⚡️ ClimateHack Vol. 62: Big Energy Vibes

PLUS: Australia’s CH4 Global raise $29M to produce seaweed for cows.

Hey There,

It’s been a big energy week as battery recycling company Redwood Materials close on $1Bn+ in Series D funding, Sweden’s Polarium draw an additional €37M for their renewable energy storage system and Dublins's UrbanVolt close €26 million for their solar-as-a-service solution.

All that and more in this week’s edition of ClimateHack below:

🐄 Australia’s CH4 Global raise $29M to produce seaweed for cows.
♻️ Dutch startup Valyuu raise €2.4M for their circular economy platform.
👕 California's Refiberd raise $3.4M to build AI & robotics textile sorting system.

Carbon x Climate

Image Credits: Valyuu

♻️ Dutch startup Valyuu raised €2.4 million in a seed funding round led by Rubio Impact Ventures and Slingshot Ventures for its circular economy platform, which allows consumers to buy and sell pre-owned electronics.

🧩 The LEGO Group has pledged to invest $1.4 billion into sustainability initiatives over the next three years, with the aim of reaching its commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

💨 Research posted in the American Chemical Society’s journal Central Science shows a new capture system that uses an electrochemical cell to easily capture and release CO2. It operates at room temperature and uses less energy than traditional amine-based carbon-capture systems.

Food x Climate

Image Credits: CH4 Global

🌿 CH4 Global, headquartered in the US, raised $29 million at the first close of its $45 million Series B round. It will use the funds to build a production facility in southern Australia producing seaweed that can supplement the diets of 30,000 cows to slash their methane emissions.

🔎 Strong Roots, based in Ireland, partnered with Swedish climate company CarbonCloud to launch climate footprint labels across all of its packaging.

👨‍⚖️ A coalition of environmental groups is urging the US Securities and Exchange Commission to stop JBS’s planned US IPO, calling it the “biggest climate risk IPO listing in history”.

Energy x Climate

Image Credits: Redwood Materials

🔋 Battery recycling startup Redwood Materials, founded by former Tesla co-founder JB Strausel, raised over $1 billion Series D funding to support its goal of allowing customers to buy battery materials made in the US for the first time, including getting its copper foil production up and running by the end of 2023.

♻️ Swedish scaleup Polarium, which produces batteries for renewable energy storage, secured SEK 436 million (around €37 million) and lost its unicorn status as its valuation was halved year-on-year.

☀️ UrbanVolt, based in Dublin, secured €26 million from Verdane. The Solar-as-a-Service company helps business customers make a cost-effective transition to clean energy, and will use the funds to support its market expansion.

✨ Stockholm-based Novatron Fusion Group raised €5 million seed funding, in a round led by Climentum Capital, to build pre-commercial prototypes with the aim of developing economically viable fusion energy in the 2030s.

📊 Icelandic startup SNERPA Power secured €2.2 million in a round co-led by Crowberry Capital and BackingMinds. Its Energy Management System is designed to allow companies to leverage real-time data to support decision making around electricity consumption, scheduling, contract management and providing flexibility to the grid.

🚙 Jaguar Land Rover is working with renewable energy leader Wykes Engineering to co-develop what will be one of the largest energy storage systems in the UK to harness solar and wind power using second-life electric vehicle batteries. 

🇨🇳 The International Atomic Energy Agency says that China is building 21 nuclear reactors that will have a capacity for generating 21.61 gigawatts of electricity, which is more than two and a half times more nuclear reactors under construction than any other country.

🗺 Google is set to begin selling its maps data, which includes data on over 350 million buildings, to companies building solar energy products.

Transport x Climate

Image Credits: GoCar

🚗 Dublin-based GoCar raised €10 million to expand and upgrade its car-sharing fleet across the country, as part of its commitment to providing sustainable and convenient mobility solutions.

💰 The US Department of Energy is dedicating $15.5 billion as part of President Biden’s Investing in America initiative to support the nation’s transition to electric vehicles. The majority of the funds will go to automakers and suppliers to retool their plants to produce electric, hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles.

⚡️ Mercedes-Benz is planning to open its first electric vehicle DC fast-charging hubs in Atlanta, China and Germany later this year, as it works towards installing 2,000 charging hubs worldwide by the end of 2024.

Materials x Climate

Image Credits: Refiberd

👕 Refiberd, based in California, raised $3.4 million seed funding to build an AI and robotics-based sorting system for textile-to-textile recycling, helping to divert up to 70% of the textile waste stream to high value recyclers.

💦 Scientists at the University of Waterloo have developed smart surfaces, inspired by nature, which capture water vapour from the air and convert it to liquid to help combat water scarcity.

🍄 Israeli startup MadeRight secured $2 million seed funding for its high-performance fungi-based packaging. It has created a solid-state fermentation process during which mycelia transform industrial waste into biomass, which is then turned into pellets for use in existing packaging manufacturing machinery.

💨 Swedish startup Adsorbi secured €360,000 seed funding from Metsä Spring, Chalmers Ventures, and Jovitech Invest. It will use the funds to continue developing its cellulose-based air purification material that can be used in indoor air filters and odour removal products.

👜 Indian vegan fashion company FOReT unveiled its collection of sustainable and fully biodegradable bags made from locally sourced banana bark, which is twisted into twine and crocheted by rural Indian women.

Funds x Climate

Image Credits: Greencode Ventures

🇫🇮 Finnish VC Greencode Ventures secured €40 million at first close of its new fund, with which it has already supported carbon removal marketplace Supercritical in its Series A funding round earlier this year.

🇬🇧 The UK’s Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre is providing a total of £1.2 million to 13 decarbonisation projects, which are focused on a range of challenges, including exploring carbon capture and storage in different industries and transforming waste carbon dioxide into valuable chemicals.

Trends x Climate: Enhanced Rock Weathering

🪨 What; As certain kinds of rocks break down, they interact with CO2-infused rainwater to capture CO2 and permanently lock it away in a solid, stable mineralised state. Enhanced rock weathering is a sped up method done by crushing rocks into powder and spreading it over farmland or beaches, where it can improve the soil or be quickly washed out to sea, storing the carbon on geologic timescales in the process.

📈 Why;
- Simplicity: Unlike some of the other leading forms of carbon capture and removal, rock weathering does not require highly advanced or complex tech. It’s essentially simply crushing rocks into smaller particles and distributing them across land surfaces.
- Improved Yield: As well as capturing carbon, the process ends with rock ground into fine particles and added to the earth - which has the side effect of enhancing soil health and crop yields.
- Widely available: The rocks used for enhanced rock weathering, such as olivine and basalt, are abundant and widely distributed around the world, so there is a large potential supply of feedstock for the process.

🤔 Who; There are over 20+ companies globally working on enhanced rock weathering - some of the notable players include UK-based UNDO who recently raised $10M+ from Lowercarbon capital and AENU and Earthshot Prize winner 44.01, the Oman startup which have raised $6.2M to date and the worlds first to mineralise CO2 into peridotite.

💡 Learn more; Deep dive into the world of enhanced rock weathering, the 20+ companies working in this space and the open opportunities on our latest climate deep dive.

Tweets x Climate

🌡 Snow in August? Weather across Switzerland have been erratic over the summer period with one of the most clear examples captured in Zermatt Switzerland where the temperature varied by 30°C over a course of 4 days.

Thanks for reading and have a great end to your week,

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Editorial by Arman, Curation by Nicola.