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ABB contributes to accelerating the creation of circular innovations through its startup challenge

ABB contributes to accelerating the creation of circular innovations through its startup challenge

ABB contributes to accelerating the creation of circular innovations through its startup challenge


With a focus on developing customer solutions that help preserve the earth’s natural resources and contribute to a low-carbon society, ABB launched the 2023 ABB Accelerating Circularity Challenge seeking innovative ideas that design out waste and pollution, keep products and materials in use for as much as possible and regenerating the natural system.

“By 2030, ABB aims to innovate toward new circular business models, covering all stages of the product life cycle,” said Panu Virolainen, Chief Technology Officer at ABB Motion. “The ABB Accelerating Circularity Startup Challenge is an opportunity to attract startups who want to work together with us to lead the way to a circular economy. Together, with their talents and our industry knowledge and domain expertise, we can make a meaningful impact to help preserve the earth’s resources for future generations.”

ABB contributes to accelerating the creation of circular innovations through its startup challenge1. ABB Motion Drive Products Challenge

  • Take back care of a Variable Speed Drive: enabling effortless upcycling and
    recycling of ABB drives that meet circularity principles.

Awarded to Molg from the United States. Molg tackles the growing e-waste problem by making manufacturing circular. The company’s robotic microfactory can autonomously assemble and disassemble complex electronic products like laptop PCs, servers, and industrial electronics. Molg also partners with leading electronics manufacturers to design new products with reuse in mind, ensuring that one product’s end is another’s beginning.

“We are thrilled to have been selected as the winner of the ABB Accelerating Circularity Startup Challenge 2023 for Motion Drive Products and look forward to working with the talented and mission aligned team at ABB as we collectively progress the transition to a more circular economy,” said Rob Lawson-Shanks, CEO and Cofounder of Molg. “The opportunity to bring our Design for Circularity and Molg Microfactory automation technology to leading ABB Motion Drive products is a fantastic chance to work with a great partner and drive impact at scale.”

2. ABB Motion Services Challenge

  • Keep the track on circularity: Developing a reliable circularity certificate management tool.

Awarded to Minespider from Switzerland. Minespider is a blockchain traceability platform designed for the green transition, creating greater transparency and circularity in supply chains. By using interactive digital product passports, Minespider facilitates consumer access to comprehensive product lifecycle and environmental impact information.

“It has been an honor to participate in the ABB startup challenge among such innovative and forward-thinking companies. The quality of competition was truly inspiring, and being recognized among them is a testament to the transformative potential of leveraging emerging technology for a circular economy. We are thrilled to have our solution acknowledged and are eager to begin this collaboration together.” Nathan Williams, Founder & CEO of Minespider.

3. ABB Electrification Services Challenge

  • Closing the Loop: Generating Value from Power Distribution End-of-Life was
    awarded to Excess Materials Exchange by ABB Electrifications Services.

Awarded to Excess Materials Exchange from the Netherlands. The Excess Materials Exchange
(EME) is a digital platform where companies can exchange excess materials and products, aiming
to create a more circular and sustainable economy. It functions much like a dating site, matching
waste or surplus materials from one company with another company that can use them, thus
helping to reduce waste and promote recycling and reuse. By connecting different industries and
sectors, EME facilitates the transformation of waste into valuable resources, supporting environmental goals and potentially leading to cost savings for businesses.”

“We are honored to be recognized by ABB in the Circularity Challenge. This achievement reaffirms our commitment to driving the circular economy forward. By transforming excess into opportunity, we are not just reimagining waste, but also reshaping the future of sustainability. Waste, often seen as a liability, can become a platform for innovation. Together with ABB, we’re proving that a greener, more resource-efficient world is not just a vision, but an achievable reality.” Christian van Maaren, Founder Excess Materials Exchange.

Now in its fourth year, the ABB Startup Challenge in collaboration with Microsoft and SynerLeap, has provided a platform for more than 125 starts ups to showcase their innovations. More than 10 winners have gone on to work with ABB to commercialize their offerings, with many of whose who didn’t win still going on to progress their offerings, or working with fellow challengers who they met on their Startup Challenge journey.

ABB is a technology leader in electrification and automation, enabling a more sustainable and resource-efficient future. The company’s solutions connect engineering know-how and software to optimize how things are manufactured, moved, powered and operated. Building on more than 130 years of excellence, ABB’s 105,000 employees are committed to driving innovations that accelerate industrial transformation.

ABB Motion keeps the world turning – while saving energy every day. We innovate and push the boundaries of technology to enable the low-carbon future for customers, industries and societies. With our digitally enabled drives, motors and services, we can deliver the optimum drive and motor solution for a wide range of applications in all industrial segments. Through our global presence, we are always close to serve our customers. ABB Motion achieved revenues of $6.9 billion and an Operational EBITA margin of 17.1 percent in 2021. The Dodge business that was divested at the end of 2021 contributed with revenues of approximately $540 million and supported the Operational EBITA margin by approximately 50 basis points. The business area has roughly 22,000 employees in seven divisions worldwide.

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