Clean Energy
for all

Together, we are leading the way forward.

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ABOUT PPF
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.
OUR TEAM
We are a passionate team of industry experts who work directly with innovators, researchers, communities and governments around the world.
Andrew Horvath
Chairman
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
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 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
Head of Strategic Development
Amy is our Head of Strategic Development, having relocated from Star Scientific Limited, Australia, to Switzerland for the incorporation of PPF. She is working with Franziska to establish the foundations of PPF, which includes conducting research on the current market and identifying clean energy technologies that have the potential for commercialization.

Over the last seven years, Amy’s experience in working with retail clients in the financial services industry has provided her with a deep understanding of how a solid financial foundation can benefit individuals and further the economy. Her passion for this field has led her to strive for equality, resilience, and liberty within our communities. 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, which will in turn give rise to more jobs within a circular economy, driven by hydrogen.

Amy has a Diploma of Business, a Diploma of Financial Planning, and is a Level 1 CFA candidate. 

Axel Blindow
Director
Axel joined Andrew and Franziska as a director of PPF when it was incorporated at the end of 2019. Axel has been part of the Star Scientific Group since 2011, serving as a director and member of the board of Star Scientific Limited. He is also CEO at Star's European subsidiary, Star Scientific Europe GmbH, in Switzerland.

Axel holds a Civil Engineering degree from the ETH, Zurich, and a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of St. Gallen, HSG, also in Switzerland.

His background in Engineering and Economics led him to co-found and manage a group of companies operating in different industry and service sectors, including construction, IT and management consulting firms. He phased out of the group between 2006 to 2010 in order to focus on startups and impact investing in the field of renewable energies – particularly hydrogen technologies, and the impact of decarbonizing current fossil fuel-based power generation.

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.

www.perspectives.cc

BART SIMMONS
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.

www.quillicumenvironmental.com

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.

www.createmeaning.com

our parent company

STAR SCIENTIFIC
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.

www.starscientific.com.au