For this MBA Startup Project, a team of diverse MBA students focus on sourcing renewable heat from the underground environment.

The environmental crisis of our times has necessitated a rethink on most lifestyle and business choices. This is especially true in the spheres of energy production, distribution, and consumption. 50% of the global energy consumption is used for heating and cooling. 78% of this is still reliant on non-renewable sources and is responsible for 33% of global greenhouse emissions.

With continuous surges in urbanization, the push for building sector decarbonization is already high. Further, with recent geopolitical developments, energy independence has rapidly become a pressing need. In addition, lack of scalability and technical complexity has limited the access to renewable energy sources, especially in densely built areas.   


Enter Enerdrape. A cleantech spin-off of the Swiss Institute of Technology, Lausanne (EPFL), led by co-founders Margaux Peltier (CEO), Dr. Alessandro Rotta Loria (CTO) and Prof. Lyesse Laloui. Enerdrape has developed a thermal panel that can be installed in the basements/garages of buildings. This can tap into geothermal energy to supplement the energy needs for heating or cooling of the buildings. The solution is non-intrusive, unlike other forms of geothermal energy tapping mechanisms. Furthermore, it can easily be installed in the basements of existing buildings that use traditional heating and cooling systems.

Present performance indicators show that the energy costs for heating and cooling will reduce by 15%, and CO2 emissions by ~30%, annually. The product prototype is under test in the city, and very promising discussions are ongoing with building owners and energy companies.

Our team and the IMD startup ecosystem

Our team comprising Pilar, Katarzyna, James, Tony and myself, brings together five nationalities. We have rich experience in the fields of hospitality, oil and gas, environmental engineering, digital transformation, project management and aerospace. This diversity is being leveraged to help Enerdrape build a successful international market entry and industrialization strategy.

Our team exploring an underground garage

To start, we took inputs from industry experts at the forefront of the transition between traditional and renewable energy systems. From this, we are building a country analysis model for markets the company chooses to study for entry. We are also helping to segment the market from the perspective of ease of penetration. Finally, we need to analyze which revenue models will be suitable to implement. We are using the German market as a test case and aim to have a model that can be replicated in other markets.   

Professor Julia Binder, our coach, is helping us to keep our deliverables on track at a high level. Our advisor, Katrin, is helping us with the networking and conversations with industry experts.

This highly intensive experience is exposing us to an industry that most of us have no experience in. With our final presentations due in a month, we have learned a great deal about navigating uncertainty, at the nodal point of change in a traditional industry.  


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