Clean Energy
for all

Together, we are leading the way forward.

PPF is short for “Planet Power Finance” and our name is our mission. We believe that green hydrogen is the best energy source for our planet’s future, which is why we finance solutions that advance the worldwide development of the green hydrogen economy.
We are a passionate team of industry experts who work directly with innovators, researchers, communities and governments around the world.
Andrew Horvath
Andrew leads the global visionary team as GGC of the Star Scientific Group, and founded Planet Power Finance AG at the end of 2019. His passion for hydrogen came early in life, as the son of nuclear physicist, inventor and founder, Stephen Horvath. Growing up, Andrew would spend his weekends in the lab with his father, experimenting with hydrogen. His determination to push beyond the impossible harvested the breakthrough technology HERO®, currently in development for commercialization and earmarked to be the demand-side hydrogen activator with the potential to evolve an array of sectors.

The idea to include an independent finance division in the group came a few years prior to its inception. Andrew has always believed that the clean energy transition is an inevitable one, and lives by his father's motto, “We don’t use brute force against nature”. He recognized the extensive funding needed for clean hydrogen technologies in order to realize his goal of moving towards a sustainable, zero-emission economy, and that it required backing from private and public sectors in order to be commercially viable. Thus, PPF was born, to accelerate the entire value chain of the hydrogen economy.

Dr. Franziska Blindow-Prettl
Co-Founder & CEO
Franziska is the CEO of PPF. She has spent over 25 years working in private equity, hedge funds and financial engineering. 

Prior to PPF, she was a Partner at LGT Capital Partners and Head of LGT Family Office. LGT Group is a USD 250bn family-held asset and wealth management firm, owned by the Princely Family of Liechtenstein. Before LGT, Franziska was with EIM – one of the world’s first hedge funds, founded by industry pioneer Arpad Busson. At EIM, she was the Global Head of New Product Development.

Franziska’s career started with her family’s international automotive supplier business. Founded by her father in 1953, today it is among the largest automotive suppliers in Germany, with over 10,000 employees. She has also been active in the family’s impact investing projects and is the founder of PRETTL Impact Investing, currently advising several portfolio companies. 

Franziska holds a PhD from the University of St. Gallen (Dr. oec. HSG), with a dissertation on the valuation of high-tech startups, and an MBA in finance and accounting from the same institution.

Dr. Thorsten schulz
Managing Partner, Chief Investment Officer
Thorsten is PPF’s Chief Investment Officer. He is an investment specialist for renewable energy and energy infrastructure with an extensive track record structuring and executing direct investments.

Thorsten is an advocate for green energy systems having dedicated his whole professional career to the advancement of solar PV, hydropower, wind power and energy efficiency. He is furthermore driven by the responsibility to deploy renewable energy sources to mitigate climate change, one of the biggest challenges humanity faces.
Early on in his PhD studies he designed an energy- economic model to describe the clean energy transition until the year 2050 looking at the evolution of the entire value chain beyond fossil fuels. One aspect of the analysis had been hydrogen production and potential applications. For Thorsten it is the next logical step to make a contribution to a fully integrated hydrogen economy as part of PPF’s vision.

Thorsten holds a Doctorate of Science from ETH in Zurich, Switzerland, a MSc in Environmental Protection Technology from the University of Stuttgart, Germany and an MBA from the University of St Gallen, Switzerland. He is fluent in English, German and Spanish.
Amy Halliday
Principal, Head of Communications & Strategic Development
Amy is PPF’s Head of Strategic Development, having relocated from Star Scientific Limited to Switzerland for the incorporation of PPF. Amy manages the communications and social medias at PPF, and she assists the team in conducting research on the current market and identifying proven clean energy technologies that have the potential for commercialization.

Amy has seven years’ experience in working with retail clients in the financial services industry that has provided her with a deep understanding of how smart financial solutions can benefit individuals and entrepreneurs to further the economy. By joining the fight to transition to clean energy, her focus will be on ensuring people’s access to essential resources: clean water, affordable power, heating and cooling, and knowledge transfer, which will in turn give rise to more jobs within circular economies, driven by hydrogen.

Amy holds a Diploma of Business, a Diploma in Financial Planning, and is an MBA, Energy Management candidate at SSBM.

Axel Blindow
Managing Partner, Chief Risk Officer
Axel is the Chief Risk Officer at PPF. He is a member of the board of directors at PPF's parent company Star Scientific Limited, Australia, and CEO of Star’s European subsidiary, Star Scientific Europe GmbH, located in Switzerland.

As a serial entrepreneur coupled with a background in Engineering and Economics, Axel has co-founded and managed a group of companies operating in different industry and service sectors, including construction, IT, and management consulting. He phased out of the group between 2006 to 2010 to focus on start-ups and impact investing in the field of renewable energies, hydrogen technologies and phasing out of fossil fuels.

Axel holds a Civil Engineering degree from the ETH in Zürich, Switzerland and a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of St. Gallen (HSG), Switzerland. He is fluent in German and English.

Richard L.A. MAROHN
Principal, Head of Investment Operations
Richard is PPF’s Head of Investment Operations. He is a project and investment management specialist with close to 20 years in renewable energy, real estate, mineral processing, infrastructure and IT.   

Growing up in a family dedicated to construction and real estate management, Richard dedicated almost his entire professional life to project management and is passionate about getting things planned and done.  

Prior to PPF, Richard was Senior Project and Development Manager at RP Global in charge of renewable energy and resource efficient real estate investments in Peru. 

Richard is passionate about sustainable development and several investments under his management have been awarded with the IFC EDGE certification for their efficient use of resources.  

Richard holds a M.A. in Accounting and Finance as well as a B.A. in Administration from the University of St. Gallen and a B.Sc. in Building Process Management from the University of Applied Science Northwestern Switzerland. Moreover he is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), passed the CFA Level 1 Exam and attended courses in Mineral Processing at McGill University and International Management at Monash University. He is fluent in English, German and Spanish.

Sonja Butzengeiger-Geyer
PPF’s Partner for Climate Finance and Carbon Markets
Having worked on international climate policies since 1999, Sonja Butzengeiger is an expert on Climate Finance and International Carbon Markets. She started her career as a research fellow at the Hamburg Institute for International Economics and co-founded the internationally recognised climate policy consultancy Perspectives Climate Group in 2003. From 2006 to 2007, she worked for the German Environment Ministry, and participated in numerous UNFCCC negotiations over the last 20 years.

Sonja is passionate about supporting the break-through of innovative energy technologies through existing and upcoming carbon market instruments, and supports PPF with her climate finance expertise.

Sonja holds a Diploma in Environmental Protection from University of Applied Sciences in Bingen, and a Master’s Degree in Environmental Sciences of University Koblenz. She is fluent in English and German.

PPF’s Partner for Carbon Trading
Trained as a Nuclear Engineer (B Ap Sc & M Eng.), Bart was a member of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL’s) reactor design team for Pickering Nuclear Reactors which were built to provide power to Toronto. Bart focused on Xenon-135 fluxes during start up and shut down and he successfully predicted at what start-up power level, the absorption of thermal neutrons by Xe-135 would start to effect reactor performance, and therefore when to initiate reactor control strategies.  This critical information has allowed the Pickering reactors to still be safely providing power to the grid after 45+ years of operation, which is in stark contrast to Chernobyl where the engineers there missed the significance of the Xe-135 effect with the catastrophic result we are all aware of.  After leaving AECL he moved to the West Coast of Canada and went into the field of environmental engineering, starting two successful companies in the space.  

Now with over 17 years’ experience using carbon financing, Bart has successfully structured multiple projects in regenerative agriculture, nested jurisdictional REDD+, and in riparian and primary forest restoration.  In 2014/15 he recognized emission reduction offset possibilities of fuel switching from fossil fuels to emerging renewable energy technologies such as HERO® with green hydrogen.

Bart is skilled at managing diverse stakeholders including methodology and technical developers, validation/verification bodies, indigenous community members, as well as investor and Board of Directors relations.  Currently, Bart consults on a variety of international projects across the energy and land use sectors to develop and sell CO2 verified emission reduction offsets into the growing voluntary Net Zero carbon market, as well as into the emerging global compliance (Paris Agreement Article 6) markets.

Steffen Stäuber
PPF’s Creative Partner
Steffen Stäuber is the founder and CEO of Create Meaning, an independent consulting studio focused on supporting entrepreneurs to scale their meaningful impact in the world. 

Steffen began his creative career at the advertising agency BBDO in 2005. His work has taken him from Germany, to China, to the UK, working with major brands like Mercedes Benz, BMW, MTV, and NIVEA, as well as with startups all over the globe.

In 2012, the renowned German newspaper WELT selected him as one of the country’s top “30 under 30” changemakers.

In 2015, after more than a decade in the creative and consulting industries, Steffen founded Create Meaning, in order to focus his work fully on empowering the innovators, leaders and entrepreneurs that are building solutions to create a positive future for our planet.

our parent company

For almost two decades, Star Scientific has been researching and developing solutions for a transition to energy that does not rely on fossil fuels.

One of Star Scientific’s most interesting breakthrough technologies is the Hydrogen Energy Release Optimiser (HERO®). HERO® can reach temperatures greater than 700 degrees Celsius in minutes, producing steam that can reliably power turbines. Behind this powerful heat source is the interaction of hydrogen and oxygen gas, along with a secret catalyst, applied to a surface. 

This true-catalytic reaction starts working at room temperature and requires no preheating or external heat sources, making it a limitless, efficient, affordable, clean, and reliable source of power.

PPF is able to collaborate with the team in the Star Scientific lab for additional, leading-edge hydrogen expertise.