Most Innovative Companies


German startup Entrade takes a problem (trash) and turns it into useful power and heat. And it does it inside a relatively small space: a 40-foot shipping container that can be placed in all kinds of locations, including where electric grids aren’t yet found. The mini-power plants create dry wood pellets from locally-available sources then mix in pelletized trash. The system gasifies the mixture at high temperatures (without air) creating a “syngas” that’s then burned in an engine to create electricity.

Entrade’s units are popping up all over the world, including near the site of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, in Japan, where they’re converting irradiated timber. In the U.K., a frozen vegetable company is using Entrade’s equipment to burn up used cardboard boxes, replacing old gas boilers and electric heaters, and cutting CO2 emissions. Portable gasifiers have long been proposed but never perfected: unwanted moisture and tar buildups have poisoned performance. It’s taken advanced German engineering to make it happen.

2018: Energy
headquarters: Düsseldorf, Germany