Tagesspiegel Interview with Olav Birlem

Tagesspiegel Interview with Olav Birlem

"The generation of Nano-wiring structures is actually a well-known technology," says Olav Birlem. Research was already being carried out worldwide 20 years ago. However, the technology could only be applied to an area the size of a postage stamp. "However, we managed to make the hairs grow to 300 by 300 millimetres within half an hour, which made the bond stronger. That's how Nano Wiring became industrially viable in the first place." In the meantime, the bond has become so strong that one can hang a house on it could. 
 Olav Birlem, Managing Director of the Sart-based company NanoWired

Olav Birlem is CEO of the Start-ups NanoWired GmbHwhich specialises in nano wiring. This is a Velcro typewhich connects metallic components with each other. In the meantime, the company has 25 employees and has received numerous awards, among others the German Innovation Award and the Hermes Award. 

Smart technology benefits the environment

Birlem explains how the technique works as follows: Imagine a Sponge with electrolytes before. This sponge has a special, porous structure on the underside, i.e. many holes. You press this sponge onto a substrate with a stamp, press it firmly and let electricity flow through it. This creates a galvanic processthat allows metal to be deposited. Because the metal had nowhere else to go but into the pores that were pressed onto it, the metal grew into the pores. After the sponge is removed, hairs remain - the Velcro. 

Electrical components no longer connect to each other by soldering, wiring or welding, but by bonding. This not only holds better, but also protects the environment. "We reduce energy consumption with our technology, but increase efficiency at the same time," says Olav Birlem. "It no longer needs welding and soldering lines. The dramatically reduces CO2 emissions."

Role model: Gyro Gearloose

Even as a child, Birlem dreamed of inventing things. But not just anything, but gadgets that improve things in the long term. His role model: the Cartoon character Daniel Gearloose from the funny paperbacks. That's how he came to electrical engineering. First at university, later as a consultant for companies. Until he returned to his original vision a few years ago - inventing. 

This company was born out of a research group at the TU Darmstadt. Together with other colleagues, Birlem spent two years researching. In 2017, a company emerged from the results. "If you want to change the world, you also have to change the world. assume economic responsibility", says Birlem. 

The start-up capital for the project came primarily from subsidies from the state and federal governments, but also from the EU. The search for funding injections from big industry would have been very timid. "It would help if industry were more motivated to do this, Funds for the development of extremely disruptive technologiesto provide," says Birlem. "Especially under Corona, a lot of things were slowed down in the area of development." Vera Deleja-Hotko

Three questions for Olav Birlem: 

1) What innovation would you like to see?

The CO2-free production. 

2) Who from the digital scene impressed you?

Bill Gates

3) As digital minister, I would...  ...link managers with university teams much more intensively so that German, university-based innovations can gain a better foothold in the market.