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Whiffle, a Delft University of Technology spin-off, has successfully developed cutting-edge technology for highly accurate, localised weather forecasting. Thanks to a €3 million capital injection from impact investors ENERGIIQ and SHIFT Invest, the company will now be able to expand and achieve rapid growth. Global leaders in the renewable energy sector are already using Whiffle’s model.

Following developments at Delft University of Technology over a period of many years, Whiffle was founded by Harmen Jonker and Remco Verzijlbergh in 2015. The company offers several advantages over conventional meteorological services, not least the ultra-high resolution of its forecasts. Whiffle runs the calculations of its weather model on graphic processing units (GPUs), allowing local turbulence and underlying processes and conditions in the atmosphere to be captured in greater detail.

Optimised by artificial intelligence and machine learning, this is the world’s first operational weather model based on Large Eddy Simulation (LES). Whiffle can therefore provide its customers with very fast and accurate weather forecasts that account for various factors such as the local effects of hills, buildings and windturbines. Although the technology can help boost efficiency in many sectors, Whiffle is currently focusing on the renewable energy market.

Whiffle CEO Harmen Jonker says: “We can use this investment to further grow the company and bring our weather model to market in a number of sectors. In recent years, we have been working hard to refine the technology and make it easy for customers to use. We are now seeing a significant increase in commercial interest. This investment will allow us to expand even faster and continue to improve our model in the coming years.”

Accelerating the energy transition

Whiffle’s highly advanced weather model makes renewable energy production more predictable. The technology is of great value to the energy sector because better forecasts reduce the costs of weather risks. More accurate weather forecasting lowers imbalance prices for energy companies, for example, which has a direct effect on their margins. The model can also be used to optimise the configuration of wind farms and better predict future energy yields. This could result in higher yields and lower financing costs. Weather forecasts and wind simulations are of crucial importance to various players in the sector, including energy traders, wind farm owners and developers. The model offers great opportunities in other areas as well, from aviation to agriculture and from shipping to better air pollution forecasting.

The capital injection is financed by impact investors SHIFT Invest and ENERGIIQ.

Janneke Bik, partner at SHIFT Invest, says: “We are impressed with the team and the state-of-the-art technology it has developed. As the growth of renewable resources will make the energy system more weather dependent, accurate simulations and forecasts are crucial to the energy transition. Whiffle therefore fits perfectly with our fund’s objective.”

Rafael Koene, fund manager at ENERGIIQ, concurs: “Whiffle’s technology can have a major impact on the energy transition by further reducing the overall costs of renewably generated energy. We have great confidence in the company and its model and are very much looking forward to working with the team.”

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InnovationQuarter Mathijs van Rijk

Mathijs van Rijk

Investment Manager ENERGIIQ
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Dutch scale-up Exasun, manufacturer of innovative in-roof solar solutions, is to forge a strategic partnership with Wienerberger, the world’s largest producer of ceramic construction and paving materials. Wienerberger will handle the exclusive pan-European sales and distribution of Exasun’s high-performance X-Tile and X-Roof solar panels. The partnership ties in with Exasun’s and the EU’s wide-ranging ambitions to make the built environment more sustainable and accelerate the energy transition.

from left to right: Remon Veraart (CEO Exasun), Jan-Jaap van Os (CTO & Co-Founder Exasun), Bert Jan Koekoek (Managing Director Wienerberger)

Exasun has been a portfolio company of ENERGIIQ, the energy innovation fund of regional development agency InnovationQuarter since 2018. By investing in Exasun, ENERGIIQ aims to stimulate the reshoring of solar panel production to the Netherlands, thereby contributing to a further reduction in CO2 emissions. This strategy will also serve to develop home-grown knowledge of solar panel recycling and its potential. Exasun’s in-roof photovoltaic (PV) systems will be integral to the energy solutions provided by Wienerberger.

Aside from ENERGIIQ, other parties have also invested in Exasun in the past three years, including No Such Ventures and Dockpoint. Thanks in part to the support of these co-investors, the scale-up is now an appealing partner for major market players like Wienerberger. In the next growth phase, Exasun will raise additional capital to further increase production.

Accelerating the energy transition

The strategic partnership, slated to start on 1 January 2022, is based on Wienerberger managing the exclusive pan-European sales and distribution of Exasun’s X-Tile and X-Roof building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) systems. Unlike traditional solar panels, which are installed on top of existing roofing, these innovative systems also double as roofing material.

The partnership will provide a major boost to the availability of BIPV systems for the building industry and will enable Exasun to contribute to accelerating the energy transition across Europe. This represents the first step in the company’s global strategy that includes expanding into other regions to open up opportunities for further development of the product portfolio.

Schoemaker Plantage Delft X-Roof

Exasun’s X-Roof | Schoemaker Plantage Delft

Market leader in the Netherlands

Exasun has been the Dutch market leader for BIPV systems for several years. Its products are regarded as the next generation of solar solutions and are widely used in single-unit and multi-unit residential construction. Contractors, developers and architects increasingly use the systems to achieve an aesthetically high-quality roof finish that is both watertight and energy generating at a competitive price. Exasun’s systems have European IEC certification and comply with all relevant building materials regulations.

Project: Park van Buijsen, Pijnacker | Product: X-Roof Black

Previous collaboration

Exasun has previously collaborated with Wienerberger on developing the X‑Tile – a solar roof panel that integrates perfectly with the building material manufacturer’s flat ceramic roof tile, Actua 10. However, Exasun’s X-Roof is now taking things a step further: an integrated solution where the entire roof consists of in-roof solar panels. Here, too, a combination with regular roof tiles is possible. X-Roof has an exceptionally favourable life cycle analysis (LCA) score and lifespan compared to other systems on the market. It is also listed in the Dutch Environmental Database, which is gaining increasing importance in the building industry.

Logical step for Wienerberger

Wienerberger has a rich history in sustainable entrepreneurship. Its innovative solar energy solutions are key to its far-reaching ambitions to create a sustainable future. At the same time, the company’s growth strategy is aimed at offering a wider portfolio of materials and solutions for building envelopes and infrastructure. Establishing a strategic partnership with Exasun is therefore a logical step.


About Exasun

Exasun is an innovative Dutch manufacturer of affordable and aesthetic, top-quality glass-glass solar panels that are highly efficient and extremely durable. Exasun’s technology is distinguished by a much better score in terms of environmental requirements than traditional solar panels. Based in The Hague, the scale-up has developed its advanced production line in close collaboration with suppliers, knowledge institutions and renowned Dutch machine builders. In addition to innovative BIPV panels for watertight PV roofs (X-Roof), Exasun also makes panels that can be integrated with roof tiles (X-Tile). A patented colour technology ensures optimal, seamless integration of both systems with new and existing roofs.

About Wienerberger Group

The Wienerberger Group is a leading international provider of smart solutions for the entire building envelope and infrastructure. Wienerberger is the world’s largest producer of bricks (Porotherm, Terca). It is the market leader in clay roof tiles (Koramic, Tondach) in Europe and concrete pavers (Semmelrock) in Eastern Europe. The company is also one of the continent’s leading suppliers of pipe systems (Steinzeug-Keramo ceramic pipes and Pipelife plastic pipes). With 197 production sites, the Wienerberger Group generated revenues of €3.4 billion in 2020.


ENERGIIQ is the energy innovation fund of the Province of South Holland and is administered by InnovationQuarter. The Province of South Holland has earmarked €35 million for ENERGIIQ, which invests in businesses that are ready to commercialise a proven energy innovation. Innovations should lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions and/or the creation of jobs in West Holland.

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Jesse In ‘t Velt

Senior Investment Manager ENERGIIQ
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Kitepower Falcon 100kW AWES harvesting electricity in Melissant

Energy innovation fund ENERGIIQ, Stichting ifund and Windhandel Beheer are investing €1 million each in Kitepower. The Delft-based start-up will use the funds to commercialise its innovative airborne wind energy system (AWES) and further expand its organisation. Kitepower’s mobile energy systems can be deployed in remote rural locations where harsh environmental conditions make it impossible to install conventional renewable energy systems. The investment was announced on 16 June at Kitepower’s premises in Delft.

Mobile, plug & play alternative for microgrids
Kitepower, co-founded in 2016 by CEO Johannes Peschel and TU Delft associate professor Roland Schmehl, is a spin-off from the TU Delft’s kite power research group. The company has developed its 100kW AWES with a ‘Fast Track to Innovation’ grant from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 framework programme, guided by a mentoring partnership with tech incubator YES!Delft and with support from angel investor and wind energy expert Henk Hutting.

The system pulls on the tether that connects it to the ground station, while the latter converts the mechanical energy of the kite into electrical energy that powers grids. This, in a nutshell, explains the working principle behind Kitepower’s technology. The solution aims to represent a viable way towards decarbonisation for microgrids by saving costs and mitigating dependency on polluting, expensive diesel supplies.

Johannes Peschel, CEO of Kitepower, is enthusiastic about the future and says: “This investment will significantly boost our ability to refine and develop our system and organisation. Our technology presents an opportunity to disrupt the global renewable energy market by ease of operation and increased capacity. We look forward to a successful collaboration with many learning opportunities.”

Greater efficiency than conventional methods
Airborne wind energy is an innovative renewable energy technology which is perfectly suited to remote locations, not least islands and isolated villages. The Kitepower Falcon 100kW AWES, extensively tested at Unmanned Valley Valkenburg and now operating at the new Kitepower test location in Melissant, offers a mobile wind energy solution that is easy to transport and install with a minimal footprint (m²). Using up to 90% fewer materials than conventional wind turbines with equivalent power output, Kitepower’s system can produce electricity on average 75% of the time that it operates, resulting in a higher capacity factor than solar photovoltaic or wind turbine systems.

Utilises higher altitude winds
Although the renewable energy market is growing, it is currently limited to fairly large and complex operations which have specific requirements, such as daylight, space allocation and expensive set-up costs. The Kitepower system faces none of these restrictions. From its relatively small operating site, it utilises winds at higher altitudes that are stronger and more constant, resulting in cost-effective energy generation. Moreover, a Kitepower system does not require foundations: the ground station can be easily installed with anchors, taking less than a day to become fully operative.

Stefan van Eijk, fund manager at Stichting ifund, says: “We believe Kitepower will be a catalyst for airborne wind energy, thereby enabling renewable energy for a completely new segment. We are excited about the years ahead and will support Kitepower in the further commercialisation of the technology throughout.”

A spokesperson from Windhandel Beheer says: “Henk Hutting, founder of Windhandel Beheer, has been described as ‘Kitepower’s biggest fan’. Due to his impressive career in the renewable energy sector, he has been an important investor and advisor for the company in recent years. Even though he passed away only a few months ago, Henk’s legacy lives on in many ways and we are proud to count Kitepower as part of it.”

Significant reduction in CO2 emissions
The investment will enable Kitepower to accelerate the development and market introduction of its technology, which has the potential to significantly reduce CO2 emissions across diesel-dependant industries. It will also create job opportunities in Delft and the surrounding region. Apart from financial support, the investors can provide access to a broad network of experts and contacts to propel the commercialisation rollout.

Rafael Koene, ENERGIIQ fund manager at InnovationQuarter, adds: “We are investing in Kitepower because it has developed an interesting technology that can have a significant impact on CO2 reduction in remote areas and locations requiring temporary power by offering a fossil-free alternative to polluting diesel generators. ENERGIIQ has every confidence in Kitepower’s management team and looks forward to driving this proposition forward.”

About Kitepower
Kitepower, a leading start-up in airborne wind energy systems (AWES), develops innovative and cost-effective alternatives to existing wind turbines. The company’s patented technology is a game-changer in the wind energy sector. Founded in 2016, Kitepower is a registered trademark of Enevate BV.

ENERGIIQ is the energy innovation fund of the Province of South Holland and is administered by InnovationQuarter. The Province of South Holland has earmarked €35 million for ENERGIIQ, which invests in businesses that are ready to commercialise a proven energy innovation. Innovations should lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions and/or the creation of jobs in the Province of South Holland.

About Stichting ifund
Stichting ifund aims to sustain the long-term quality of life for all mankind by stimulating the transition to a sustainable society in which renewable energy is generated locally and people have access to organic food and clean water. ifund invests in impact-first start-ups with an investment typically ranging between €200k and €1m.

About InnovationQuarter
InnovationQuarter is the regional development agency for West Holland. It invests in innovative, fast-growing local enterprises and helps transnational companies become established in this unique delta region. InnovationQuarter also facilitates national and international collaboration between forward-thinking entrepreneurs, knowledge institutes and governments. By collaborating with the business community, the agency is helping to make West Holland one of the most innovative regions in Europe.

As a lifecycle financier, InnovationQuarter finances companies in different cycles of their business growth and draws its investments from four funds: IQCapital, UNIIQ, ENERGIIQ and the Rotterdam Energy Transition Fund.