5G – TechBinder makes shipping a bit cleaner

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5G – TechBinder makes shipping a bit cleaner

Bram van den Boom (35), founder of TechBinder, won the jury prize with his Smart Vessel Optimiser during the 5G Hub Innovation Challenge. In the pitch final, he competed against five other start-ups and scale-ups with the most diverse, innovative and sustainable solutions. The beauty of his find is that Smart Vessel Optimiser succeeds in significantly reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in shipping.

What does the Smart Vessel Optimizer do?

“It is a tool with which the energy consumption of cargo ships is monitored in great detail. Based on that data, shipping companies and ship owners can take actions to reduce the amount of fuel and emissions.”

So a sustainable solution?

“Secure. It has an ecological, but also an economic motive. Based on the information our tool collects, skippers and shipowners can see where they can save on fuel. This allows them to sail cleaner and save fuel costs.”

How did the idea come about?

“I have a background in the process industry, especially in automation and data efficiency. About four years ago I was asked if I wanted to speak at a maritime conference about data and its use. During the congress I ran into Aldwin Schroot – my current partner. He was working at a maritime company at the time and we got to talking about process optimization in the maritime sector. That’s how the ball started rolling. In the end, Aldwin and I were given the opportunity from my former employer Schneider Electric to start a startup in partnership.”

Why is the Smart Vessel Optimiser so innovative?

“Shipping is an international business and therefore more difficult to monitor when it comes to emissions regulations. That is about to change, however, because stricter requirements and guidelines will be introduced. A CO2 tax, for example. There is currently virtually no picture of a ship’s fuel consumption. The insights our tool provides help to change fuel consumption and awareness. If you do your best as a skipper, you can save 25 percent of your emissions with our tool in no time.”

How energy-conscious is the maritime sector?

“Shipping is increasingly concerned with sustainability, but in practice they (still) lag behind. For example, Aldwin and I recently sailed on a ship for three days and we noticed fifteen unnecessary engine hours in those three days. That, of course, says something about the crew, their care and their awareness of fuel consumption.”

Why is 5G necessary for your tool?

“We mainly work in and around busy areas such as ports, locks and jetties. There is a huge need for fast, accurate and reliable data in these places. Port planners, for example, want to be able to monitor the status of fuel, safety and shipping routes. For all that data you need quite a bit of bandwidth and then 5G is crucial. These are things that require increasingly better and higher connectivity, especially in busy areas.”

Were you the rightful winner of the Challenge?

“Honestly, I’ve only seen strong solutions. And the fact that such an event broadens your network and provides exposure is already a gain in itself. The atmosphere was great and all kinds of interesting, potential collaborations have arisen. For example, we will soon be meeting with Connec2 and Integer Tech to merge our knowledge and techniques through VR and AR, for example. Super awesome.”

What price did you go home with?

“We receive guidance in developing our technology, there are professionals who will work with us on marketing, communication and design and we can make use of a business consultant. All in all, a nice growth injection for our business. And that’s a good thing, because we’re ready for the next step.”