Our vision

we are making companies and entire regions energy and fertilizer autarkic. at the same time, we are slowing climate change through CO2 removal and can even reverse it.

our attitude

We are a group of people who accompany each other to make a change. We do things differently and love the challenge. Because for us, this is not a job, for us it is a vocation. We want to generate an impact and have fun doing it. We don't separate work & life, but professional & private. We rely on each other and build our company on all our shoulders. At the same time we respect the private life of others and their limits. Because for us the whole person counts, not just his resume and title. Our motivation drives us. We have all made mistakes along the way, learned and gained a lot of experience. This makes us professionals, in our aspirations and our skills. Combined, these heterogeneous superpowers give us the strength for change.

our team

portrait michel konder

Michael Konder has over 20 years of management experience in the energy and digital sector. Important milestones were the founding of the European gas platform Prisma, Vice President for the digital business and global scaling at sonnen and the founding of Kohlekumpels. Michel's strengths are vision and solving complex problems quickly. At autarkize , he is responsible for technology, innovation and strategy.

Portrait from Sophie Peter

Sophie Peter has over 10 years of management experience in mechanical engineering, renewable energies and high-tech, including at TDK as an internationally active Product Manager and at sonnen as Process Manager. Most recently, she founded Kohlekumpels, a start-up in the biochar sector, with Michel Konder . Sophie's strengths are her ability to empathize, process-oriented thinking and design. At autarkize she is responsible for sales.

Portrait Gerd Trautwein

Gerd Trautwein has over 10 years of experience in mechanical and plant engineering, both in biomass gasification and in various production automation systems. His strength is an extremely broad, practical and theoretical understanding of mechanical engineering, materials science and practical implementation. He is the process engineering head and designer of the plants.

Portrait Peter Blumenwitz

Peter Bumenwitz has more than 30 years of experience in venture capital and private equity in roles as investor, (interim) CEO/CFO and has his strengths in company development and financing of complex plant engineering companies. He is responsible for Finance and Legal at autarkize  

Portrait Lukas Kelz

Lukas Kelz is a mechanical engineer and industrial mechanic with over 10 years' experience in the design, assembly, automation, operation and Service of complex machines and systems. At autarkize , Lukas is responsible for the operation of pre-series and pilot plants and has his eyes, ears, hands and mind everywhere.

Portrait Gerrit Begher

Gerrit Begher is an experienced software architect and developer with a focus on cloud topics and agile development processes. His strength lies in combining different perspectives into a coherent whole. In a previous life, he was a mathematician and co-founder of the start-up Enffi, an app in the field of energy efficiency. Now, at autarkize , he is responsible for developing the software strategy and integrating the data streams.

Portrait Ulf Zühlke

Ulf Zühlke is a communications expert with more than 10 years of experience in advertising and marketing. Notable focal points over several years were in the FMCG segment, apparel and most recently in live communication. He is a holistic and systemic thinker with a thoroughly creative soul. Some of his special strengths are brand development, strategy, copywriting and presentations. At autarkize he takes care of the customer journey and communication.  

Lara Engel Portrait

Lara Engel has over 10 years of experience in the start-up sector and is well versed in fast-growing structures. Lara is experienced in the strategic development and optimization of various business areas. She is passionate about meaningful and sustainable innovations that help us create a fairer world. At autarkize , she combines this passion with her strong communication skills in the role of Business Development Manager.

Portrait from Christian Grundner

Christian Grundner has over 25 years of experience in the field of energy recovery from biomass, from project development to the management of a large biomass cogeneration plant. He has in-depth specialist and industry knowledge, is a strong generalist and an advocate of bio-based recycling and energy management. As a project developer and project manager at autarkize , Christian is responsible for the successful implementation of plant technologies and their applications in practice.

Portrait from Pia Guggemos

Pia Guggemos is an organizational talent with more than 7 years of experience in personnel management and administrative development. Thanks to her practical and efficient approach, she has the best qualities to shape the transformation from a start-up to a company with a regulated day-to-day business. As a project and process manager, she creates the necessary infrastructure at autarkize to keep the team free and our company in flow.

our history

Our founder Michel has always been committed to the expansion of renewable energies (e.g. at Stadtwerke München or the battery and electromobility pioneer sonnen ). Although he was already at the forefront of renewable energies at sonnen, it became increasingly clear to him after the birth of his first son that climate-neutral electricity alone is not enough to stop or even reverse climate change. In addition to the absolutely necessary avoidance of greenhouse gases, we also need large-scale solutions to removeCO2 from the atmosphere. This is how he came up with biochar and founded Kohlekumpels in 2021 together with Sophie, whose implementation strength he had already learned to appreciate through their joint collaboration at sonnen, and 4 other comrades-in-arms. The aim of Kohlekumpels was to make the use of biochar economically and ecologically worthwhile for agriculture. To this end, food grown on soil mixed with biochar was given a price premium and a climate-positive label, thus financing the use of biochar. However, this price increase requires a change in society, which was difficult to implement in times of corona and the Ukraine crisis and the resulting inflation - at the same time, it became increasingly clear that it is essential for a greater spread of biochar that the costs for the use of biochar fall. To achieve this, the world needs significantly more pyrolysis plants and, above all, pyrolysis plants that can work with the cheapest possible and otherwise poorly utilized biomass. And it was precisely at this point that an inventor turned to the coal miners with his knowledge and experience from over 25 years of building and developing pyrolysis plants (he calls them "multi-fuel gasifiers"). "At the age of 85, he felt it was time to pass this knowledge on to a younger generation." After intensive examination of the technology and the pilot plant to date, it was clear to us: this technology has the potential to become another game changer in the field of CDR (carbon dioxide removal)! And so the decision was made very quickly: this technology must be made ready for series production and scaled up, because this is how we can really make a difference - that was the birth of autarkize!

let's autarkize together