2nd SESSION – The new smelters of the coal heartland


How dedicated Innovation Hubs Accelerate the Smart and Sustainable Transition in Essen

Slot 1: How Facilitation of the Start-Up Scene can help to Blend the Smart and Sustainable Agenda of Cities

Essen, the former capital of coal and steel industry has already undergone a Cinderella story by having been rewarded European Green Capital 2017. Now Essen is trying to use this international spotlight on its urban transition to establish herself as the regional hotspot for the start-up scene. Several Start-Up Hubs are already in place, such as Impact Hub Ruhr, camp.essen. :agile accelerator and ruhr:hub or the financing facility Gründerfonds Ruhr. And more impressive projects are already in the pipeline. The hubs offer the platforms where public and private partners as well as academia find together to solve the urban challenges of the future. It is exceptional that most of Essen’s Start-Up Hubs focus their attention on the smart and sustainable transition of cities or are situated in living labs for future cities such as the EUREF Campus Zollverein or the district Essen 51. By organizing dedicated Hack-a-thons like the Climathon in the Impact Hub Ruhr Essen tries to capture solutions for pressing issues such as the built-up of solar power and is creating new business opportunities for the post-fossil future.

Speakers: Christoph Mohr (E-on, Private): Sustainable City Solutions consultant, Ulrike Trenz (Impact Hub Ruhr, Ent/Act): Co-Founder & Global Impact Hub Network Lead

Sector: Economic development

Stakeholders: City of Essen, State of North-Rhine Westfalia (Public),  E-On Initiativkreis Ruhr, Essen Economic Development Agency (Private), University Duisburg-Essen (Academia), Impact Hub Ruhr (Entrepr/Act)


Slot 2: Essen 51. How a brownfield turns into a showcase for the smart and sustainable future of cities

Essen 51 is a landmark project not only due to its impressive dimensions (52 hectars of brownfield regeneration, 1500 new homes and 500.000 squarmeters of new business space), but also due to the integrative smart concept. Smart means quality of life through the interaction of technical innovations and sustainability: green spaces form the heart of the city disctrict, and an innovative drainage system uses natural open water surfaces and rainwater decoupling. ESSEN 51 will integrate modern environmental technologies for the generation of renewable energies, higher energy efficiency and energy saving. Mobility functions automatically and networked, adapts dynamically and is available via ESSEN 51. App as required: Pooling of car pools by bus; high-speed collective taxi or private car; sharing offers for e-cars and bicycles offer full flexibility; start-ups, pop-ups, urban farming, beekeeping, brewery, technopark, gastronomy…. Individualized and communicative production processes are characteristic for the companies in ESSEN 51. The office offers a variety of structures for different activities: individual offices, open space, co-working, different design and always with integration of technology and comfort.

Speakers: Stephan Christochowitz (Private), Director of Thelen Baumanagement GmbH. The former leading planner of Thyssen-Krupp real estate is now director of Thelen Baumanagement where he can put the plans for the reinvention of the Krupp-Belt as the smart and sustainable 51st district of Esssen into practice

Sector: Entrepreneurship

Stakeholders: City of Essen (Public), Thelen-Gruppe (Private)


Slot 3: EUREF Campus Ruhr: Solutions for Global Challenges from the World Heritage Site Zollverein, once the largest coal mine in Europe

The Berlin entrepreneur Reinhard Muller plans, as a further development of his EUREF-CAMPUS in Berlin, a start-up centre on Zollverein around the gasometer on the coking plant part of the World Heritage site. Essen is Germany’s energy capital, so it makes sense to promote this topic on a campus at Zollverein. The aim is to create an infrastructure that will help founders realise their ideas and strengthen the Ruhr as a location for young companies. 1000 new jobs are to be created here. The topics of the business incubator are energy system transformation, climate protection and intelligent mobility.

Speakers: Stephan Kohler (Ent/Act), Director EUREF-Energy GmbH. The former director of the German Energy Efficiency Agency is one of the inventors of the Energiewende. From 1981-1988 he worked for the Öko-Institut Freiburg, where he became head of the Department of Energy in 1983. With the EUREF Campus Zollverein he continues to seek and find sustainable solutions for the problems of the city of the future.

Sector: Energy and mobility

Stakeholders: City of Essen (Public), RAG (Private), EUREF (Entrepr/Act)