🛢 ClimateHack Vol. 60: Net-Zero Oil?

PLUS: Going off-camera on Zoom reduces emissions by 96%.

Hey There,

Last week the US government announced its plans to provide $1.2 billion to develop regional hubs that can draw down and store away at least 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.

One of the major recipients of the funding is oil and gas producer Occidental Petroleum (in-famously quoted for saying carbon capture gives oil and gas a “license to operate”) who will receive ≈$500M of this.

This week, Occidental Petroleum announced it’s acquiring carbon air capture technology company Carbon Engineering Ltd for $1.1 billion to develop a series of DAC sites in the hope of profiting from tackling climate change.

Both these events have drawn up a fair bit of controversy, so while I’m still making up my own mind, here’s some varying opinions, from much smarter and respected folks in the industry, to hopefully help you make up yours:

The for: Torben Schreiter, Partner at Extantia Capital.
The against: Dr. Jonathan Foley, Executive Director at Project Drawdown.
The in-between: Florian Schabus, Climate Investor at Planet A.

Always up to hear more opinions from readers, so let me know what you think by hitting reply or more discreetly in the poll at the bottom of the newsletter.

In today's edition:

💯 Sweden’s Norrsken release their list of 100 top impact startups.
🔋 Califorina's Mitra Chem raised $40M to produce lithium-ion batteries.
📏 US-based Yard Stick raised $10.6M to help farms measure their soil carbon.

Digest x Climate

Image Credit: Norrsken

📈 What’s up? Norrsken released its Impact/100 list, featuring what it says are the world’s most promising impact startups - from meatless meats to breakthrough engineering.

📉 What’s down? Rising temperatures caused by climate change are pushing fish further north to colder waters, potentially putting an end to fishing in certain areas.

☀️ Scientists at the University of Bern are investigating the use of solar radiation management (i.e. “dimming the sun” artificially) to slow the melting of the West Antarctic ice sheet.

💧 Good Read: Nucleus Capital shared why water-tech should be “top-of-mind” for VCs.

Carbon x Climate

Image Credits: Yard Stick

📏 US-based Yard Stick raised $10.6 million Series A funding to provide farms with a faster, cheaper and more accurate set of soil carbon measurement tools, employing probes which use spectroscopy to determine how much carbon is locked in the soil.

🏭 Finnish startup Carbo Culture has opened one of Europe’s largest biochar plants, which it says will be able to remove 3,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere a year.

💰 US oil and gas producer Occidental Petroleum is acquiring carbon air capture technology company Carbon Engineering Ltd for $1.1 billion to help it develop a series of DAC sites in the hope of profiting from tackling climate change.

💸 The UK government announced £3.75 million in funding for AI decarbonisation projects, and will support startups such as Open Climate Fix, which is developing an AI system to support the connection of solar electricity to the energy grid, and List.io, a company working on agricultural robotics systems.

🇬🇧 The UK government also launched a climate-friendly scheme, The UK Business Climate Hub, designed to offer SMEs a suite of tools to measure, track and reduce their emissions and energy costs.

Food x Climate

Image Credits: Clean Food Group

🌴 UK-based biotech Clean Food Group raised £2.3 million to accelerate commercialisation of its sustainable oils and fats technology, designed to provide an alternative to palm oil in food and cosmetic production.

🥛 Israel’s Imagindairy has obtained self-affirmed GRAS status in the US, becoming only the third precision fermentation company to do so, and is working towards commercialisation of its animal-free whey protein.

🍖 Slovenia’s Juicy Marbles unveiled its Bone-in Ribs, which it says are the world’s first plant-based ribs with edible bones. After eating the meat, the bones, which are made with only plant proteins, can be turned into puffed, crispy snacks with the same protein content as beef jerky by baking, frying, or air-frying them.

💡 UK-based ingredient company Ulrick & Short has developed a “conceptually new to market” plant-based ingredient based on upcycled rapeseeds.

Materials x Climate

Image Credits: Karl Nielsen for General Motors

🔋 Californian startup Mitra Chem, which produces lithium-ion batteries announced the completion of a $40 million first close of a $60 million Series B funding round led by GM. It will use the funds to develop, deploy and commercialise iron-based cathode materials to support mass-market electrification for electric vehicles, energy storage solutions, and more.

⛏ Ceibo, an advanced copper extraction technology company based in Chile, raised over $30 million in a Series B funding round featuring BHP Ventures to accelerate its primary and secondary sulphides leaching process.

💻 Spain’s Universal Plastic secured €2 million from Swiss blockchain technology provider nChain, which took a 20% stake in the startup. Universal Plastic uses AI and the blockchain to quantify, audit and record data from plastic waste collections, and will get licensing of nChain’s intellectual property portfolio as part of the partnership.

🥔 LA-based Mi Terro is using waste streams such as potato peelings and brewers’ spent grains to create cost-effective alternatives to polyvinyl alcohol, to replace laundry and dishwasher pod films made with petrochemicals.

Energy x Climate

Image Credits: NextWind

💨 Germany’s NeXtWind secured $750 million in a round led by Sandbrook Capital to build on its portfolio of ten wind farms in Northern and Eastern Germany. It aims to repower ageing wind turbines, combining them with photovoltaic systems as well as batteries for intermediate storage.

🦄 Dublin-based TechMet raised $200 million in equity and is expected to hit unicorn status within the next few months. The startup builds projects to secure the supply of the key metals for EVs, energy storage and renewable energy.

🔥 Californian startup Rondo Energy, which produces zero-carbon industrial heat and power, secured $60 million to support the planned worldwide rollout of its Rondo Heat Batteries.

🏭 Green hydrogen technology startup Hysata, based in Australia, secured $23.9 million from the Queensland and federal governments and opened a new electrolyser manufacturing facility this week. Hysata has designed a new kind of electrolyser that is 20% more efficient than existing hydrogen production technology.

⚡️ University of Manchester spinout AssetCool raised £2.25 million Series A funding for its photonic coating technology that it claims reduces energy waste, costs and emissions in power lines.

Transport x Climate

Image Credits: Tevva

🚚 British electric and hydrogen truck firm Tevva is merging with Canada-headquartered automaker ElectraMeccanica, and the pair are expecting combined revenue of around $1.3bn to $1.5bn in their 2028 financial targets.

🇻🇳 Vietnamese EV maker VinFast launched on the Nasdaq this week and is now worth more than Ford or GM.

Trends x Climate: Nuclear Fusion

🏭 What is it; Nuclear fusion is the process by which two light atomic nuclei combine to form a single heavier one while releasing massive amounts of energy. Fusion could generate four times more energy per kilogram of fuel than fission (used in nuclear power plants) and nearly four million times more energy than burning oil or coal.

🤔 Why we should be paying attention: 

  • Increasing demand for power; as rapidly developing nations like China and India need more energy to power their growing populations, and the shift to renewables is more urgent than ever, we need a new source of clean, always-on power. Nuclear fusion could provide an answer.

  • Nuclear power is clean; from an emissions POV, it doesn’t produce any carbon or toxic GHGs and there’s no risk of nuclear meltdown either.

  • Shift away from fossil fuels; If we can find a way to produce unlimited energy using nuclear fusion without the risks associated with classic nuclear power stations and create a steady source of energy that’s more reliable than wind, solar and hydroelectric.

📈 How it’s currently looking; Research predicts that the global nuclear fusion market will grow to $471.99BN by 2030, and will expand at a CAGR of 6% from 2030 to 2040. Venture and growth capital in the sector soared above $3BN in 2021 and 2022. And new deals continue to be made in 2023.

👀 Who’s working on this? There’s over 15+ companies in this space, from France’s Renaissance Fusion to the UK's Tokamak Energy.

💡 Learn more; Deep dive into the world of nuclear fusion energy, and the 15+ companies working on solutions here in our latest climate deep dive. 

Polls x Climate

❓ Finish this sentence..

Occidental Petroleum's move to purchase carbon-capture company Carbon Engineering is..

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Memes x Climate

👨‍💻  Save the planet: If you need an excuse to keep your camera off next week, here’s one. Source.

Thanks for reading and if you haven’t already, make sure to enjoy the last of the summer break.

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Editorial by Arman, Curation by Nicola.