phelas - 100 percent renewable energy through innovative liquid air energy storage

Team phelas

The phelas-team is developing Aurora, a standardized, modular, mass-manufactured and cheap large-scale electrical storage system that uses electricity during the charging process to cool air down to cryogenic temperatures and thus liquefy it. For discharging, the cryogenic liquid is heated and thus evaporated. The strong increase in volume and pressure is again used to generate electricity.

phelas Team (from left to right). Justin Scholz, Dr. Masoud Ghods, Leon Haupt, Florian Kaufmann, Christopher Knoch, Dr. Pit Sippel

With this approach, phelas aims to completely eliminate the need for fossil electricity production. The replacement of coal and gas plants necessitates large electricity storage capacities. Renewable energy sources provide energy only when the sun shines and the wind blows - which is not always. Consequently, energy storage is needed to enable the shift for energy production from renewable sources.

To achieve this ambitious goal, the phelas team works together on three main areas. Justin Scholz with over six years of start-up experience and Christopher Knoch with five years of professional experience as a management consultant work in the areas of business development, financing, recruiting and networking. Leon Haupt brings four years of professional experience in the energy sector and specialises in energy storage as a project manager. He is responsible for the technical-economic modelling as well as the development of business models for energy storage. Three other team members are driving the development, planning and implementation of the demonstrator and pilot plant: Dr. Pit Sippel has many years of experience in setting up and designing experiments, as well as extensive knowledge in the field of energy storage. Dr. Masoud Ghods, a renowned ex-NASA scientist, has in-depth knowledge in design, process modelling and the application of artificial intelligence in engineering. Florian Kaufmann contributes know-how in the field of cryogenic air separation and steady-state and dynamic process simulation.  As a team, phelas is characterized by a strong team spirit as well as the common vision: To have a 100 percent renewable electricity grid be a “no brainer”. The team identified storage as the missing puzzle piece – and is building exactly this piece.

With the financial help of public institutions, phelas has already been able to develop and construct a demonstrator in the laboratory of the Technical University Munich. Moreover, the team is preparing to protect their intellectual property as well as simulating use cases. They are on track for the next target: pre-seed funding, with which the prototype will be completed, and the technical concept finalized.

The product Aurora has a very long lifetime of projected 20+ years. As a newcomer, this is a period for which many customers will demand an assurance that the claims regarding endurance are valid. Together with Munich and ERGO, phelas plans to work on feasible insurance solutions for the technology.

Further information is available at:

Interviews with start-up founders

Christopher Knoch and Justin Scholz - phelas
Clean electricity at any time - thanks to innovative energy storage

With their start-up phelas, Christopher Knoch and Justin Scholz rely on liquid air and container modules to store renewable energy at low cost. An interview with the two founders.