Startup Sponsh wins Gouden KIEM 2018

The team of Sponsh and Eindhoven University of Technology have received the Gouden KIEM on 4 December 2018. They have developed a temperature-sensitive textile that produces water from the air. With the Gouden KIEM, NWO and Holland Chemistry reward the best chemistry startup each year. The prize consists of 25,000 euros for a research project and a sculpture, and is awarded during the chemistry conference CHAINS..

The three finalists were Sponsh, Lucoso and Vertoro. All three nominated starters are initiatives of Eindhoven University of Technology. A short film in which Sponsh presents itself was shown during the award ceremony.

Meet Sponsh in a short video

Gouden KIEM jury

This year the jury members were Prof. Floris Rutjes (Radboud University), Dr Peter Berben (BASF), Leon Joore (Millvision), Dr Cristianne Rijcken (Cristal Therapeutics) and Dr Koen Nickmans (FreshStrips). The jury was impressed by the enthusiasm and innovative ideas of the three startups. They awarded the Gouden KIEM to the company in which the jury saw the strongest combination of a product with societal impact, a good team with complementary areas of expertise, and good opportunities for further growth.

The Gouden KIEM competition has been organised each year since 2014 and is open for participation to all companies in the chemical sector that have been established less than three years ago and have their roots in a university or university of applied sciences. The Gouden KIEM competition is made possible by NWO Science and Holland Chemistry.

Finalists in the picture:

Sponsh (Eindhoven University of Technology):
By learning how nature collects water in dry coastal areas, Sponsh has developed a temperature-sensitive textile that produces water from the air. It is completely off grid, requires zero energy and is affordable. Researcher Catarina Esteves from Physical Chemistry developed an additive for cotton five years ago, as a result of which the material can retain many times its own weight in water. This special cotton can be used to obtain water from the air in arid areas since even in deserts mist develops during the night if the air temperature drops sufficiently. Sponsh BV brings technology as a new way of supplying water in dry coastal areas in particular, where a square metre of cotton can yield more than a litre of water per night.

Lucoso (Eindhoven University of Technology):
Lusoco develops ink components for printing artistic glass that produces energy during the day and emits light during the night for applications in information boards and architecture. Lusoco is an initiative of postdoc Jeroen ter Schiphorst from the group Functional Organic Materials and Devices and Teun Wagenmakers.

The technology used is based on so-called luminescent solar concentrators. With this painting technique, a thin layer of light-sensitive material can be applied in any desired pattern.

Vertoro (Eindhoven University of Technology):
Vertoro wants to be a platform for crude oil based on lignin, a substance obtained from biomass. This lignin oil can – just like crude oil now – not only be used as a fuel but also as a raw material for (bio)plastics and chemicals. The people behind Vertoro are Prof. Emiel Hensen from Inorganic Materials Chemistry, PhD Panos Kouris and Michael Boot.

Source: NWO