Podcast Episode 9: The Challenges of Sustainable Innovation

Written by Rachael B. - June 28, 2016

In this month’s podcast episode, we meet Dennis Doerffel, founder and Chief Technology Officer of REAPsystems, which was born out of Dennis’ passion for sustainable transport, and is dedicated to creating a more sustainable world.

Dennis talks about his entrepreneurial journey, which started when, as an engineer officer in the Federal German Army, he spent his spare time experimenting with electric vehicles and batteries, going on to found a club for those who shared his interest. His research into electric vehicles and how they could be made better led to the creation of REAPsystems, which provided the previously ‘missing piece’ – battery management systems for large lithium-ion batteries for vehicles on land and water.

Talking to Tom Greenwood, Dennis shares his frustration at the disconnect between climate science and business, discusses the challenges of sustainable innovation, entrepreneurship and the impact of tax structures on business. He also talks about how to attract people to ventures that are less lucrative but have a longer term positive impact in the world.

This year, after having supported several projects as a supplier, REAPsystems has launched its own groundbreaking project, with the aim of introducing clean technology to the marine market.

Supporting a more sustainable future

Project Venice is another step towards a more sustainable future, with the introduction of a clean hybrid engine that can be dropped into existing boats. Starting in Venice, which experiences high levels of pollution due to the presence of more than 20,000 boats, the project aims to reduce noise, air pollution and vibration damage within the city. It will also reduce maintenance costs and half fuel consumption. As the marine industry will not invest in this new technology until it is proven, REAPsystems aims to demonstrate the new hybrid engine in a Venice water taxi this summer. REAPsystems is investing a large sum of its own money, and has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indigogo to help prove that the technology is viable and reliable, so that Dennis and his team can go on to roll out this technology globally and kickstart the transition to more sustainable boat transportation.

We are backing this project towards a more sustainable future for us all, and encourage you to do the same. As well as supporting a great project, REAPsystems are also offering some fantastic rewards for those who back the project. Head over to the Indiegogo page to find out more and show your support.

You can listen to the interview using the player below, or find and follow our Wholesome Business podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.


  • Dennis DoerffelLearn more about Dennis’ journey
  • REAPsystems Specialists in battery management systems for large lithium-ion batteries for vehicles on land and water and passionate about the pursuit of a more sustainable world.
  • Project VeniceREAP systems groundbreaking project to clean up our marine environment, starting in Venice.