Issue 56, November 2014
bulletSmart Cities
bulletShare Your Ride with flinc
bulletHarnessing the Power of "Data Heating" with Cloud&Heat
bulletInterview with Univ.-Prof. Dr. Marion Weissenberger-Eibl - An Expert on Conditions Conducive to Innovation
bulletInnovation: ubitricity - Ubiquitous Smart Charging Made Affordable
bulletUpcoming Event: Smart Cities
Smart Cities 

By 2050, the world's population is predicted to reach nine billion, with over two thirds of people living in cities. While urban centers occupy less than two percent of the planet's surface, they nonetheless provide homes to half the global population and generate 70 percent of GDP worldwide. According to the World Bank, roughly 80 percent of growth forecast in newly industrialized and developing countries will be produced in cities. In the future, the number of "megacities" (cities with a population over 10 million) will also dramatically increase. 


Historically, cities have served as drivers of economic, industrial, technological, and cultural growth. While 21st century mass urbanization thus offers many new, exciting opportunities, it also poses various pressing challenges, including demographic shifts, resource scarcity, and climate change concerns. To respond to the numerous changes associated with this rapid urban expansion, society must develop sustainable urban system solutions for the future. 

A "Smart City" transforms its environment by improving its economic and environmental health through the incorporation and optimization of technology solutions in its infrastructure. Six important features constitute intelligent, livable, and future-oriented model cities, namely, mobility, energy, communications, buildings, resources, and governance. By integrating emerging technologies and ICT into urban planning, cities can achieve progress in key priority areas - from increased civic engagement and better access to services to enhanced quality of life and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.


Germany is paving the way with regards to these urban sustainability initiatives. The Fraunhofer "Morgenstadt - City of the Future" project is one example of how city partners and industry are working together to research what tomorrow's cities might look like. The initiative is investigating how to merge technologies over the long-term to achieve fully integrated systems for the sustainable, resilient city of the future.  



30 million Germans commute to work every day. More than half of them sit alone in their cars. Rising gas prices, congested roads, and climate change woes are a few factors driving today's growing need for sustainable mobility solutions. 

To minimize the global carbon footprint of automotive transportation and to mitigate the stresses associated with increasing population density from urbanization, there need to be fewer cars on the road and more riders per vehicle. The German company flinc, a leader in real-time ridesharing for short and medium-distance routes, is tapping into this market potential. Whereas traditional city-to-city ridesharing services have excelled in enabling long rides planned in advance, flinc has grown in popularity by also supporting shorter, more spontaneous rides. In fact, 80% of flinc's current offerings are for shorter distances.

Another way flinc differentiates itself from other service providers is how it promotes safety within its social mobility network; individuals are connected to other flinc users that they already know. The company now has nearly 200,000 users and more than 400,000 offerings on its platform. The service is accessible via web, iPhone, and Android, and is integrated into GPS navigation systems from companies, such as NAVIGON and Bosch.

filnc's corporate ridesharing solutions provide many advantages for both employers and commuters. These include sustainable and cost-effective fleet utilization, support of corporate sustainability efforts, reduction in commuting costs for company employees, stronger employer branding by strengthening the attractiveness of the company's location, and safer, less stressful commutes.

flinc is headquartered in Ludwigshafen, Germany, and was founded in 2010 based on a prototype created at the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences. Partners of the company include DriveNow, T-City Friedrichshafen, the European Regional Development Fund, and the ESA Business Incubation Centre Darmstadt.

In 2013, flinc received the Bosch Innovation Award and the GreenTec Award in the category "Mobility." flinc was also a winner of the 2013 Energy Awards in the category "Transportation of the Year." To watch a video about flinc in German, click here.

Source & Image: � flinc AG



Did you know that 90 percent of energy consumed by data centers is lost as waste heat? Or that server fields constitute the fifth largest consumer of energy globally? The Dresden-based start-up Cloud&Heat is working to combat these startling statistics by providing an efficient, green tech alternative for the cloud computing and energy markets. By repurposing excess heat generated from server clouds to heating for buildings, Cloud&Heat not only helps save costs, but it also benefits the environment. The costly, energy-intensive cooling of servers typically characteristic of conventional data centers is also no longer required.

Cloud&Heat has created an innovative server cabinet that individuals can install in their home or office. The company pays for the electricity and Internet service the cabinet needs so the user can begin to reap the benefits of free heat and hot water. Cloud&Heat is an intelligent system connected to a buffer tank with temperature sensors and can thus be regulated in line with demand.

The company has comprehensive measures in place to ensure the highest safety and security standards, including robust data encryption, decentralized data centers, and fire-proof cabinets for the physical storage of their servers.

The patented method was developed in collaboration with the company's three founders and the Technische Universit�t Dresden (TU Dresden). In 2013, Cloud&Heat was recognized with the Saxony Environmental Award and was also a finalist for the German Industry Innovation Award.

Earlier this month, Deutsche Welle featured a video report on the company. To learn more about how Cloud&Heat's green cloud works, click here. To watch a video in German, click here. For more information, contact

Source & Image: � Cloud&Heat Technologies GmbH




Univ.-Prof. Dr. Marion Weissenberger-Eibl is Head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI and Chair of Innovation and Technology Management at the Institute for Entrepreneurship, Technology Management, and Innovation (EnTechnon) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). She is well-regarded in Germany for her work focusing on strategic technology planning, knowledge management, and creating the conditions for sustainable innovation.  

In her interview with GCRI, Prof. Dr. Weissenberger-Eibl describes the key characteristics of a "Smart City" as well as the biggest challenges and opportunities facing German cities transitioning to a sustainable, intelligent city model. In addition, she shares her vision for the city of the future and describes which innovative technologies she thinks will have the greatest impact on urban life over the next decade and why. To read the full interview, click here.

Prof. Dr. Weissenberger-Eibl is a member of the supervisory boards of HeidelbergCement AG and MTU Aero Engines AG, where she helps strengthen links between industry, science, and research. She also serves as a member of the advisory board for the Federal Ministry of Education and Research's "Federal Report on the Promotion of Young Scientists" (BuWiN) and for the German Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech). In 2014, Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs, appointed her as a member of the German-Chinese Dialogue Forum.

Author of numerous publications and editor of the series "Cooperation between Science and Industry," Prof. Dr. Weissenberger-Eibl advises key decision-makers in business, science, and politics, such as in her role as Head of the working group "Innovation Culture" for "The Experts Dialogue on Germany's Future." She was recently named one of the "most influential women engineers in Germany."

Image: � Klaus Mellenthin 


Source: ubitricity Gesellschaft f�r verteilte Energiesysteme mbH


E-mobility challenges the tradition of stationary energy metering and billing. At present, charging stations are not available in all of the locations users need to recharge their vehicles. Additionally, until now, creating an adequate charging infrastructure for electric cars has been very costly and utilities have had few incentives to install charging stations.

The Berlin-based start-up ubitricity, however, is taking on this challenge with its innovative idea that helps reduce costs for electric vehicle (EV) charging by 90 percent through the use of mobile metering and communication. EV users simply take their personal mobile meter, which is attached to the ubitricity cable or their EV, along with them to every charging spot. A low-cost power socket suffices as a local charging spot and the compact dimensions of the sockets allow for easy installation in almost any location, such as on a wall or a light pole.

ubitricity transfers the ease and logic of mobile communication to the energy industry. With mobile metering technology integrated into the cable or car, EV users can carry their energy and tariff of choice along with them to any charging spot. At the same time, utilities can enhance their portfolio by also delivering electricity to these mobile meters. With ubitricity, grid access, including smart charging and billing, becomes affordable.

ubitricity was founded in Berlin in 2008 by Knut Hechtfischer and Dr. Frank Pawlitschek. The start-up works in cooperation with leading industry partners and receives funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic and Energy Affairs (BMWi). The company is currently conducting national and international field tests to prepare for its commercial launch in 2015.

To watch a video about ubitricity, click here. To learn more in German, click here.

Image: � Robert Lehmann


Urbanization, globalization, demographic and climate change are continually placing higher demands on our cities. By 2050, the world's population is expected to reach nine billion, resulting in a significant transformation in cities where people live and work in close proximity to one another. How will the cities of the future address the challenges associated with such a significant population increase? How can energy, transportation, and human resources be more efficiently managed, and to what extent will smart cities develop innovative energy storage concepts that meet the demands of net stability?


On Tuesday, December 9, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., join expert panelists at the German Center for Research and Innovation in New York as they discuss the prospects offered by new technologies, such as smart mobility and smart buildings, and the potential effects future changes will have on the environment and on society.

The panel will include Prof. Dr. Jan W�rner, Chairman of the Executive Board of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), who also serves as Chairman of the European Space Agency (ESA) Council and as Professor of Civil Engineering at the Technische Universit�t Darmstadt. He will be joined by his colleague Prof. Dr. Barbara Lenz, Director of DLR's Institute of Transport Research, whose main research interests are ICT use and its impact on travel behavior as well as mobility management measures and their acceptance by individuals. Mr. William Sisson, Director of Sustainability at United Technologies Research Center (UTRC), will provide the American perspective. He serves as UTRC's Liaison Delegate for the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and is also Co-chair of their Energy Efficiency in Buildings Project. The panel discussion will be moderated by Dr. Joann Halpern, Director of the German Center for Research and Innovation. 

For additional event information, click here. To RSVP by December 5, click here.

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