Climate Solutions Prize: Continental Honors Winner of Tech Challenge on Pioneering Sustainable

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Climate Solutions Prize: Continental Honors Winner of Tech Challenge on Pioneering Sustainable Materials

For the first time, Continental has recognized an innovative sustainable solution with the Climate Solutions Prize. Biotic, a biotech start-up focusing on biological alternatives to plastics, prevailed in the “Pioneering Sustainable Material” tech challenge offered by Continental in collaboration with Startup Nation Central (SNC). The winning solution is a new method that utilizes algae and seawater as raw materials in order to modify the properties of plastic. The resulting material has the potential to replace several existing fossil- based components and packaging in the automotive industry. “For Continental, embracing sustainability in automotive development is a strategic imperative,” said Gilles Mabire, CTO at Continental Automotive. “One part of our multi-faceted approach to find innovative sustainable solutions is to work with young, particularly agile and innovative companies. And we were quite impressed with Biotic’s approach of complete recycling throughout the material’s life cycle.” The winner of the Climate Solutions Prize was announced during the final event on February 26, 2024.

Prize winner Biotic develops bio-based alternative for automotive plastic
In 2023, Continental partnered with SNC on the Climate Solutions Prize competition. SNC is an independent Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) from Israel, driven by a diverse team of industry-leading business and tech experts. Their objective is to find unique technologies which drive innovation processes forward.

The annual competition encompasses multiple tech challenge tracks. Continental’s “Pioneering Sustainable Material” challenge focused on start-ups creating cutting edge sustainable material technologies which can be used in automotive.

Founded in 2020, the winner Biotic envisions a world where plastic is not a concern. Polymers and other plastics account for 12 to 16 percent of the total weight of a car, so it is crucial to seek sustainable and circular alternative solutions. For the challenge, Biotic developed a process that uses algae and sea water as feedstock for their precision fermentation, allowing for modification of the polymers’ characteristics. The synthesized biobased polymer holds the potential to replace several existing fossil-based components and packaging in the automotive industry. Currently, Continental and Biotic are preparing a proof of concept with the intention to form a long-term cooperation. “We are very proud to have been awarded with the Climate Solutions Prize,” said Adi Goldman, CEO and co-founder, “and we are looking forward to working together with Continental to develop our solution further towards future scalability.” Plastics are one of the main materials extensively utilized at Continental Automotive. A broad range of plastics, from standard to engineering plastics, is employed to meet the complex and technical requirements of the wide product portfolio. These applications span from housings and packaging to sophisticated displays.

Spotlight on sustainable automotive technologies

Concerns about global warming and environmental degradation continue to mount worldwide. Major industry players, Continental included, are redefining their approach to manufacturing and are actively seeking innovative solutions that align with their own sustainability goals as well as those of their stakeholders. Central to this paradigm shift is the recognition that establishing collaborations and developing innovative and sustainable tech products are essential. For this purpose, Continental established co-pace, its own start-up organization, in 2018 as a catalyst for new technologies and business models built in cooperation with key start-ups that contribute to reaching CO2 neutrality and a circular economy.

Start-up challenges like the Climate Solutions Prize are just one part of Continental’s multi-faceted strategy to navigate the complexities of global innovation. The aim is to develop a comprehensive approach which involves a synergy of opportunities, including utilizing expert networks and fostering university collaborations, local partnerships and strategic investments through corporate venture capital. In addition, Continental is running its own explorative programs that identify, evaluate and select promising sustainable automotive technologies that enable them to achieve key sustainability requirements from its stakeholders. These projects cover a wide array of applications, from adjusting production processes for a reduced carbon footprint to reusing components at the end of their lives.

Continental develops pioneering technologies and services for sustainable and connected mobility of people and their goods. Founded in 1871, the technology company offers safe, efficient, intelligent and affordable solutions for vehicles, machines, traffic and transportation. In 2022, Continental generated sales of €39.4 billion and currently employs around 200,000 people in 57 countries and markets.