🍄 ClimateHack Vol 34: Fungi for carbon-capture

PLUS: a conversation with Extantia Ventures on Green Ammonia.

Hey There,

Welcome to all the new subscribers who came from this Linkedin post after I promised to pull together a complete list of Swiss Climate Startups.

Bad news: I seriously underestimated the size of the Swiss Climate ecosystem (sorry), so please give me until next week to pull together the list.

Good news: it's been a massive week in Climate Tech - from new funding to breakthroughs, so there's plenty to keep you busy till then.

In today's edition:

🌾 A conversation with Extantia Ventures about Green Ammonia. 🍄 US-based Funga secured $4M for nature-based carbon removal. 🤖 London-based Recycleye raised $17M for their AI-driven waste picking robots.

Carbon x Climate

🌱 Australian startup Loam raised $105 million Series B funding just 20 months after its $40 million Series A round. It has developed a microbial crop seed coating to sequester carbon in farmland soil and improve crop yields.

📊 UK-based QiO Technologies raised $10 million Series B funding, in a round led by WAVE Equity Partners, for its ​​AI tools that are used to help industrial firms, data centres and telecoms decrease their greenhouse gas emissions and operate more sustainably.

🍄 Funga, based in Texas, secured $4 million seed funding and claims to be the first nature-based carbon removal company to be powered by belowground biodiversity restoration. It uses biodiverse communities of mycorrhizal fungi to accelerate plant growth by an average of 64%, which in turn accelerates carbon capture.

🌳 US firm Living Carbon is planning to plant trees that have been genetically engineered to grow faster and bigger onto private land in Georgia and Pennsylvania, claiming that they can capture more carbon than unmodified trees.

🚜 University College Dublin and Munster Technological University have been awarded €3 million by the Government of Ireland‘s Farm Zero C Project for research into integrated anaerobic digestion and green biorefining to support climate neutral farming.

💡 Thirty five organisations, including carbon removal buyers, suppliers, verifiers, non-profits, and academics, are calling for the creation of an independent standards initiative that would provide a “trusted, scientific stamp-of-approval for CDR protocols”.

🤯 Here's a pretty mind boggling market map of ESG related services that ESG operators are expected to know and navigate.

Food x Climate

🥩 Swiss startup Mirai Foods unveiled what it claims is the world’s first cultivated tenderloin steak (pictured above), made via its "Fibration Technology" cell process.

🤝 Nine companies in the precision fermentation industry have come together to establish the Precision Fermentation Alliance, a new trade organisation designed to promote precision fermentation as a “trusted solution for a more resilient and sustainable food system”.

🌱 Planetarians, based in San Francisco, raised $6 million to scale up its whole-cut plant-based meat alternatives, made with upcycled brewer’s yeast, with a view to beginning full-scale production in October of this year.

🌴 Sun Bear Bioworks announced the close of its pre-seed funding raise, led by Unruly Capital. The startup is focused on making healthy and sustainable alternatives to everyday essentials via precision fermentation, starting with palm oil.

🥛 US dairy giant Fonterra has entered into a strategic partnership with German multinational Man Energy Solutions to reduce its dairy production CO2 emissions through the use of heat pump technology for steam generation.

💡 Good Read: Steve Sanger’s summary on why 2023 will be a challenging year for food and ag startups is worth a read.

Energy x Climate

🌊 Researchers at Australia’s RMIT have developed a cheaper and more energy-efficient way to make ‘green’ hydrogen directly from seawater, without needing to desalinate the water and avoiding chlorine production, using an electrolyser.

📊 British startup equiwatt has been awarded more than £630,000 from the UK’s Department for Energy Security & Net Zero to scale its innovative peak energy usage reduction technology. Its smart system allows connected homes to work together to help create a more efficient and flexible energy system.

🇪🇺 The European Commission has approved €2.08 billion to support offshore wind electricity production in France, to help achieve the country’s energy and environmental targets.

🇬🇧 The UK government announced £12.4 million in funding, as part of its Industrial Energy Transformation Fund, to help some of the nation’s most polluting industries find new ways to reduce their carbon emissions and energy bills, from car manufacturing to steel production and food processing.

🇳🇴 Norwegian residential solar installation and battery marketplace Otovo has gone public on the first tier of Oslo’s stock exchange, on the back of its platform reaching 13 European operating markets.

💡 Good Read: Zero Carbon Capital wrote this piece on long-duration energy storage, and how it can contribute to decarbonising electricity generation.

Packaging x Climate

🤖 London-based Recycleye raised $17 million Series A funding, in a round led by DCVC, for its AI and robotics-driven automated waste management platform, able to pick over 33,000 items per 10-hour shift

🥤 New York-based Loliware raised $6 million pre-Series A funding to replace single-use plastics with its seaweed-based materials. The startup has raised $15.4 million to date, which it claims makes it the best-funded seaweed materials tech company in the market.

Transport x Climate

🛵 Berlin-based Dance raised $12 million in equity and debt financing to extend operations of its electric bike and moped subscription service, having already grown to several thousand members since its inception in 2020.

🔋 Cylib, based in Germany, secured €8 million in a round led by World Fund. It is helping to make electric mobility more sustainable with its process of recycling lithium traction batteries, recovering raw materials during the recycling process to reach a reported recycling efficiency of 90% and drastically reducing the carbon footprint of the whole battery value chain.

🚗 The Biden administration laid out its plans to build a national network of 500,000 publicly accessible electric vehicle chargers along US highways. To comply with this, Tesla has agreed to open up a portion of its Supercharger and destination charger network to non-Tesla EVs by the end of 2024.

🔌 Spanish operator of "ultra-fast" EV charging infrastructure Zunder secured a €40 million loan from the European Investment Bank to build a charging network along Spain's section of the trans-European transport network.

🚲 The New York State Department of Transportation has awarded global consulting and technology services provider ICF a $29 million contract to develop an “equitable and accessible transportation mobility services program”, involving existing concepts (e.g. carpooling) and emerging tech, such as e-bikes.

🏭 Ford is planning to license technology from Chinese battery giant CATL to use in a $3.5 billion electric vehicle factory it plans to build in Michigan, as new tax credits for EVs take effect under the US’ Inflation Reduction Act climate law that passed last year.

Funds x Climate

💸 Counteract, based in the UK, closed its first £15 million for a fund with a goal value of £35 million to support the carbon removal industry. It is looking to invest in startups that must prove they are capable of removing a minimum of 500m tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by 2050.

🌊 London-based investment group Ocean 14 Capital added €30 million from IKEA’s investment arm Ingka Investments to its impact fund, with which it supports startups in the “blue economy”, or clean tech in support of the ocean.

🔎 Here’s a handy roundup of all the new impact funds that landed in Europe in 2022.

💡 Here's some great advice on why not to start a climate tech startup in 2023.

Conversations x Climate: Green Ammonia

This week I reached out to Iris ten Have, Head of Science at Extantia, a climate-first venture capital firm accelerating the path to a decarbonised world.

In the article, Iris covers:

  • Why green ammonia is one of the climate trends they're betting on this year.

  • How the Haber-Bosch process was crucial in creating synthetic ammonia.

  • Five technologies for green ammonia production to watch in 2023.

You can read the full piece here which goes into detail on why current ammonia production is a massive problem that more builders and funders should be paying attention to, and the opportunities and approaches for new solutions to form.

Trends x Climate: Green Cement

🏗 Global cement production is set to increase to over 5BN tonnes during the next 30 years. But cement is terrible for the environment..

It’s responsible for 8% of the world’s CO2 emissions, and producing it in the conventional way releases ton's of toxic chemicals into the atmosphere.

Step in a new category of climate startups out to make our cement "more green" From experimenting with carbon capture, artificial intelligence and even bio-bricks made from urine - all in the search for an eco-friendly alternatives.

In this weeks deep dive - we jumped into emerging market of Green Cement, and the 20+ startups in this space.

Events x Climate

🙌 On Wednesday: We hosted our first ever ClimateHack Meetup in London together with AMS and speakers from Carbon13, Materials Nexus, 2150, Systemiq Capital, Synthesis Capital along with a completely full house of attendees (here's a quick summary). Next up, we're headed to Berlin on the 16th March to take a look at the German climate ecosystem.

📣 Pitch Your Climate Tech Startup: Applications are now open to pitch at this years HackSummit. The selected companies will present to an audience of some of the top Climate VC's for a chance to win a $100k investment and follow-on funding. If you're building something breakthrough in early stage climate - apply here.

Memes x Climate

Let's never forget...

Thanks for reading, have a great weekend ahead and sorry to all the Swiss subscribers I let down, I promise the list will be out next week!

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Editorial by Arman, Curation by Nicola.