Innovation and Energy - Two Topics, One Goal

Interview with Matthias Mittelviefhaus, CEO and Malte Sulkiewicz, Head of Marketing and PR of Osnatech GmbH

Matthias Mittelviefhaus, CEO of Osnatech GmbH
Matthias Mittelviefhaus, CEO of Osnatech GmbH

Sea levels are rising, extreme weather conditions with cold and heat waves, droughts, hurricanes, floods, and wildfires are increasing, glaciers are melting - to limit global warming, rapid and lasting changes in all areas of society are essential. Osnatech GmbH from Bissendorf near Osnabrück aims to contribute to this. As a solution provider for energy-efficient building and living, Osnatech offers innovative technologies that can make the world a little better.

Manfred Brinkmann (Economic Forum): Mr. Mittelviefhaus, Mr. Sulkiewicz, since the founding of the company, everything at Osnatech has revolved around a CO2-free world. How should one imagine this?

Matthias Mittelviefhaus: Initially, it was primarily about research work around what was at the time the revolutionary topic of carbon fiber heating, a technology that is based on carbon nanotubes. Together with the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences, we conducted intensive research to further develop the product, so that from 2018, the first heaters could also be built on a larger scale.

Malte Sulkiewicz, Head of Marketing and PR Osnatech GmbH
Malte Sulkiewicz, Head of Marketing and PR

The heaters were a real innovation; here, water is not heated by fire as has been customary for decades, which then warms the air in metal heaters and only then us. We use infrared technology to directly warm the body with much less loss. This also includes objects and walls in a room that store heat and release it back into the room. These are efficient, promising developments, especially significant given that heat pumps alone cannot serve the market.

Malte Sulkiewicz: Innovation also plays a major role in the field of photovoltaics. Here, the glass-free, flexible, and extremely light modules were added as a solution in a further step.

Osnatech Lightweight Modules for Balcony Power Plants
Lightweight modules for balcony power plants – Innovation

Manfred Brinkmann (Economic Forum): Photovoltaics play a major role at Osnatech today. How did it come about and what PV solutions are involved?

Matthias Mittelviefhaus: At some point, we realized that we wanted to generate our own electricity for our two electricity consumers – electric heating and formerly LED – to push for CO2 reduction. Today, photovoltaics account for a large part of the turnover, and the expectations for the future are very positive. We are only at the beginning of the energy transition; more and more companies and private households will deal with the topic and be a motivator for the market. In addition, we have lightweight modules in our portfolio, enabling us to offer PV solutions to companies with limited roof load. The lightweight modules are products for a market with huge potential, comparable in performance and durability to the classic glass modules. Last but not least, we also cater to the topic of balcony power plants. Glass modules, as offered by competitors today, are too heavy and dangerous for higher floors, but customers want performance. Our lightweight modules open up entirely new possibilities. Another area is created by combining photovoltaics and solar thermal energy. Photovoltaic modules typically have an efficiency of 20, 22%; combined with an ingenious solar thermal system, the efficiency of a solar module can be increased up to 70%.

Manfred Brinkmann (Economic Forum): With these innovations, Osnatech is serving significant future markets. What does the company's structure look like today?

Matthias Mittelviefhaus: We employ 25 people and have a turnover in the tens of millions. Besides our headquarters in Bissendorf, we work with partners in Germany and abroad. From 2021 to 2022, we increased our turnover tenfold; previously we were primarily active in research and development, later we shifted the focus more to sales. We expect to continue to grow in the future.

Osnatech PV Solutions for Facades
Osnatech also offers sophisticated PV solutions for facades

Dr. Endre Hagenthurn (Economic Forum): Mr. Sulkiewicz, you are responsible for marketing and PR; what do you see as the future challenges in this area?

Malte Sulkiewicz: Our aim is to transfer strategic issues into operational business and to digitalize these processes wherever possible. For instance, we equip all our employees with digital tools and work resources so they can work remotely, among other things. We connect our software solutions. We use the internet and its channels as a showcase. In March, we launched our new website, changing the domain to match the company name. Our focus is on topics inherent to our DNA, such as research and innovation in the areas of heating and photovoltaic.

Matthias Mittelviefhaus: In sales, sustainability is as important to us as it is for the products themselves. The market is booming right now, which has brought in many unscrupulous providers looking for a quick deal. That's exactly what we want to avoid. We approach customers transparently and openly, consciously pointing out the challenges and difficulties with such projects because there are always unforeseen issues. We want to accompany the customer from A to Z, thereby distinguishing ourselves from the market.

Osnatech Team Photo
Osnatech - a team that emphasizes sustainability for a better tomorrow
Osnatech Installation
Every Osnatech product and technology serves the purpose of CO2 reduction

Dr. Endre Hagenthurn (Economic Forum): What concerns you most when you look to the future?

Matthias Mittelviefhaus: To achieve serious CO2 reduction, more decisive steps are needed from politicians. Climate change is already bringing about worse disasters than we have imagined. We all need to work together to change that. With Osnatech, I lead a company where employees have a professional home. Being able to combine that with the task of making the world a bit better is particularly motivating.

Malte Sulkiewicz: With our knowledge, we actually have the chance to change something economically and thus in a doubly sustainable way.