FAU Innovator 2021 in the category Alumni

Your vote counts!

Last year, for the first time, the University shone a spotlight at the Dies academicus on trailblazers and pioneers, people at FAU who drive the world forward and shape the future with their ideas and inventions: the FAU innovators.

These three start-ups had the opportunity to be named FAU Innovator 2021 in the Alumni category during an online vote. Grino Water Solutions are the winners – congratulations!


FAU Pitch - Duschbrocken

more information on the start-up

Grino Water Solutions

FAU Pitch - Grino Water Solutions

more information on the start-up


FAU Pitch - OnlineTasting

more information on the start-up

More about the start-ups



FAUpitch - Duschbrocken
Image: Duschbrocken

Duschbrocken is a solid shower gel and shampoo bar in one. Its ingredients have been carefully chosen to make it suitable for cleansing skin, hair and face. It is the perfect alternative to shampoo and shower gel in plastic bottles: it lathers well, smells good and doesn’t leave any plastic waste. Duschbrocken is also ideal for travelling or sport, as it can’t leak, doesn’t take up much room and can even go in your hand luggage.

About the idea

Johannes Lutz and Christoph Lung, founders of Duschbrocken
Johannes Lutz and Christoph Lung, founders of Duschbrocken Image: Duschbrocken

The motivation behind Duschbrocken was very personal. We wanted to find a good solution for showering whilst travelling, which wasn’t packed in plastic, wouldn’t leak and could be taken in hand luggage. It makes us extremely proud and grateful that today Duschbrocken is not only the perfect travel companion, but also a firm favourite of more than 130,000 people for showering at home. Our vision is to do away with shampoo and shower gel in plastic bottles. So far, we have already saved far in excess of 1.5 million plastic bottles. Making a splash with the Duschbrocken is what motivates us to give our best in the foam factory, day after day.

Plastic waste is a global problem. We believe that Duschbrocken can help make liquids superfluous and become a widespread alternative to shampoo and shower gel in plastic bottles. For us, a sustainable product is one that is used over the long-term, not just tried out one time. Unfortunately, this is where a lot of sustainable solutions fail, as the compromise is too great for people to stay with them in the long term. That is why the all round experience with the Duschbrocken is so important to us: foam, scent, a pleasant experience and the good feeling of having done something for the environment thanks to its sustainable components.

It would mean a lot to us if we could raise awareness for the issue by being awarded the FAU Innovator award 2021.

Grino Water Solutions

Grino Water Solutions

Team from Grino Water Solutions (left to right: Julian Göbel, Sebastian Hörlin, Josef Schütz, Farzaneh Ahmadloo, Alireza Derakhshan)
left to right: Julian Göbel, Sebastian Hörlin, Josef Schütz, Farzaneh Ahmadloo, Alireza Derakhshan
Image: Grino Water Solutions GmbH

Grino’s solar-based water-treatment systems designed over many years of research and development provide communities and companies in the global south sustainable access to water.

About the idea

The idea was coined by founder and managing director Alireza Derakhshan, who comes from Iran, as does one of the other founders Farzaneh Ahmadloo. Alireza was spurned into action after visiting southern Iran, where he met people who were suffering from a drastic lack of water.

Grino’s solar-based water treatment system provides sustainable access to drinking water and clean water for other purposes in the Global South. The pilot plant in Ghana has been transforming contaminated saltwater into clean drinking water for more than 600 school children and the local community since October 2020. Instead of requiring investments in centralised water plants, local, decentralised access to water reduces dependency on a central system and the risk of water shortages due to pipe leakages. Thanks to its unique design, the fully automated treatment process operates dynamically, without the need for batteries, in order to produce more water at a lower cost than comparable solutions. Off-grid communities like island communities can benefit from the systems just as much as hotels, agriculture and industry. Together with NGOs/NPOs and other partners, Grino offers reliable and reasonably priced access to water in regions with little purchasing power.

Currently, 1.42 billion people, including 450 million children, live in areas where access to an adequate supply of water is at risk. Grino’s solar-based water-treatment systems designed over many years of research and development provide communities and companies in the Global South sustainable access to water. Grino is one example of how technical innovations can find their way out of the science lab into successful real-world applications. In 2021, Grino intends to continue expanding, and aims to provide clean water not only in Ghana but also in other countries and continents.

Installing the pilot system in Cape Coast, Ghana in October 2020
Installing the pilot system in Cape Coast, Ghana in October 2020 Image: Grino Water Solutions GmbH

Grino should become the FAU Innovator 2021, as it is not only innovative but also creates economically viable added value for society and the environment by combating global water scarcity.



Wine bottles.
Image: OnlineTasting

We base our starter tasting around four different Franconian wines or types of vines and tell you all you need to know for the next time you invite some friends round for wine, from the basics to the expert knowledge that marks a true connoisseur.

About the idea

We started to organise small-scale wine tastings for friends and family in 2016. Everyone had a great time, experts and novices alike, as we made a point not only of offering interesting facts and information, but also of making the wine tastings fun, adding plenty of humour along the way. Demand grew, and the idea of turning the whole concept into an actual business was born.

The business has really taken off in recent months, especially in the area of company events, where we were lucky enough to be able to organise a number of events for several well-known companies and universities. As a next step, we plan to expand our platform and integrate external providers as well, until we can become the first port of call for virtual wine tastings.

Human contact is suffering during these difficult times. With our online wine tastings, we can bring people together again and combat loneliness. The great feedback we have received from participants and the gratitude they have shown us is what motivates us to continue with our project. The great thing about online tastings is that they open up a whole wealth of new possibilities. Online wine tastings are open to anyone, whether you are on your own, with your partner, with friends, family or acquaintances. This allows us to offer interesting alternatives for entertainment in the long term, whilst encouraging social connections at the same time.

The founders of OnlineTasting
The founders of OnlineTasting: left to right: Nico Ruhara, Andreas Pabst, Felix Rosenthal, Timon Sengewald Image: Steven Reddiconto/OnlineTasting

We believe that our concept will make tastings more attractive to a younger target group, and encourage more people to take an interest in food and drink, and the production process as a whole, as well as raising awareness of the value of quality when it comes to good food and drink.

An introduction to FAU consulting services for start-ups

Existency LogoScientific research often leads, directly or indirectly, to great ideas with the potential to change the world: major innovations for society, as well as what may at first appear to be just a small idea which ends up having a great impact on the lives of certain individuals.

We from the FAU consulting services for start-ups support all members of the FAU family in making these ideas become reality. Our consulting services, workshops and advice are available free of charge to you no matter whether you are still at university, have started work or have just completed your doctoral degree.

All the information you need about starting a new business: www.fau.de/outreach/innovationen-und-gruendungen/gruenden/

However, we have gone one step further. Together with Technische Hochschule Nürnberg and Hochschule Ansbach, we have established ‘Existency’, which not only offers individual workshops and individual advice, but also long-term coaching and mentoring programmes for your whole team! Find out more: www.existency.de

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