Erasmus Energy Business Award winners Geospin and Blue Motion Energy with Wolf Ketter (L) and Volker Beckers (R)
Erasmus Energy Business Award winners Geospin and Blue Motion Energy with Wolf Ketter (L) and Volker Beckers (R)

Not one but two innovative businesses have been chosen to receive the 2016 Erasmus Energy Business Award, for the best and most innovative sustainable business idea. Usually only one award is given. Judges considered two of the three shortlisted concepts equally excellent; both met their strict criteria and both deserved to win, they said. The awards, sponsored by energy grid operator Stedin, were presented at the fifth annual Erasmus Energy Forum in Rotterdam on Wednesday, 18 May 2016, hosted by Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM).

The two winners were:

  • Geospin Smart Cities and Industries SCI Research Group’s big data analytics for optimising the prediction of mobility and energy demands
  • Blue Motion Energy BV’s turbines that improve on the efficiency of power-generating marine current turbines by up to 70 per cent.

The two winners were presented with Erasmus Energy Business Awards by Rick Heerink, innovation and change manager for Stedin and a member of the judging panel for the Award.

Volker Beckers, chairman of the advisory board for the Erasmus Centre for Future Energy Business, (ECFEB) a specialist research centre at RSM, said the judging process had been especially difficult. “Both companies’ submissions ticked all the boxes; it was impossible to decide between them. By having two winners this year, we are highlighting equally important innovations in the digital world and in new energy technology,” said Beckers.


Geospin is a data-science start-up that supports companies in understanding the spatial components of their data and processes, based at the University of Freiburg in Germany. It develops and validates geo-analytic methods for smart city issues such as mobility, energy and crime. Geospin’s research uses analyses of big data to reveal the geographical and temporal information behind data from mobile phones, connected devices and other sources. This data can be used to improve contact with customers, optimise services according to demand cycles and decrease environmental impact and costs – for all kinds of operations and activities. The company’s algorithms have been developed over more than four years, and the information they produce can be extrapolated to other urban areas. It holds potential for large savings for city administrations and councils, for example.

“It has high relevance being in the urban energy market,” said the Erasmus Energy Business Award judges. “And it is very much driven by solutions. It can strengthen energy information networks”.

Blue Motion Energy

Start-up Blue Motion Energy, based in Papendrecht in the Netherlands, has developed a new rotor technology to efficiently generate sustainable energy from ocean currents and wind together, in a tough marine environment which presents engineering challenges for energy producers. The Blue Motion Energy turbine has radially placed dams in a funnel shape that sit partially above the surface of the sea to harvest power from both current and wind.

The Erasmus Energy Business Award judges said Blue Motion Energy’s business model and technology challenges the future energy market. “To build a sustainable energy future, we will have to start relying a lot more on classical elements such as water and wind. Blue Motion Energy is focusing on long-term sustainable solutions with use of these elements,” said the jury.

Shortlist of three

The two award winners were among three concepts that made it to the shortlist for the Erasmus Energy Business Award, and were judged on their innovation, sustainability, viability and impact. In addition to winners Blue Motion Energy and Geospin, the runner-up was Norsepower, a company based in Helsinki, Finland. Its spinning cylinder uses the Magnus effect (in which a spinning object curves away from its principle flight path) to harness wind power to propel a ship. When the wind conditions are favourable, Norsepower’s rotor sails allow the main engines to be throttled back, saving fuel and reducing emissions while providing the power needed to maintain speed and voyage time. “Norsepower’s business model can be commercially very attractive. Also, they have well-engineered a system with high environmental impact,” said the judges.

More information

Erasmus Energy Forum

Since its inception in 2012, the annual Erasmus Energy Forum event, organised and hosted by the Erasmus Centre for Future Energy Business, has brought together representatives from a wide range of industries, academia and politics, in front of large influential audiences.

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Erika Harriford-McLaren, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

For more information about the Erasmus Energy Forum and the Erasmus Energy Award winners, please contact Birgit Ros, ECFEB communications & marketing officer on +31 10 4081250 or

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