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  • ⚡️ ClimateHack Vol 92: The 20 Energy Tech Startups VCs are Watching

⚡️ ClimateHack Vol 92: The 20 Energy Tech Startups VCs are Watching

PLUS: What leaked EU documents reveal about Europe's climate ambitions

Hi There,

Energy tech is hot in 2024.

While VC megarounds have largely slowed, energy is proving to be the exception with huge rounds being raised across the globe, for things like geothermal energy, industrial heat, battery recycling and more.

Driven by policy incentives (think The Inflation Reduction Act in the U.S. and the Green Deal in Europe), a call for reshoring of critical infrastructure, and a general reduced technical risk thanks to a maturing generation of energy startups.

But while it might be too late for some of us to get into these later stage mega deals, which companies will emerge as the next generation of energy tech giants?

To answer exactly that, we asked 7 leading VCs investing investing in energy to spotlight their top 20 Energy Tech Companies.

In Today’s Edition;

🐄 US-based Windfall Bio raised $28M Series A funding, to scale its methane capture and transformation solution.
✨ German startup Proxima Fusion secured €20M seed funding to begin building its first generation of fusion power plant.
🎾 Amsterdam-based Renewaball secured over €3M to reduce the environmental impact of tennis and paddle balls across Europe.

Digest x Climate

Image Credits: DealRoom

👀 Useful: DealRoom just launched their Global Climate Investor Map which classifies over 300 climate tech investors across several categories.

🦅 Interesting: Analysis from Handelsblatt shows that the USA’s aggressive approach to climate tech, particularly through its Inflation Reduction Act subsidy program, is helping to attract investment to the sector in the country whilst funding in Europe stagnates.

💡 Good Read: Tim McDonnell at Semafor explains why climate tech has an IPO problem. TLDR: the reality is that there is not currently enough potential for exits.

👩‍⚖️ The European Court of Human Rights has ruled in favour of a group of Swiss women who alleged that their government had violated human rights by taking inadequate action against climate change.

📈 What’s up? A recent study from the University of Basel found microplastics in the most remote ocean regions on Earth, including Antarctica.

📉 What’s down? A leaked document from the European Council reveals that the EU is facing a drastic downgrade of its climate ambitions over the next five years, and that climate will no longer be considered a main priority.

AgriFood x Climate

Image Credits: Windfall Bio

🐄 Windfall Bio raised $28 million Series A funding, in a round led by Prelude Ventures, to scale its methane capture and transformation solution, which helps to address methane emissions across various industries such as agriculture, oil and gas, and waste management.

🏭 US-based Liberation Labs secured $12.5 million to support the ongoing construction of its large-scale precision fermentation protein production facility in Indiana.

🛸 London-based agtech startup Vertical Future and the University of Cambridge have been granted £1.5 million by the UK Space Agency to support the development of an autonomous environmental agriculture facility in space. 

🐟 Atlantic Fish Co. unveiled what it says is the world’s first cultivated black sea bass, using its proprietary technology to cultivate fish cell lines that can thrive in liquid suspension.

🍫 US confectionery brand Macalat partnered with MycoTechnology to create a vegan, organic, zero-sugar, sweet dark chocolate bar made with mycelium-derived flavour modulator ClearIQ. 

🛰 The Canadian Space Agency and Impact Canada awarded the Deep Space Food Challenge C$380,000 grand prize to Ecoation and Maia Farms for their CANGrow food system, which can grow more than 700 kg of food annually, including tomatoes, strawberries, and lettuce, in a unit the size of a wardrobe.

🥛 Marks & Spencer is investing £1 million to cut its dairy supply chain carbon emissions, giving the cow herds that provide its milk a feed supplement derived from mineral salts and a byproduct of fermented corn to help cut their methane emissions.

Chemicals x Climate

Image Credits: Anodyne Chemistries

🧪 Canadian startup Anodyne Chemistries raised a $6M Seed round for their enzyme-based technology which promises to provide a route for zero-emissions production of chemicals like formic acid and methanol.

🌾 San Francisco-based Ammobia secured $4.2 million seed funding to build a demonstration project for its green ammonia, for use in fertilisers and chemicals.

Grants x Climate

Image Credits: Shutterstock

🇺🇸 The US EPA has awarded $20 billion in grants from the Inflation Reduction Act to eight companies which will act as ‘green banks’ to make loans to support smaller impact projects.

🇦🇺 The state government of Western Australia is offering a $7.2 million grant to support startups working to address biodiversity and the environment.

HackSummit x Climate

🎤 In conversation with: HackSummit speaker, Till Stenzel, Partner at SET Ventures who recently just raised an additional €10M for their SET Fund IV. One key insight: why we no longer need large-scale science and engineering breakthroughs to solve the energy transition.

👀 Get to know: HackSummit speaker, Jim Mann, a pioneer in nature-based carbon removal as the founder and CEO at UK-based UNDO working on scaling enhanced rock weathering for carbon capture and removal.

 Hurry: Less than <10 Startup Booths remain for this years HackSummit. Get a premium spot to showcase your startup infront of the Partners at 150+ top climate funds, and their LPs. Apply for your booth here, once they’re gone, they’re gone.

Energy x Climate

Image Credits: Zolar

☀️ Berlin-based zolar raised €100 million for its digital platform for residential solar energy. It is partnering with BNP Paribas to launch its financing solution for residential solar consumers, “zolar Easypay”. 

✨ German startup Proxima Fusion secured €20 million seed funding to begin building its first generation of fusion power plants based on its “quasi-isodynamic (QI) stellarators” with high-temperature superconductors.

🥼 Clyde Hydrogen Systems, a spinout from the University of Glasgow, raised £1 million to make hydrogen energy production more efficient. Its new electrolysis approach, called “decoupled electrolyser technology”, can deliver high-pressure green hydrogen safely at scale and at low cost.

Materials x Climate

Image Credits: Renewaball

🎾 Amsterdam-based Renewaball secured over €3 million to reduce the environmental impact of tennis and padel balls across Europe. Its fully circular balls, which it claims are a world first, are made from 100% organic wool and cotton from Europe, and contain no polyester or nylon.

🪵 US startup Cambium is building a recycled wood supply chain to prevent already-been-used wood from being routinely wasted, since currently only 5-10% of wood gets reused.

🤝 Finland’s Nordic Bioproducts Group is partnering with leading bioplastics producer PTT MCC Biochem Co. Ltd to advance the development of high-performance, compostable bioplastics products that will replace single-use items like coffee capsules.

🏭 Graphjet Technology, based in the US, is building a commercial artificial graphite production facility in Nevada where it will produce graphite and graphene directly from agricultural waste such as palm kernels.

Transport x Climate

Image Credits: HysetCo

🔋 Paris-based HysetCo secured nearly €200 million to accelerate hydrogen refuelling. Its integrated mobility solution is designed to facilitate a system-wide transition to hydrogen, and it has so far successfully converted over 500 professionals and now distributes nearly 30 tonnes of hydrogen every month.

📊 Researchers at the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed algorithms to regulate the operational parameters of power electronic converters, which are the cornerstone of EV charging hardware, to help ensure EV charging efficiency and reliability.

🔦 Voltpost, based in New York, debuted its technology that retrofits existing lampposts to enable EV charging, in conjunction with a consumer app, with a modular design that makes repairs and upgrades easier.

Water x Climate

Image Credits: Weenat

🌾 Weenat, based in France, closed its Series C funding round with €8 million. Its meteorological sensors monitor the water content of soil in the root zone, helping farmers to conserve water.

Funds x Climate

Image Credits: Quantonation Ventures

💽 Quantonation Ventures, headquartered in Boston and Paris, secured €70 million at the first close of its second early-stage quantum technology fund to support startups working within quantum computing technology.

🍚 The What; From field-level rice simulations to pinpoint strategies for emissions reductions to high-quality carbon credits that aim to incentivise farms to adopt more sustainable practices. Sustainable rice cultivation is an often overlooked (and underfunded) part of the climate solution stack that’s critical for a growing global population.

The Why; Rice production comes just behind the livestock sector when it comes to methane emissions, and on a CO2 equivalent basis, emits just as much CO2 as the global aviation industry.

📊 The Stats; It’s estimated that rice production is responsible for 2.5% of human-caused greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions overall, and 12% of global human-linked methane emissions (a potent GHG that, over a 20-year period, is 80x more powerful at warming our atmosphere than CO2).

👀 The Who; There are 10+ companies globally working on climate smart rice, including:
- Singaporean based Rize, formed through a joint venture between Temasek, Wavemaker Impact, Breakthrough Energy Ventures and GenZero to decarbonize rice cultivation in Asia.
- French based CarbonFarm who have raised $2.6M to date from leading VCs and are working on using satellite data and AI to provide the transparency necessary to incentivise sustainable agriculture practices.

💡 Learn more; Deep dive into the world of sustainable rice cultivation and the 10+ companies working in this space, along with expert insights from Ananke, Better Bite Ventures and Wavemaker Impact in our latest climate deep dive.

Community x Climate

Upcoming Free ClimateHacks Meetups in:

🇳🇱 Amsterdam: 17th April - “Carbon Dioxide Removal 101” with speakers from Carbon Rating, Skytree, SeaO₂. Register Here.

🇺🇸 San Francisco: 22nd April - “Dancing with Elephants - how startups and corporates can build impactful partnerships”. Register Here.

🇨🇭 Zürich: 23rd April - Closing the Loop: Innovating for a Circular Tomorrow with Impact Hub, Ponera Group, reCircle, Treeless Pack. Register Here.


🍷 Pretty much..

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Editorial by Arman, Curation by Nicola

Insider Tip: We have big announcements coming next week about the HackSummit - I highly, highly, recommend you get your tickets before then.