I'm writing today's edition from the backstage at the HackSummit where 950 founders, operators and investors across climate tech have been networking non stop for the last 36 hours.
You can find some of the highlights from Day 1 here, and if you're in the room today, come say hello 👋
In today's edition:🇸🇪 Swedish climate VC Pale blue dot raises €93 million 💨 Farmless out of stealth with a €1.2 million pre-seed🏍 German startup Wingcopter secured €40 million
Food x Climate
💨 Dutch startup Farmless (Portfolio co.) came out of stealth with a €1.2 million pre-seed equity round to turn renewable energy into food without arable land, using e-methanol and green ammonia to grow microbes as a single cell protein.
🚜 Canada-based ChrysaLabs secured $11 million for its smart farming technology, which offers real-time, reliable and low-cost soil insights. Users can have a complete soil analysis – including macronutrients, micronutrients, pH, organic matter, CEC, organic carbon, bulk density, moisture and more - within 30 seconds.
🧀 Fermify, based in Austria, secured $5 million seed funding in a round led by Climentum Capital. It will use the funds to accelerate commercialisation of its precision fermentation casein, for which it says it already has 45 global customers in the pipeline.
📊 Sweden’s Improvin’ raised €3.5 million seed funding to roll out its technology to the German, Belgian, French, and Dutch markets. Its sustainability performance platform helps agri-food companies to measure, report and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance biodiversity in their own value chain.
🧫 The European Food Safety Authority is launching a two-day scientific colloquium, Cell culture-derived foods, and food ingredients, to gather views and insights from relevant experts and stakeholders on the safety of novel foods, such as cultivated meat and microbial dairy proteins.
💡 FoodLabs launched the first-ever report on the European sustainable FoodTech & AgTech ecosystem, developed in partnership with Dealroom.co.
Energy x Climate
⚡️ Helion Energy announced an agreement to provide Microsoft with electricity from its first fusion power plant, having secured $2.2 billion in funding a couple of years ago to bring its technology to scale. Its plant is expected to be online by 2028 and has a power generation target of 50MW, or greater, with a one-year ramp-up period.
🇦🇺 Australia’s 2023 federal budget has earmarked $2 billion for a Hydrogen Headstart program, which will provide revenue support for large-scale renewable hydrogen projects, in the hope of delivering up to a gigawatt of electrolyser capacity by 2030 through two to three flagship projects.
🏭 Global thermal energy storage leader Brenmiller Energy Ltd. has inaugurated the world’s first gigafactory for thermal energy storage, which is expected to produce up to 4 GWh of its patented bGen™ TES modules annually.
🍐 Engineers at the University of Texas at El Paso have developed a low-cost, nickel-based material to split water, inspired by the prickly pear. The new material has a larger surface area to accommodate more electrochemical reactions, creating more hydrogen than nickel typically can.
🚀 Leading tidal energy developer Nova Innovation has been awarded a contract to explore green rocket fuel. The oxygen produced by its tidal energy projects, often a discarded by-product of green hydrogen production, though already used for aquaculture in this case, could also be used by the SaxaVord Space Centre, creating a 100% renewable rocket fuel.
💡 Good Read: Octopus Energy ranked number eight on CNBC’s 2023 Disruptor 50 list, and Sifted talked to its founder and CEO, Greg Jackson, about everything from ChatGPT to hydrogen heating and climate subsidies.
Materials x Climate
💼 Singapore’s ProjectEx, which claims to be the world’s first cultivated exotic leather company, is gearing up to raise $1 million to disrupt the luxury market.
🍅 Bioleather, based in India, has developed a biodegradable leather alternative made from tomato plant waste. It is made with two separate layers to eliminate the need for a layer of polyurethane, which is used in most plant-based leathers to improve durability.
Transport x Climate
🏍 German startup Wingcopter secured €40 million from the EIB for its sustainable electric delivery drones and logistics services, designed to replace carbon-intensive modes of transport such as motorcycles, vans and helicopters.
🚎 Bramble Energy, based in the UK, secured £12 million to develop a new hydrogen double-deck bus in partnership with Equipmake, Aeristech and the University of Bath. The bus will integrate Bramble’s low-cost printed circuit board fuel cell technology, Aeristech’s high efficiency air compressor, and Equipmake’s motor power electronics and battery management system.
🔋 Also in Germany, Voltfang raised €5 million to make EV batteries more sustainable. It builds and connects energy storage solutions from used EV batteries, and is now set to scale its technology.
🔌 UK-based Fuuse secured £2.5 million, in a round led by Par Equity, for its EV charging management software, which allows operators to manage their EV charging infrastructure by controlling access, use times and setting tariffs.
🪨 Tesla has officially broken ground on a Texas lithium refinery, which will produce enough battery-grade lithium for one million electric vehicles by 2025, and which makes it the only US automaker to refine its own lithium.
🚗 Hyundai Motor is set to invest $2.45 billion over the next ten years in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu to bolster its plans for electric vehicles in the country. Its India subsidiary will also assemble EV battery packs and install 100 charging stations for EVs across the next five years.
Funds x Climate
🇸🇪 Swedish climate VC Pale blue dot closed its second fund with €93 million, which it will use to support pre-seed and seed stage European and US-based food and agtech, industry, mobility, and fintech startups. It has invested in 28 companies so far, including UK-based Phytoform, which uses AI and genome editing to develop effective, novel crop traits, and French sustainable banking platform Green Got.
Thanks for reading, and have a great end to the week,