Startup develops eco-friendly snowmaking and gains 2-million funding

23 Jan 2017

There’s a new, more eco-friendly alternative to traditional snow making.

With climate getting warmer and less snow on the slopes, it is increasingly common to cover ski trail with man made material, but it comes at a cost.

Traditional snow guns need a lot of energy to run their large air-compressing pumps. They also need a pump system to provide the water to the snow makers. What’s even worse, these pumps are often run by diesel engines, which expel a high level of air pollution.

Italian, Trento-based startup NeveXn has developed an innovative system, which responds to the ever more frequent demand for artificial snow under unconventional climatic conditions, while guaranteeing excellent snow even at low altitudes, and keeping water and power consumption low. The patented NeveXN snow gun is capable of producing high quality snow at above-zero temperatures using thermal energy, which can come from renewable sources such as solar panels and biomass boilers. Completely automated, thanks to its centralized remote control system, it can be easily integrated into current snow making systems.This invention, which does not contain any chemical additive, can be used for either indoor or outdoor snowmaking, as well as in the food, healthcare and construction industries (e.g. ice slurry and water purification systems).

The first test of the technology was performed in April 2014, when the prototype machine of NeveXN succeeded in producing snow at a temperature of 15°C (traditional technologies can produce snow only from -3 °C), with a humidity rate of 90%.Two years later, the machine is almost ready for market commercialization, thanks also to funding provided by Leitner, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of ropeway systems.Through its fully controlled subsidiary Demaclenko (which handles the planning, development, production and sales of turnkey snowmaking systems) Leitner has bought shares in the startup and plans to invest €2 million across the next two years, to help the company grow.

The industrial development plan that NeveXN, Leitner and Demaclenko will be working on in the coming months, covers the industrialisation, manufacture and marketing of three different “sized” snow makers.

Since its founding, NeveXN has been established in Trentino Sviluppo’s “green” incubator, Progetto Manifattura. Now, moving into the production stage, it will have new and larger spaces in Trentino’s other major innovation hub, Polo Meccatronica.