Day: April 14, 2021

Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling and Manufacturing Startup Raises $20 Million From Global Industry Leaders

Read the press release.

Battery Resourcers, a vertically integrated lithium-ion battery recycling and manufacturing company, recently completed a $20 million Series B equity round with financing led by Orbia Ventures, the venture capital arm of the multinational Orbia, and participation from other investors including At One VenturesTDK VenturesTRUMPF VentureDoral Energy-Tech Ventures andJaguar Land Rover’s InMotion Ventures.

Analyzing a Product’s Waste Lifecycle Journey Before It Begins

Read the full story at Waste360.

Clean Earth, a division of Harsco Corporation (NYSE: HSC), recently announced the launch of Fullcircle, a new program that “strategically analyzes waste at each source of generation, then offers solutions for recycling and beneficial reuse alternatives.”

Fullcircle’s goals are to eliminate all waste, recycle as much as possible, and build scalable, innovative programs for customers focused on zero waste.

We wanted to learn more, so we sat down with President David Stanton. Read on for more details.

We need to get the next generation excited about green jobs

Read the full story from edie.

As we look towards a green economic recovery and the objective to build back better from the pandemic, there is a clear argument for aligning how we futureproof the country’s workforce with UK climate ambitions.

Siting Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) With Equity In Mind

Download the document.

To reduce pollution from road vehicles, states are setting policies to support transportation electrification (TE) and directing utilities to support electric vehicles with widespread charging infrastructure. States and utility commissions also recognize the need to ensure that historically underserved communities benefit from electrification. To make this happen, electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) must be sited in a way that promotes geographic, racial, and economic equity.

In this paper, we first analyze the extent to which states and utilities are including equity in their siting. We find that equitable utility investments are not spread evenly throughout the country and that states are incorporating equity differently, if at all. Second, we provide guidance for utilities wanting to ensure that the benefits of TE are shared widely. We offer recommendations— including investment carve-outs and meaningful community engagement—for states, utility commissions, and utilities to ensure the benefits of TE reach underserved communities.

Three ESG lessons from Covid-19 for the climate crisis

Read the full story at edie.

None of us coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic unchanged. The crisis has forced everybody to respond to new challenges and, largely, we have adapted well – parish council and cat filtered lawyer zoom calls notwithstanding.

Food waste action plan calls for organics diversion infrastructure, compost market expansion

Read the full story at Waste Dive.

An action plan to curb food loss and waste in the U.S. — pitched to Congress and the Biden administration this week by four organizations and supported by a host of cities, businesses and nonprofits — recommends funding infrastructure that keeps organic waste out of disposal sites by providing state- and city-level investments for measuring, rescuing and recycling it.

Led by the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), ReFED and World Wildlife Fund, the plan also stipulates that federal facilities take steps to prevent organic waste and purchase finished compost products. The organizers urge lawmakers to spur growth of compost markets among private sector buyers as well. 

The plan calls for allocating $650 million annually through at least 2030 to states and cities for organic waste recycling infrastructure and other food waste reduction strategies. It also calls for $50 million for those cities and states to pursue public-private partnerships; $50 million in grants for research and innovation in the space; $3 million annually through 2030 for consumer food waste reduction research and behavior change campaigns; and $2 million to add personnel to the Federal Interagency Food Loss and Waste Collaboration.

Twelve Climate Innovators Chosen as 2021 BNEF Pioneers

BloombergNEF (BNEF) has announced the twelve winners of the 2021 BNEF Pioneers – early-stage companies that are pursuing exciting and important low-carbon opportunities. The winners were selected as their innovations fill important gaps in optimizing long-haul freight, making sustainable materials, tracking greenhouse gases, valuing carbon sinks and reducing energy and chemical use.

Since the inception of the BNEF Pioneers program more than a decade ago, cheap, clean technologies such as renewable energy and electric vehicles have changed the world. Although these technologies will decarbonize large parts of the world economy, there are still significant challenges to address in achieving net-zero emissions and slowing climate change. The 2020s will arguably be an even more pivotal decade in the fight against climate change, and the Pioneers competition this year has recognized transformative technology solutions filling some remaining net-zero innovation gaps. In 2021, we solicited applications from companies, non-profits and projects that addressed three climate-tech innovation areas:

  • Managing and optimizing long-haul freight
  • Advancing materials and techniques for sustainable products
  • Monitoring and understanding our changing planet

The competition received over 250 applications from 36 different countries. A team of lead analysts at BNEF evaluated candidates against three criteria: the potential impact on greenhouse gas emissions and the planet; the degree of technology innovation and novelty; and the likelihood of adoption.

The 2021 BNEF Pioneers are:

Challenge 1: Managing and optimizing long-haul freight

  • Convoy (U.S.) provides a digital freight network and moves thousands of truckloads around the United States each day through its optimized connected network of carriers, saving money for shippers and eliminating carbon waste.
  • Nautilus Labs (U.S.) advances the efficiency of ocean commerce through artificial intelligence. It provides a predictive decision-support solution that drives sustainability and profitability in global maritime shipping.
  • Ontruck (Spain) is a digital transportation company that combines automation and machine learning to drive out waste in the logistics process. Ontruck offers an efficient and low-carbon solution to move freight, helping shippers to reduce transportation costs, increasing earnings for carriers, and removing carbon emissions generated from empty trucks.

Challenge 2: Advancing materials and techniques for sustainable products

  • Cemvita Factory (U.S.) engineers microbes that use carbon dioxide or methane as a feedstock for the production of carbon-negative industrial chemicals. These chemicals are used by oil and gas, chemical, mining and aerospace companies that seek to apply nature-inspired technologies for reducing their carbon footprint.
  • Pyrowave (Canada) electrifies chemical processes in the circular economy of plastics. Pyrowave uses microwave technology to supply the chemical industry with recycled raw materials that are drop-in substitutes for virgin chemicals.
  • Via Separations (U.S.) targets U.S. energy consumption that is wasted each year through the process of separating chemicals, by electrifying energy-intensive steps in chemical production.

Challenge 3: Monitoring and understanding our changing planet

  • Pachama (U.S.) uses machine learning with satellite imaging to measure carbon captured in forests. Pachama brings the latest technology in remote sensing, satellite imaging and AI to the world of forest carbon in order to enable forest conservation and restoration at scale.
  • Planet (U.S.) provides global, daily satellite imagery and geospatial solutions to better manage risk across various sectors, such as agriculture, forestry, energy and natural resources.
  • QLM Technology (U.K.) offers its quantum technology to provide an understanding of greenhouse gas emissions in an affordable, accurate, scalable way using camera systems that visualize and quantify emissions as they occur.

Wildcards:

  • 75F (U.S.) is an IoT-based building management system using smart sensors and controls to make commercial buildings more efficient, comfortable and healthier.
  • ECOncrete (Israel) provides technology for coastal and marine infrastructure – increasing concrete strength and durability, while creating ecological value and an active carbon sink.
  • Pivot Bio (U.S.) makes nitrogen-producing microbial products that can replace the use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer for cereal crops, giving farmers a crop nutrition solution to achieve more consistent yields and improve air and water quality.

Claire Curry, selection committee co-chair and head of digital industry research at BloombergNEF, commented:

“This year we selected three specific areas – heavy-duty transport, materials and the climate – where BNEF believes technology must play an important role in decarbonization. For the last decade, the BNEF Pioneers award has been essential in highlighting exciting innovations in solar, wind, storage, smart grid and electric vehicles, to name a few. By focusing on specific themes each year where technology innovation is sorely needed, we hope that the competition will continue to shine a light on important, pioneering innovations.

“We had some particularly strong applicants, making it both fun and challenging to select the winners. We have chosen nine winners across the three main challenge categories that we believe highlight some important innovation gaps in transportation, materials and climate. While much transport will electrify or turn to green hydrogen, the heavy-duty goods sector will continue burning fossil fuels for years to come. This makes optimizing route planning, reducing idle time and eliminating empty miles truly essential in the near-term. Our winners Convoy, Ontruck and Nautilus Labs are leading the charge in tackling these problems.

“Displacing petrochemicals from everyday products will be a difficult task, even after we are no longer burning oil as a fuel. Displacing petrochemical feedstock with biomass, or even with added carbon dioxide, will create carbon sinks, trapping CO2 in plastics, fabrics and chemicals. Our winner Cemvita Factory is looking to do just this. Sustainability issues in the petrochemicals sector include inefficient, energy-intense, manufacturing processes and poor recycling options, which our winners Via Separations and Pyrowave are looking to solve respectively.

“Finally, to truly address climate change we need to understand a lot more about our planet, track emissions more closely and quantify the natural carbon sinks in forests, seas and land. Our winners for the third challenge category are all using different technologies, including hardware and software combinations, to track our changing planet from the sky (Planet), to spot industrial emissions on the ground (QLM Technologies) and to quantify our valuable carbon sinks (Pachama).

“Alongside the three key challenge areas we also picked three wildcard winners – innovations that did not fit in the selected challenge areas but are each pioneering and unique in their own way. I’m excited to see the future impact on marine life of ECOncrete’s coastal infrastructure invention; the significant emissions impact that 75F will make on commercial buildings; and the exciting future of sustainable agriculture that Pivot Bio is swiftly building with its microbial fertilizer.”

Video interviews with each of the Pioneers will be posted once per week on the BNEF website at https://about.bnef.com/bnefpioneers/ starting in the second half of May.

Read more about the winners.

Offshore Wind Data Release Propels Wind Prospecting

Read the full story from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

At first glance, today’s atmospheric scientists and mining prospectors of the past seem quite different. Look closer and you will find some striking similarities. Notably, a willingness to sift through volumes of information to dig up resource nuggets worth their weight in gold.

Unlike the past, however, today’s wind resource prospectors share their findings with the world. Using state-of-the-art modeling tools and sophisticated resource assessment technologies, the Wind Resource Characterization team at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) makes available new offshore wind data sets.

“Existing offshore wind data are largely outdated, lacking precise, real-world observations,” said NREL researcher Mike Optis, who is leading efforts to update publicly available offshore wind data. “Our goal is to provide more accurate data sets to the public that can improve offshore wind plant site selection, design, and operational decisions.” 

Energy policy Simulator

The Energy Policy Simulator (EPS) is an open-source model for estimating the environmental, economic, and human health impacts of hundreds of climate and energy policies. EPS offers unparalleled accessibility to the model through an easy-to-use web interface that allows non-technical users to model their own policy scenarios. In partnership with Energy Innovation, RMI is developing state-level versions of the EPS to make robust modeling tools and insights freely available to a diverse group of stakeholders including advocates, policymakers, and researchers.

In each state where the EPS becomes available, RMI and Energy Innovation publish insights and conduct stakeholder engagement to support use of the tool and drive focus on the highest impact policies that can bring emissions down in line with limiting atmospheric warming to 1.5°C. To date, the EPS is available in five states.

Read more about the Rocky Mountain Institute’s State Policy Analysis and Modeling initiative.

EPA Announces Nearly $2.5 Million in Funding to Small Businesses to Develop Environmental Technologies

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $2,499,229 in awards to 24 U.S. small businesses to develop innovative technologies that help support EPA’s mission of protecting human health and the environment.

“We have the opportunity to confront our greatest environmental challenges with the strength and creativity of American entrepreneurs,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “I congratulate all of the small businesses receiving EPA funding today. I look forward to working with them to harness the power of innovation to build a healthier, safer and more equitable future.”

EPA is one of 11 federal agencies that participate in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program established by the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982. The small businesses in today’s announcement are receiving Phase I awards of up to $100,000 for six months for “proof of concept” of their proposed technology. Companies that successfully complete Phase I can then submit a proposal for a Phase II award of up to $400,000 to further develop and commercialize the technology.

The following science and technology-based small businesses received EPA SBIR Phase I awards:

Air Quality

  • Adelphi Technology, LLC. (Bowling Green, Ky.) – A compact, portable battery-powered analytical instrument for monitoring ultra-low concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  • Firefly Photonics LLC (Coralville, Iowa) – A portable mid-infrared gas spectrometer to monitor VOC emissions from concentrated animal feeding operations.
  • Nikira Labs Inc. (Mountain View, Calif.) – A high-selective ethylene oxide analyzer developed using open-path, mid-infrared cavity enhanced spectrometry. 

Clean & Safe Water

  • Faraday Technology, Inc. (Englewood, Ohio) – Electrochemical removal of contaminants of emerging concern using a modular water reuse system.
  • FHNC Ltd. Co. (Fort Worth, Texas) – A point of source sewage treatment device to remove fats, oils, and greases from waste streams.
  • Hyperion Analytical LLC (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) – An analytical system for water treatment systems to provide near-real-time measurement of N-nitrosamines which are a potential human health concern.
  • Intelligent Optical Systems, Inc. (Torrance, Calif.) – An integrated sensor system to monitor contaminants in water.
  • NanoSonic, Inc. (Pembroke, Va.) – Durable hydrophobic membranes with antifouling properties for water purification systems.
  • Photon Systems Inc. (Covina, Calif.) – An in-situ, reagentless sensor for continuous microbial monitoring in water reuse treatment systems.
  • Pure Blue Tech Inc. (Seattle, Wash.) – A membrane integrated with polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) transducers to reduce fouling and promote efficient water reuse. 
  • Triangle Environmental Health Initiative (Durham, N.C.) – A Zero-Waste wastewater treatment system to eliminate brine and produce three output streams for water and energy recovery.

Homeland Security

  • Sonata Scientific LLC (Bethel, Conn.) – A long-lasting, self-disinfecting antiviral surface cover for high-touch surfaces to reduce viral transmission.
  • Quick-Med Technologies Inc. (Gainesville, Fla.) – A long-term antimicrobial, antiviral disinfectant coating using hydrogen peroxide as the active agent for use on frequently touched surfaces.

Land Revitalization

  • Aquagga Inc. (Juneau, Alaska) – A field-deployable hydrothermal alkaline treatment reactor for on-site disposal of PFAS-contaminated wet wastes and brines.
  • Cyclopure, Inc. (Skokie, Ill.) – A novel PFAS treatment approach to remove and destroy PFAS from contaminated water. 
  • Purafide, LLC (Ann Arbor, Mich.) – A novel Plasma Water Reactor for PFAS remediation in potable reuse systems.

Sustainable Materials Management

  • Dunn Infinite Designs (Denver, Colo.) – A mobile, rapid freeze-drying system to prevent food waste. 
  • Earth Merchant (Vancouver, Wash.) – Durable, lightweight construction bricks made from industrial hemp for architectural applications with improved thermal performance to improve energy efficiency. 
  • Farm to Flame Energy Inc. (Syracuse, N.Y.) – A novel combustion process that enables biomass from construction, food processing and agricultural waste streams to be transformed into affordable, low-emission electricity. 
  • OLIN (Philadelphia, Pa.) – Engineered approach that repurposes city-wide waste-stream glass into a soil product suitable for urban green spaces and landscaping.
  • PKS Consulting, Inc. (Anchorage, Alaska) – A mobile Plastic Ocean Waste Recycler that produces recycled plastic lumber products from locally collected plastic ocean waste.
  • Simonpietri Enterprises LLC (Kailua, Hawaii) – An integrated system to safely gasify construction and demolition wood into low-greenhouse gas transportation fuel.
  • Transfoam LLC (Charlottesville, Va.) – An innovative synthetic biology approach to recycle waste plastic into biodegradable plastic.
  • Verdant Structural Engineers (Berkeley, Calif.) – Carbon-storing straw structural insulated panels for residential applications in the U.S. which are less toxic and improve lifecycle impacts of building materials.

Safer Chemicals 

  • NanoSonic, Inc. (Pembroke, Va.) – Clean manufacturing process to produce environmentally friendly particles for textile pigments and dyes.

Learn more

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