TESVOLT cofounder Daniel Hannemann on how his company is changing green manufacturing

Daniel Hannemann, cofounder of TESVOLT

Insider: The building of Europe’s first gigafactory for battery storage systems in 2019 was clearly a decisive milestone since the foundation of the company just under seven years ago. What have been TESVOLT’s other biggest achievements in recent years?

Hannemann: Apart from that, there have been many other highlights. For instance, the many awards we have won, including the German Founder Award in 2018. However, we are above all also proud that we have created high-performance products. The useful life of our products is almost twice as long compared to other systems which are available on the market. This is a definite USP. The fact that we have created such a comprehensive and top-performing product portfolio in only a few years, is probably our biggest achievement.

Insider: What is TESVOLT’S growth strategy for the coming years?

Hannemann: We want to continue to press ahead with our dynamic growth course during the coming years and enhance our visibility further, both nationally and internationally. Our focus is to remain on energy storage in commercial and industrial environments, because this is where some of the highest environmental impacts are generated. Here we can provide obvious benefits. Our clear mission is to make available affordable green electricity anytime, anywhere. With this explicit message we want to substantially expedite the global energy turnaround.

Insider: What are some of the most recent developments and innovations?

Hannemann: One of our major innovations is the active battery management system Active Battery Optimizer (ABO). With this system we have created the only technology of this kind in the world, which optimizes all the cells within the battery. This technology is used in different applications, including for the optimization of self-consumption. Altogether we have now completed 1,500 projects with our energy storage solutions around the world, with market shares between 25 and 40% in different applications.

Insider: What are the biggest challenges right now for companies like TESVOLT and the energy industry in general?

Hannemann: We have little time. The sea levels are rising, the world climate is changing. The impact on ecosystems is enormous. The water is literally up to our neck. The decarbonization of the economic cycles must be pushed ahead much quicker to comply with the meaningful climate goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. This requires joint efforts by the business community, the policymakers, and the society. We must join our forces to save the planet. This sounds dramatic – but all scientifically recognized data confirm that the situation is actually dramatic.

Insider: How has COVID-19 impacted industry (and company) plans?

Hannemann: As challenging as the COVID-19 pandemic may be on a humanitarian level, we have hardly felt any economic impact of the pandemic. We very clearly benefit from the global megatrends of renewable energies and e-mobility and these developments have not been curbed by COVID-19. On the contrary, the environmental awareness of the society has grown once more in the middle of the pandemic. Our internal business processes have likewise almost not been influenced. Thanks to an effective and mature hygiene concept, our production has not stood still. In the areas in which this is possible, our employees also work from home. This works perfectly well thanks to our agile non-hierarchical corporate culture.

Insider: Has it provided an opportunity to increase your customer base?

Hannemann: As a globally networked company we have always strongly relied on digital tools. This has been further reinforced by the pandemic, which is a very clear advantage. On our customers’ level, this has triggered a significant change and they have likewise arrived more strongly in the digital world. Together we can act significantly more flexibly and efficiently in part. Instead of expensive business trips we now communicate mainly via digital channels with our customers or employees working for our subsidiaries in Australia and Korea. The pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of the world of work and we definitely consider this to be an added value.

Insider: Where do you see the company in 10 years’ time (and beyond)?

Hannemann: In my wishful thinking, by 2031 e-mobility and stationary energy storage systems will no longer be exceptions, but a living reality for many. We’re doing everything possible to be one of the main players proactively driving this positive development.

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As a former oil executive, I can tell you Biden is not at war with oil. The industry has already been moving towards green energy

shale oil workers
  • Renewable energy is the future, building more jobs and economic stability.
  • Most Democrats and Republicans want climate to be a top government priority.
  • Oil company leaders know they’ll benefit from a faster energy transition.
  • Katie Mehnert is founder and CEO of ALLY Energy, an online platform for the energy community. Mehnert is a former global director at BP and Shell.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

As soon as President Biden began taking action on the environment, some lawmakers rushed to slam him for allegedly killing jobs in some sort of “war on oil.” They’ve been keeping this up in a steady, misguided drumbeat. This opportunism isn’t just politics as usual. It’s bad for the nation, the economy, and the world.

Biden is not “at war” with the fossil fuel industry. Society is at war with greenhouse gas emissions. And increasingly, the markets are turning against those emissions as well. 

Rather than fighting each other, we should all be working together. The crumbling of Texas’ power grid in the recent storm – in which problems plagued all energy sources including coal, natural gas, wind and nuclear – served as a powerful reminder

In the big picture, jobs in the oil industry have been falling in recent years. Far from being saved, the coal industry has been facing “some of its darkest days, plagued by falling demand, bankruptcies and job losses,” CNN reported.

Meanwhile, renewables are accelerating. Quartz declared 2020 “the year clean energy started to beat big oil,” most notably when wind and solar company NextEra became more valuable than Exxon and Chevron. (As Bloomberg put it, “clean power eclipses oil.”)  

I grew up as a second generation leader in oil and gas. I built a career in energy, spending time as a global health safety and environment leader at two oil giants. I have tremendous gratitude for the people who built the carbon infrastructure that has powered the world and delivered a huge number of the products that fill our daily lives. However, I’m also part of the effort to move the world into a  new era of renewable energy. 

I’m far from alone in this. In fact, you may be surprised by how much company I have. Despite stereotypes about Texas and the energy community wanting to produce and sell as much oil as humanly possible, many of us want to speed up the transition. I see this daily through interactions at ALLY, our digital community for a diverse workforce in all forms of energy. 

It shows up in survey data as well. In a poll last year by EY, oil executives named “decarbonization and other changes in response to climate change” one of the trends with the “most positive impact” on their company’s business growth.

While certain politicians fixate on oil, Texas has – perhaps quietly – become the “center of the global corporate renewable energy market,” producing more jobs from renewable sources than from coal. Here in Houston where I live, the city is producing a whopping 92% of its power from wind and solar – one of the highest levels of any city in America. 

We also know first-hand some of the drastic effects of climate change. We lived through Hurricane Harvey, a storm experts say was “almost certainly” more devastating because of human-caused warming. My family lost our home and had to be rescued by boat when the Army Corps of Engineers released dams in hopes of preventing even more catastrophic flooding in other parts of the Houston area.

Americans across the political spectrum have made clear that addressing the environment is an essential task of our time. In a Pew survey last year, two-thirds of Americans said the federal government was not doing enough. A recent study by Yale and George Mason University found that most Democrats and Republicans want the climate to be a top government priority. 

The writing’s on the wall. It’s time for lawmakers to read it and stop fighting. People want more green energy, which makes President Biden’s plan to make “the largest investment in history in American innovation” and create “10 million clean energy jobs” so promising.

Those jobs won’t be solely in companies that are exclusively focused on renewable energy. They’ll also be in clean energy projects of big oil companies, which are gaining ground in keeping with the companies’ net-zero targets. In fact, some oil giants are converting themselves into green energy stocks.

But there’s a long way to go. Oil companies can and should do more to join the wave of the future. This will require a burst of new talent, with ideas and innovations to speed up the transition. I’ve even recommended that we hire activists like Greta Thunberg to be a part of the energy sector. Bring them on board, so they can leverage their passion to help. 

When lawmakers trash environmental activists, they’re not helping the oil and gas community. They’re making it harder for us all to find common ground and make advancements together. As Vincent Saubestre, CEO and President for Total EP Research & Technology USA, said in a recent webinar with me, it’s time to end the “Darth Vader vs. Luke Skywalker approach.” In fact, he said, “We welcome critical allies that will challenge us to go further.” 

It’s time for an all-on-one-team mentality. The people, the markets and the new administration are all pushing in the same direction. Let’s get constructive and cooperate to drive an energy revolution. Our children are counting on us.

Katie Mehnert is CEO of ALLY Energy and Ambassador to the US Department of Energy’s Equity in Energy program. She is author of Grow with the Flow: Embrace Difference, Overcome Fear, and Progress with Purpose.

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