculture or synergic agriculture. Sustainability also has a vital social dimension, such as the inclusion of weaker or disadvantaged members of society or boosting female business empowerment.

Energaid. Controlled coolness without environmental impact

Innovation / -

energaid startup intervista

Maintaining a constant and controlled temperature in warehouses used for maturing cheese, wine or cured meats, with minimal electricity consumption… This is the mission of the innovative Energaid system, whose concept is inspired by the temperature-maintaining conditions inside caves.

Franco Venturini, an engineer with experience in the field of energy and thermotechnics, took his inspiration from the origins of food conservation techniques in order to create a temperature control system designed for warehouses for storing cheese, wine and cured meats. Energaid (Energy-Gain Active-Insulation Device) maintains a constant indoor temperature in a similar way to a storage cave. How? With special walls and surfaces covered in thermal insulating material, inside which fluid circulation eliminates undesirable condensation and makes it possible to control temperature exchanges. In this way, the warehouses exploit geothermal and hydrothermal energy, taking a big stride towards sustainability and energy saving.
How was the Energaid idea born, and what technologies is it based upon? What are its most innovative aspects?
Just as caves have been exploited for thousands of years as environments which limit temperature fluctuations, so Energaid works to reproduce a stable microclimate using active thermal insulation technology. The walls and surface coverings inside the warehouses are filled with thermal fluids naturally present on the site, and these bring about constant climate control using renewable energy. This system aims to substitute traditional warehouse air conditioning systems, which are expensive and environmentally unfriendly.
Where are you active? In which field or food process innovation trend can your startup be placed?
Our activities are divided between Lombardy (where our experimental plant is situated) and Veneto. Our operational sector is basically that of energy saving, using renewable energy and improving warehouse hygiene. And creating substantial economic advantages.
Who are your competitors? What are your strong points and competitive advantages?
Our main competitors are traditional air conditioning systems and resistance to innovation. Our strong points are numerous and extremely significant: energy consumption close to zero for temperature-controlled indoor environments, in line with EU directives; elimination of surface condensation with consequent hygienic advantages; extraordinary temperature stability, leading to elevated long-term reliability. Bearing in mind these multiple advantages, our goal is to activate further industrial collaborations as soon as possible, in order to demonstrate our success in a wide range of applicative contexts.

One Earth Designs. The most efficient solar stove in the world, helping the people that need it most in the Himalayas

Innovation / -

One Hearth Designs startup intervista
Torbjørn Buvarp

Winner of many international awards, this system offers access to clean burning fuel. One Earth Designs lower monthly spending on energy costs by up to 64 dollars.

Chris Larsen-Gould, US Marketing Director, explains how “after seven years of work the team developed SolSource, the most efficient solar stove in the world.” In 2009, a group of brilliant young people created a stove which contributes to reducing air pollution, overcoming fuel supply problems and even reducing gender imbalance.
What sparked the idea of One Earth Designs? What is your target market?
The idea took form in the Himalayas, to help people with no access to clean fuel. Generally this means the poorest families. But at the same time we discovered SolSource was also attracting a lot of interest in the US, Europe and Australia. So we had the idea of subsidizing our non-profit work aimed at helping the neediest families by launching a profit-orientated side to our company in 2012, creating a hybrid business model which has been recognized as a Benefit Corporation. Our target is the over 3 billion people in the world who have no access to clean energy. But we finance that goal by satisfying the demand from customers in developed countries who are interested in living sustainably.
When did you start operating? Which countries are you working with and what agreements have you established?
Our non-profit association was launched in 2009, and in 2012 we added the profit-orientated sector. We are active in 31 countries, with particular attention on Himalayan communities and customers in the USA. We have partnerships in the US, Hong Kong and the Chinese Government, with projects that aim to transform SolSource into a domestic energy system. Our ultimate goal is to succeed in managing a financially sustainable global business which distributes dividends to its customers.
Why did you choose Kickstarter as a crowdfunding platform? In general, how would you describe your experience?
We used Kickstarter as a way of satisfying the demand for SolSource in developed countries. Our crowdfunding campaign was phenomenally successful, gathering 331 percent of our target… which made it possible to help people in the Himalayas.
Have you received recognition for your achievements?
We’ve received a lot of international awards and prizes. From Forbes 30 Under 30: Social Entrepreneur, to UNEP SEED Awards Winner in 2010. Or prizes like the MIT IDEAS Awards Winner in 2009 and the Muhammad Yunus Innovation Challenge Winner in 2008.
Who are your competitors? What is your competitive advantage?
SolSource has been recognized by two independent organizations as the most efficient solar stove on the market. We have created a product which is lightweight, portable and ergonomic, resistant to sandstorms and extreme temperatures. Compared to competing products, our system protects the eyes from UV rays, and has made it possible to implement a new material which exploits solar energy four times as well as an average solar panel. Our competitive advantage lies in the combination of a professionally designed product with a concrete humanitarian commitment.

Over a million people are already #FoodConscious. What about you?

The ExpoNet Manifesto