Category: Start-ups

Green ‘liberty’ bonds: The American way to win the war on climate change?

Read the full story at Canary Media.

President Joe Biden has an aggressive plan to decarbonize the U.S. economy. But his administration hasn’t yet provided many specifics on how it plans to leverage public funding to drive greater private capital investment in the green infrastructure needed to reach its goals.

Bryan Garcia, president and CEO of the Connecticut Green Bank, thinks that a modern, green-tinged version of Liberty Bonds, the U.S. government war bonds from World War I and World War II, could be a valuable model for the federal government — particularly if Connecticut’s recent experience with it can be replicated at a national scale.

Connecticut Green Bank’s $25 million green “liberty” bond issuance on Thursday, its latest to support rooftop solar and energy efficiency projects in the state, was oversubscribed by nearly a factor of four, Garcia said.

Webinar: Too good to waste: Upcycling solutions for a more sustainable planet

May 5, 2021, 9 am CDT
Register here.

Enterprising startups are exploring innovative ways to realize a circular economy and create value-added products using byproducts from food processes or ingredients that would otherwise be thrown away. We bring together innovators and entrepreneurs to explore how they are contributing to the circular economy and building new supply chains using upcycled* ingredients, how they communicate the benefits to consumers, and what opportunities they are exploring.

*As defined by the Upcycled Food Association (UFA), upcycled foods “use ingredients that otherwise would not have gone to human consumption, are procured and produced using verifiable supply chains, and have a positive impact on the environment.”

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 Ventures, TDK Ventures, TRUMPF Venture, Doral Energy-Tech Ventures and Jaguar Land Rover’s InMotion Ventures.

The financing will support the development of a commercial-scale processing facility with the annual capacity to process 10,000 tons of batteries — or the batteries from approximately 20,000 electric vehicles (EVs) a year.

Project Canary Receives Series A Funding from Leading Venture Capital Firms

Read the press release.

Quantum Energy Partners, Global Reserve Group and Energy Impact Partners to fund Denver-based emissions monitoring and data startup as ESG-driven market for Responsibly Sourced Gas grows.

ARPA-e Energy Innovation Virtual Summit

May 24-27, 2021, cost: $150
Register here.

The ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit is an annual conference and technology showcase that brings together experts from different technical disciplines and professional communities to think about America’s energy challenges in new and innovative ways. Now in its eleventh year, the Summit offers a unique, four-day program aimed at moving transformational energy technologies out of the lab and into the market.

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.

‘The Cadillac of fibers…’ Upcycled ingredients startup Comet Bio gears up for commercial launch of arabinoxylan prebiotic fiber

Read the full story at Food Navigator USA.

Clinical data suggests that arabinoxylan – a fiber found in the cell walls of several plants – has a range of benefits from prebiotic effects to blood glucose control and immune health support. But no one has found a cost-effective way to isolate and produce it on an industrial scale… until now, claims Comet Bio, which is gearing up for the commercial launch of the ‘Cadillac of fibers’ in 2022.

This startup will buy back the ratty old T-shirts in your closet

Read the full story at Fast Company.

For Days wants consumers to think about how they’ll dispose of their garments from the moment they buy them.

Better Origin, which turns flies into food for chickens, raises $3M from… Fly Ventures

Read the full story at Tech Crunch.

It turns out, where there are flies, there’s brass. Better Origin is a startup that converts waste food into essential nutrients using insects fed to chickens inside a standard shipping container. It’s now raised a $3 million seed round led by Fly Ventures and solar entrepreneur Nick Boyle, while previous investor Metavallon VC is also participating. Its competitors include Protix, Agriprotein, InnovaFeed, Enterra and Entocycle.

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