TFN recently covered the greatest inventions of the year from the UK. Today, we have compiled a list of the most innovative and impactful products and solutions from European startups in 2022. The list is based on solicited nominations from TIME Magazine. Let’s take a look at the list of best inventions of the year across categories from the continent.
Nant de Drance Hydropower Plant (Switzerland)
CEO: Antje Kanngiesser
Founded year: 2009
Energy company Alpiq Energia provides comprehensive and efficient services in energy generation, marketing, energy optimisation, and electromobility. The company develops customised and digital solutions that are reliable and sustainable. It operates several power plants for the sale of energy, and its production facilities guarantee the supply of electricity to customers 24 hours a day.
Located high in the Swiss Alps, the Nant de Drance pumps storage power plant aims to help stabilise Europe’s power supply and also support the transition to renewable energy. The plant’s two reservoirs can store excess power, such as solar and wind power. It is the largest of its kind in Europe and can store up to 20 million kilowatt hours, similar to the capacity of 400,000 car batteries.
BeReal Social Media App (France)
Founder/s: Alexis Barreyat, Kevin Perreau
Founded year: 2020
Total funding: $117M
BeReal is a photo-sharing app that lets users can spontaneously share life updates with their friends. The social media app prompts users to post what they are actually doing at a random time each day. In two minutes, users can snap both a selfie and a photo of what’s in front of them.
Earlier this year, BeReal raised $85 million in Series B funding from DST Global. Also, it has hit the top spot on the App Store’s free downloads list this summer.
Doconomy 2030 Calculator (Sweden)
Founder/s: Johan Pihl, Mathias Wikstrom
Founded year: 2018
Total funding: $17M
Doconomy is a Swedish fintech, which offers digital banking services with the vision to enable a sustainable lifestyle for everyone. It wants to inspire behaviour change and reduce unsustainable consumption and carbon emissions. Figuring out a product’s true carbon footprint can be costly and time-consuming.
Doconomy’s 2030 Calculator offers a fast, easy and affordable way to quantify the carbon footprints of everything from T-shirts and tables to toasters and toothbrushes. The calculator uses a vast database of factors such as material, location, energy consumption, transportation, etc. to estimate carbon emissions caused by the product.
Sono Motors Sion (Germany)
Founder/s: Jona Christians, Laurin Hahn, Navina Pernsteiner
Founded year: 2016
Total funding: $119M
Sono Motors has the vision to become an established provider of sustainable mobility, by focusing on manufacturing electric vehicles with alternative power technologies and innovative sharing services. Its first model is the solar-powered Sion, which is all set to enter mass production in the second half of 2023. The entire outer shell of the vehicle is wrapped in lightweight and affordable solar cells to boost energy capture. While Sion’s range is 190 miles on a single charge, it can deliver almost double that range on a sunny day.
Vaayu Carbon Tracking Platform (Germany)
Founder/s: Luca Schmid, Namrata Sandhu
Founded year: 2021
Total funding: $13.1M
Vaayu has developed software that helps retailers track and cut carbon in real-time. This carbon emissions calculator and platform are specifically made for retail companies and are integrated with point-of-sale systems to get transaction updates. Vaayu lets companies see carbon emissions from different supply-chain points and identify areas where the same can be reduced. Working with 60 partners, the company offers consumer-facing metrics that will help shoppers evaluate the footprint of products and delivery methods before they purchase. In 2022, they closed an $11.5 million seed funding round led by Atomico.
Reveal Genomics Breast Cancer Care (Spain)
Founder/s: Patricia Villagrasa, Aleix Prat
Founded year: 2020
Total funding: $590K
Reveal Genomics is focused on developing tests that make use of the full power of the complete genetic and clinical information of each patient. The biotech startup announced HER2DX, its first genomic tool for patients with HER2+ breast cancer. Now, HER2DX has been recognised as one of the top inventions in the “Medical Care” category.
It is a standardised 27-gene expression test for patients with early-stage HER2+ breast cancer. The test integrates clinical information such as tumour size and nodal status with biological information tracking immune response, luminal differentiation, tumour cell proliferation, and expression of the HER2 17q12-21 chromosomal amplicon, including the ERBB2 gene.
Fairphone 4 (Netherlands)
Founder/s: Bas van Abel, Miguel Ballester, CEO:
Founded year: 2010
Total funding: $19.9M
Fairphone is a social enterprise that aims at raising awareness about conflict minerals in electronics. It has got a place on this list as a part of the ‘Special Mention’ category. Smartphones generally are difficult to repair, forcing consumers to replace the whole phone if anything goes wrong.
Fairphone has worked to be a more sustainable alternative with a modular design made from sustainable parts that are easy to replace or repair. Addressing the issues faced by its predecessors launched all these years, the latest offering – Fairphone 4 comes equipped with technology.
Spinnova Sustainable Fibre (Finland)
Founder/s: Janne Poranen, Juha Salmela
Founded year: 2014
Total funding: $12.4M
Renewable fibre maker Spinnova uses wood or waste without the use of harmful chemicals to transform the way textiles are manufactured globally. Bands have begun using more sustainable materials, from recycled plastic fabrics to vegan leather made from mushrooms. Already, Adidas and H&M-owned Arket have released clothing in partnership with Spinnova. It is touted to be the most sustainable natural fibre in the world. The company will move out of its pilot-scale production space and into a full-size facility next year.