Andreas Sichert, co-founder and CEO of Orcan Energy
© Orcan Energy

Orcan Energy Is Ending Energy Waste

Munich Startup: What problem is Orcan Energy solving? 

Andreas Sichert, Orcan Energy: To put it bluntly: With our solutions, we’re ending energy waste. We develop, produce and distribute modules to generate clean electricity from waste heat. Until now, waste heat has often simply been blown into the air in industrial processes, for example – making it the largest unused energy resource in the world. We’re tapping into this enormous waste heat potential – and enabling not only a large reduction in costs but also a massive reduction in CO2 emissions. This makes Orcan Energy’s technology an important factor in the world of energy both today and tomorrow. The modules sold in 2022 alone will save around one million tons of CO2 over their service life. 

Munich Startup: How has your solution developed since founding the company? 

Andreas Sichert: Since Orcan Energy was founded, we’ve played a significant role in the further development of Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) technology known in power plant construction. In particular, we’ve massively reduced the dimensions of the technology, by a factor of about 1,000. This innovation has enabled us to develop a product suited for wide application. Orcan Energy makes it possible to for the first time to also use smaller waste heat sources and lower temperatures with this technology, thus tapping into heat potential that had previously gone to waste. 

On this basis, we’re constantly developing our technology and our products so we can use them in an increasing number of applications. Today, our technology is highly flexible in terms of the waste heat source. We can install the modules wherever waste heat is generated – for example in engines, in industrial processes, on ships or in geothermal plants. We are very pleased that many customers from the marine, cement, steel, geothermal energy, oil and gas sectors are already generating inexpensive, clean electricity with our support, which means they’re improving their ecological balance and making an active contribution to climate protection. 

Orcan Energy wants to “make a significant contribution to the global energy transition” 

Munich Startup: What have been your greatest achievements so far? 

Andreas Sichert: Over nearly 15 years now, we’ve reached several milestones. Andreas Schuster, Richard Aumann and I founded Orcan Energy in 2008 with the aim of offering companies from different industries and sectors a simple, economical and efficient solution for converting waste heat into electricity. Together with our customers, we want to make a significant contribution to the global energy transition. The greatest achievement of the company is certainly that we’ve been gradually achieving these goals since then: More than 500 Orcan modules have been sold internationally. 

Munich Startup: And how are things looking for you financially? 

Andreas Sichert: We’re definitely growing: Last year, we were able to triple our orders, and we’re expecting a manifold increase in sales this year. Just a few months ago, we raised 28.5 million euros in growth capital. This funding will enable us to continue to expand quickly, sustainably and internationally. 

Becoming an “established company” with perseverance and patience 

Munich Startup: What lessons have you learned so far in the founding team? 

Andreas Sichert: Over the years, we’ve been able to gain extensive experience and learn many lessons. What you need first is a good idea and a strong product. That is and remains the key. Our technology has a direct impact on the environment. To get our energy modules to the point where they make the significant difference that they do today, we needed perseverance and patience above all else. Both the development of products and the scaling of companies simply takes time – especially in the hardware and energy sector. Now we’re an “established” company with international customers and renowned investors – but it certainly wasn’t an easy route to take. 

Munich Startup: What role has the Munich ecosystem played on that route? 

Andreas Sichert: To begin with, TUM obviously played a major role as the “home university” for all three of us. It provides excellent opportunities for conducting cutting-edge research and then translating it into commercially viable concepts. Munich startup initiatives and programs such as “UnternehmerTUM” are also valuable platforms – be it for events or expanding your network. Finally, it’s certainly no coincidence that we still have valuable partners here in Munich, including our investor Wellington Partners and especially our esteemed Chairman of the Supervisory Board Christian Reitberger (from Wellington Partners). 

Munich Startup: What milestones are you working towards next? 

Andreas Sichert: Our current focus is on internationalization and the expansion of global supply chains. We’re already well established with our solutions in markets like Europe and the USA. We’d now like to accelerate our commercial development, especially in rapidly emerging markets, for instance in the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and the Pacific region.