123Fab #99

1 topic, 2 key figures, 3 startups to draw inspiration from

People generally link global warming with carbon dioxide (CO2) but, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) explains, 30% of the increase in global temperature since pre-industrial levels is due to higher methane (CH4) concentrations in the atmosphere. This is because methane is extremely more effective at trapping heat.

Where does methane come from?

The IEA has estimated that 40% of methane comes from natural sources (wetlands, biomass burning…), and the remaining 60% from human activities (agriculture, oil & gas production, waste). The two pathways to methane production are:

  • Gas leaks – methane is the main component of natural gas. Thus, it can leak from pipelines and drilling.
  • Decomposition of organic matter – when organic matter is in oxygen-free environments, particular microbes called methanogens take the lead in breaking down the organisms. This process, called methanogenesis, leads to the creation of methane.

According to McKinsey, five industries could reduce global annual methane emissions by 20% by 2030 and 46% by 2050. Those are agriculture, oil and gas, coal mining, solid-waste management, and wastewater management.

What about methane capture from the air?

Methane is 200 times less abundant in the atmosphere than CO2 — a scarcity that makes removing it a technical challenge. Capturing methane would require processing a lot of air, which could require an extremely large amount of energy. And unlike CO2, which can be captured both physically and chemically in a variety of solvents and porous solids, methane is completely non-polar and interacts very weakly with most materials. However, researchers claim to have found a promising solution. A class of crystalline materials, called zeolites, capable of soaking up the gas. Regardless of this solution, the difficulty of capturing methane from the air is the reason why most technologies focus on oxidizing the greenhouse gas rather than “hooking” it out.

Startups are developing innovations to curb methane emissions

For the decomposition of organic matter:

  • in the gut of ruminants (like cows and cattle) – Australian startup Rumin8 and Swedish startup Volta Greentech are fighting this issue by developing seaweed-based nutritional supplements that inhibit methane production.
  • on landfills and wastewater – US startup LoCi Controls bolsters the methane capture process using solar-powered devices.
  • on wetlands – UK methane capture startup bluemethane has developed a technology to capture methane from water, enabling to mitigate the methane production from rice cultivation.

For gas leaks:

  • oil & gas production – UK startup Kuva Systems uses short-wave infrared cameras to autonomously monitor and alert oil and gas companies about methane leaks. Whereas US startup BioSqueeze has developed a biomineralization technology that seals miniscule leakage pathways in oil and gas wells.
  • melting permafrost – the trapped organic matter in the frozen seafloors or shallow seas is emitted when they thaw. US startup Blue Dot Change is investigating whether releasing ion particles into the exhaust steam of ship vessels crossing the ocean can accelerate the destruction of methane.

A methane tax just like carbon taxes

Norway was one of the first countries to introduce a carbon tax in 1991. Aside from carbon, the harmful gases regulated by the tax also include methane. All Oil & Gas operators on the country’s continental shelf are now required to report all methane emissions from their activities. As a result, studies show that the country has succeeded to consistently maintain low methane emissions. Canada is proposing to require companies to inspect their infrastructure monthly, fixing the leaks they find as part of efforts to reduce the sector’s methane emissions by 75% by 2030 (compared with 2012). Although the EU is among 150 signatories to the Global Methane Pledge – an agreement to cut emissions of methane by 30% – EU energy chief warned early March that the EU was lagging in the race to curb methane emissions. Since the proposals on methane in 2021, they have been watered down.

In short, methane will be critical to solving the net-zero equation. The good news is that mature technologies are at hand. From feed additives for cattle to new rice-farming techniques, to advanced approaches for oil and gas leak detection and landgas methane capture. Where costs are prohibitive, there is a need for coordinated action to create the infrastructure and fiscal conditions that would support further action. Finally, across the board, there is a need for more monitoring and implementation.

2 Key Figures

Budget of $60-110 billion annually up to 2030

Full deployment of the methane abatement measures would cost an estimated $150-$220 billion annually by 2040 and $230-$340 billion annually by 2050.


< 100 funded companies


3 startups to draw inspiration from

This week, we identified three startups that we can draw inspiration from: Kayrros, BioSqueeze and Rumin8.


French-based startup founded in 2016 which is a developer of an energy analytics platform for traders, investors, operators and governments. Kayrros powers part of the Global Methane Tracker.

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US-based startup founded in 2021 that has developed a biomineralization technology that seals miniscule leakage pathways in oil and gas wells.

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Australian-based startup founded in 2021 which is a manufacturer of seaweed-based nutritional supplements for livestock that inhibit methane production. The startup is backed by Bill Gates’ fund Breakthrough Energy Ventures.

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123Fab #98

1 topic, 2 key figures, 3 startups to draw inspiration from

As hard-to-abate industries increasingly foster deep decarbonization strategies, green hydrogen produced from renewables via water electrolysis is expected to be at the very heart of the energy transition. However, at present, water electrolysis accounts for only about 0.03% of global hydrogen production. This is largely due to the high cost of green hydrogen (>$5/kg versus <$1.5 for grey hydrogen) due in part to the high cost of electrolyzer systems. 

In this newsletter, we will examine trends in water electrolyzer innovation that reduce their cost.

Water electrolyzers are electrochemical devices used to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen in the presence of an electrical current. Electrolyzers are divided into four main technologies: alkaline, proton exchange membrane (PEM), anion exchange membrane (AEM) and solid oxide. Alkaline and PEM electrolyzers are the most common, produced on a commercial scale (TRL 9). AEMs are catching up in development, at TRL 6, with the development led by German startup Enapter. As for solid oxide, it is still being demonstrated with German startup Sunfire. To learn more about the technical differences, check out the IRENA report here.

Looking at the evolution of patent filings, we can detect trends in the uptake of new technologies to facilitate the implementation of large-scale green hydrogen use. Indeed, the number of water electrolysis-related patent families published worldwide has increased by 18% per year since 2005. In fact, they have surpassed the number of those related to solid, liquid and oil-based hydrogen sources. Five groups of sub-technologies stand out: (i) cell operation conditions and structure, (ii) electrocatalyst material, (iii) separators (diaphragms, membranes), (iv) stackability of electrolyzers (stacks) and (v) photoelectrolysis.

Cell operation

In an effort to improve efficiency, various electrolyzer cell operating parameters, such as higher temperature, higher pressure and zero gap cell unit design, are being explored to make them more cost-effective over a wider range of operating conditions. Danish startup Hymeth (PEM electrolyzer) has developed a high-pressure electrolyzer that operates at higher efficiency than conventional PEM technologies.

Electrocatalyst materials

Scarce materials (yttrium, titanium, iridium, platinum, zirconium) are a major barrier to the cost and scale-up of electrolyzers. Yet, the surge in patents related to non-noble metal electrocatalysts indicates that R&D is moving forward to finding new solutions to mitigate material scarcity. US startups Alchemr (AEM electrolyzers) and H2U Technologies (PEM electrolyzers) have developed electrolyzers that do not require noble metals as catalysts.

Separators (diaphragms, membranes)

Reducing the thickness of membranes increases efficiency, which in turn reduces electricity consumption. Danish startup Hystar has developed an electrolyzer that claims to reduce membrane thickness by up to 90% compared to conventional PEM technologies.

Stackability of electrolyzers (stacks)

Electrodes, bipolar plates and porous transport layers can contribute significantly to the stack cost. Improvements in these components, including scaling up their manufacturing, can lead to lower capital costs.


Water photoelectrolysis (water splitting using light as the energy source) is a strong, newly emerging technology. In terms of patent filings, it remains a niche technology, accounting for 6.5% of all water electrolysis patents. Yet, 37% are international patent families, which underscores the importance that applicants place on protecting their inventions outside the domestic market. A prototype of photo-assisted electrolyzer has been developed by ENGIE’s R&D laboratory CRIGEN and US startup Nanoptek.

Europe and Japan account for more than 50% of the total number of international patents in these 5 sub-technology areas. Leading players include Toshiba (JP), CEA (FR), Panasonic (JP), Siemens (DE) and Honda (JP). While Europe leads in the stackability of electrolyzers (stacks) (41% of the total patents in this area), electrocatalyst material (34%) and cell operation conditions and structure (32%), Japan ranks first in photoelectrolysis (39%) and separators (diaphragms, membranes) (36%). Chinese international patents account for only about 4% across the five technology areas but China dominates in terms of the number of pure domestic patent filings.

In short, green hydrogen technology has the potential to decarbonize numerous hard-to-abate industries. The upward trend in patent filings signals that more will soon be filed, addressing the urgent need for new solutions to lower the cost of electrolyzers, while increasing technological efficiency and production capacity. Case to be followed…

2 Key Figures

Market size of $5 billion in 2021

The global electrolyzer market size was estimated at $5.6 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $69.1 billion by the end of 2030, with a registered CAGR of 32.21% from 2022 to 2030.


85 funded companies


3 startups to draw inspiration from

This week, we identified three startups that we can draw inspiration from: Lhyfe, SunGreenH2 and Advanced Ionics.


French-based startup founded in 2017 which is a developer of green hydrogen plants. The first was inaugurated in 2021, connected to offshore wind turbines.

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Singapore-based startup founded in 2020 which is a manufacturer of new generation components for electrolyser cells, stacks and systems. Products include PEM electrolyzers, AEM electrolyzers and solar-to-hydrogen panels.

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Advanced Ionics

US-based startup founded in 2016 which is a manufacturer of a new class of electrloyzers. Claims to operate at temperatures from 100°C to 650°C, in between those of alkaline, PEM and solid oxide electrolyzers.

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Among the numerous decarbonization solutions under development, three major carbon capture applications stand out today: industrial point source carbon capture, direct air capture (DAC) and bioenergy with carbon capture. Although industrial point source carbon capture appears to be the main focus for most decarbonization roadmaps thanks to increasingly mature and cost-effective technologies driving greater deployment across industrial sites, several challenges must be addressed before it can reach sufficient scale, including policy and regulatory support, access to funding, public acceptance and further cost improvement.

Carbon Capture-as-a-Service (CCaaS) is a business model that is gaining ground in part to circumvent the huge CAPEX hurdles encountered in these type of infrastructure projects. By opting for a one-stop shop solution that handles the entire value chain, hard-to-abate industries can pay to capture their CO2 emissions on a per-ton basis, while other specialized actors take on the risk (and potential financial reward) of managing the full value chain from capture to utilization or storage.

In January, Aster Fab moderated a panel featuring Tim Cowan (VP Corporate Development at Carbon Clean), Silvia Gentilucci (Technology Onshore Planning at SAIPEM) and Michael Evans (CEO of Cambridge Carbon Capture) to discuss the strengths and prospects of the CCaaS business model.

Takeaways from the discussion included:

CCUS adoption must increase 120-fold by 2050 for countries to meet their net-zero commitments

According to the latest Global Carbon Budget published in November 2022, if emissions are not reduced through decarbonization technologies such as Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS), the world will have exhausted its 1.5°C carbon budget – the cumulative amount of CO2 emissions permitted over a period of time to keep within the 1.5°C threshold – in nine years. Indeed, the equation highlighted is quite simple: there are about 380Gt of CO₂-equivalent emissions left in the 1.5°C budget, and right now we use just over 40Gt of it each year.

As such, CCUS is recognized as a necessary piece of the decarbonization jigsaw, but the adoption isn’t moving fast enough. According to a McKinsey analysis, CCUS adoption must increase 120-fold by 2050 for countries to achieve their net-zero reduction goals, reaching at least 4.2 gigatons per annum (GTPA) of CO₂ captured.

The scale of the challenge to achieve net zero is so huge that we need all the best ideas. For hard-to-abate industry executives in the audience, you’re probably looking at energy efficiency as well as alternative fuels. But you’ll still have CO₂ in your process. That’s why we believe carbon capture is a necessary piece of the decarbonization puzzle and CycloneCC, our fully modular technology, will make carbon capture simple, afforable, and scalable.

VP Corporate Development at Carbon Clean

Carbon Capture-as-a-Service (CCaaS): shifting capital cost to service providers, thereby allowing emitters to focus on their primary activities

In 2021, Decarb Connect conducted a benchmarking survey of industry attitudes towards CCUS that revealed that 65% of executives working in hard-to-abate industries see CCUS as ‘critical’ or ‘important’ for reaching their 2030/2050 goals. It also reveals that 41% are favorable to as CCaaS model, while 59% prefer a mix of funded and owned CCUS. In other words, no executive opted for the traditional model of owning and operating the infrastructure themselves.

Thus, the CCaaS business model appears to be a promising way to accelerate the adoption of carbon capture technology for industrial players:

  • No required upfront capital expenditure
  • Duty to contract with each player of the value chain is delegated

“At Carbon Clean, we use our leading technology to capture CO₂. and will work with partners to provide the other crucial elements of the value chain: compression, transportation, sequestration or utilization. Our mission is to work with industrial partners to offer an end-to-end handling of our customers’ CO₂.” Tim Cowan, VP Corporate Development at Carbon Clean.

Scaling the CCUS industry will require action by governments and investors

Tax credits, direct subsidies and price support mechanisms are beginning to encourage investment in CCUS. The US, for example, has a 45Q-tax credit that provides a fixed payment per ton of carbon dioxide sequestered or used. The IRA (Inflation Reduction Act) has increased the amount of the credit from $50 to $85 a ton for sequestered industrial or power emission, and from $50 to $180 a ton for emissions captured from the atmosphere and sequestered.  In other words, they provide a direct revenue stream immediately improving the investment case for low-carbon technologies, such as CCUS. What the IRA calls tax credits, the EU calls State Aid. Yet, the panelists affirm that while the EU led the whole decarbonization movement for 30 years, the EU is now behind in terms of policy.

It is going to be very challenging for CCUS as it currently stands to make the whole thing stack up. I don’t think the carbon tax will be the viable way forward in the long-term. We need other incentives, as the US are currently doing with the IRA. Many innovative policies are starting to come out of the US and this will encourage innovative companies to set up operations there, giving the US a competitive advantage over the UK and EU in what will become a significant new industry.

CEO of Cambridge Carbon Capture

There is a need to scale the whole carbon capture value chain

Another element is the uneven distribution of storage sites across Europe. Often illustrated as the ‘chicken and egg’ paradox, there is a need to scale the value chain as a whole, including storage infrastructure. Indeed, a carbon capture plant will not start operating until the captured CO₂ can be transported and then either permanently stored or used.  Similarly, no large-scale carbon storage project will be financed without clear commitments regarding the origin and volume of CO2 to be stored, as it determines the financial viability of the overall project.

In Italy, there are plans to build infrastructure using depleted reservoirs in the Adriatic Sea for local storage of CO₂. Without adequate transportation and storage infrastructure, industry will not be able to adopt carbon capture technologies.

Technology Onshore Planning at SAIPEM

Norway’s Longship project, which is sponsored by the Norwegian government, aims to solve this problem by supporting the whole value chain from carbon capture to transportation and storage. Captured emissions will be transported by tankship and stored deep underground using Northern Light’s open-access CO₂ transport and storage infrastructure.

Garnering public support

Finally, speakers also emphasized that addressing public concerns around the safety of these technologies will be paramount. Communicating that carbon capture is safe, effective and a needed method of climate change mitigation, can help bring people on-board and ensure that projects overcome development hurdles. “I think honesty in the media about the situation would be a true incentive. If the public understood how urgent the situation is, and understood more about the technology, there would be a lot more action”. Michaels Evans, CEO of Cambridge Carbon Capture

123Fab #97

1 topic, 2 key figures, 3 startups to draw inspiration from

Although 3D printing seems to have been a brief trend for end consumers, the additive manufacturing (AM) market continues to experience significant growth, with a market size valued at $35 bn in 2021 and projected to reach $420 bn by 2030.

The AM industry is led largely by the U.S. market with $8 billion in funding, far head Europe at $1.4 billion or China at $700 million. In fact, AM technologies are slowly getting cheaper, faster and most importantly, bigger. In addition, AM technologies can deliver products with improved environmental footprint by reducing waste within production processes, enabling on-demand customized items, as well as more local production, with lower embedded CO2 footprint.

Historically, the aerospace and defense industries pioneered AM solutions in the 1990s to create complex, low-volume parts and custom tooling quickly and efficiently. The automotive industry followed, taking advantage of the opportunities to explore different layouts, aesthetics and functions to speed up the final product design. The use of 3D printing for prototyping, market testing and custom products then expanded and marked the beginning of the ponctual use for additive manufacturing in industries.

While industries such as food, education and robotics are increasing their use of 3D printing, sectors at the forefront of AM innovations because of the individualized production possibilities are construction and healthcare (California’s Manufacturing Network).

Additive manufacturing is enabling healthcare, and in particular the medical and dental sectors, to create implants, prosthetics, surgical guides, medical equipment, molds, wearables and tools.  No two wounds or bodies are the same and the democratization of customization of prosthetics, wearables and implants on a global scale is an industry-shattering innovation. Major companies such as HP, Siemens and Dassault Systems have already adopted 3D printing technologies to produce medical devices (Medical Device Network).

In the construction sector, large-scale 3D printing is creating building components, structural beams, architectural facades and transforming the industry (AllPlan). Historically, 3D printing production in construction was isolated and separated from a conventional manufacturing process. With larger-scale additive manufacturing technologies, 3D printing can take place directly on construction sites and create an integrated production environment. For example, Vinci Construction acquired French startup XtreeE, founded in 2016, which offers automated construction of various types of architecture and thus creates entire building structures.

Nevertheless, AM is still relatively new and need further performance improvement and cost reduction in order to reach large scale deployment across most industries. Regulatory and safety concerns also currently limit the spread of 3D printing applications.

Looking at the trends in the AM market, a few patterns emerge:

  • An acquisition model is emerging: thriving additive manufacturing companies aim to acquire materials and/or software companies to combine expertise.
  • 3D printing continues to industrialize, alongside the growing need for post-processing automation and software solutions to enable the large-scale printing desired by many industries for end-to-end AM workflow.
  • Continued focus on industrial sustainability. The Additive Manufacturing Green Trade Association (AMGTA) is growing rapidly and now has over 50 members.
  • The tremendous importance that data management will play in securing intellectual property within industrial processes.

2 Key Figures

Market size of $14 billion in 2021

The market was valued at $14 bn in 2021 and is projected to reach $78 bn by 2030, at a CAGR of 21%.

863 funded companies


3 startups to draw inspiration from

This week, we identified three startups that we can draw inspiration from: CyBe, Prellis Biologics and Sakuu.


Dutch-based startup founded in 2013 that develops 3D concrete printers and mortar for enabling 3D printing in construction.

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Prellis Biologics

US-based startup founded in 2016 that is using 3D bioprinting technology to build human tissues for drug development and develop human organs for transplantation.

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US-based startup founded in 2016 which provides AI-enabled desktop 3D battery printers for automotive applications.

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123Fab #96

1 topic, 2 key figures, 3 startups to draw inspiration from

As the market for electric vehicles accelerates rapidly, so does the investment in charging infrastructure needed to support this growing market. While the vast majority of EV charging now takes place at home and at work, widespread, open-access public charging infrastructure will be essential to support EV drivers beyond early adopters.

In the past, proprietary electric vehicle charging technologies competed for market share. But this has changed in recent years, with pressure from regulators and automakers to provide EV drivers with a smoother, more reliable and interoperable charging experience.

Charging station interoperability

The technology behind charging station interoperability is universal roaming. It is analogous to the use of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), which allow a consumer to access funds from any bank. Similarly, universal roaming allows an EV driver who is a member of a single network to access and pay at any public EV charger. 

This therefore requires billing interoperability for which two business models exist:

  • Peer-to-peer: bilateral roaming agreements are signed between two charging network providers to allow customers of one network to use and pay for charging at their competitors’ stations. The standard underlying peer-to-peer roaming is the Open Charge Point Interface (OCPI).
  • Hub: a single neutral party acts as an intermediate data clearinghouse and contracts with each individual network service provider. This obviates the need for multiple individual contracts between all providers. The standard underlying hub roaming is ISO 15118.

The second business model, which bypasses the bureaucracy required by bilateral agreements, is the one that is gaining the most ground. Hub players include Hubject (German startup), Gireve (French),  e-clearing.net (German startup), Mobi.E (Portugal startup) and others. Hubject is the leading player with over 1,000 B2B partners in over 52 countries and 4 continents, while the other 3 players are based in Europe.

Hub players are taking interoperability a step further with Plug & Charge. It enables automated authentication and billing processes between the EV and the charging station without the need for RFID cards, credit/debit cards, or charging apps, while ensuring secure transactions.

Vehicle-to-grid interoperability

Interoperability goes beyond billing. Indeed, bidirectional, vehicle-to-grid, or V2G, charging technology will be crucial to EV adoption and avoiding worst-case energy scenarios as EV charging demand surges. General Motors, for example, launched GM Energy in October. It includes GM’s Ultium Home and Ultium Commercial lines. Both will offer products and services that enable bidirectional charging to increase the grid’s reliability. Ford, meanwhile, has marketed the ability of its F-150 Lightning electric pickup to power a home in the event of a blackout. V2G technology has the potential to open up new revenue streams for automakers as they become more intertwined with the power grid.

Physical charging interface interoperability

After seeing a myriad of charging plugs spur, fragmentation has been mitigated. In EuropeCombined Charging System (CCS) is the standard: AC and DC charging sit in one plug. In Japan, the standard is CHAdeMO which will be adopted this year by China. While in the US, it’s Tesla’s Supercharger. But charging goes beyond wiring. Austrian startup Easelink raised €8.3M in January last year and is pioneering new technology. Its conductive charging system, named ‘Matrix Charging’, has the ambition to set up an automated charging network for electric vehicles without the driver ever stepping out or handling the charging cable. It consists of two main components: a vehicle unit attached to the vehicle’s underbody – Matrix Charging Connector – and an infrastructure unit at the parking space – Matrix Charging Pad.

In short, harmonization of technology standards and interoperability between the electric vehicle (EV) and the grid are making inroads. Similarly, widespread public charging access is being bolstered by uberization platforms such as French startup Werenode which enables private owners to provide access to their charging points. Thus, all stakeholders in public EV infrastructure— including EVSPs, electric companies, EV supply equipment OEMs, and automakers—must continue to join forces to streamline system integration and improve customer experience.

2 Key Figures

EV charging projected to reach $420 bn by 2030

The market was valued at $35 bn in 2021 and is projected to reach $420 bn by 2030, at a CAGR of 32%.

537 funded companies


3 startups to draw inspiration from

This week, we identified three startups that we can draw inspiration from: Hubject, Easlink and Werenode.


Germany-based startup founded in 2012 that is the leading e-Roaming platform in Europe giving EV drivers a seamless charging experience across borders. Hubject is backed by Enel X.

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Austria-based startup founded in 2004 that has developed a wireless EV charging system, using its Matrix Charging system. Easelink is backed by EnBW and Wien Energie.

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France-based startup founded in 2018 that has developed a decentralized marketplace, leveraging blockchain, so that anyone can share their EV charging station. Fiat, XTZ or WRC tokens can be used to pay charging sessions.

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123Fab #95

1 topic, 2 key figures, 3 startups to draw inspiration from

Generating renewable power is vital to the world’s decarbonization efforts. But so too will be developing the energy storage systems that are required at times when the intermittency of solar and wind power prevents energy production. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA)’s Net Zero scenario, installed grid-scale battery storage capacity expands 44-fold between 2021 and 2030 to 680 GW.

Amongst the various stationary battery energy systems, lithium-ion batteries have been stealing the spotlight in recent few years due to their success in e-mobility. While they account for 90% of battery applications, even lithium iron phosphate, the most competitive type of lithium-ion battery, is beginning to look economically uncompetitive compared to emerging, alternative solutions. Last week’s announcement by BASF Stationary Energy Storage GmbH (wholly owned subsidiary of BASF SE) and G-Philos (Korea’s leader in power-to-gas technology) to intensify their cooperation on sodium-sulfur (NAS) stationary batteries is an example of this.

But what are the other alternatives in the space?

A number of companies are working on new battery chemistries based on zinc, iron and other low-cost materials. Fundraising in the startup ecosystem is a strong signal:

  • Form Energy (United States) raised $450M in October 2022 and has developed an iron-air battery
  • H2 (South Korea) raised $15M in October 2021 and has developed a vandium redox flox battery
  • EnerVenue (United States) raised $137M in September 2021 and has developed a nickel-hydrogen battery
  • Ambri (United States) raised $144M in August 2021 and has developed a high-temperature calcium-antimony battery 
  • Sila NanoTechnologies (United States) raised $600M in January 2021 and has developed a silicon battery
  • Tiamat (France) raised $4.2M in October 2018 and has developed a sodium-ion battery

Researchers are also exploring other chemistries such as aluminium-ion batteries (paper) and potassium-ion batteries (paper). Indeed, aluminium is one of the most abundant materials on earth (reducing the cost) and has demonstrated great potential for high energy density systems. Although at a more embryonic stage, the significant advantage of potassium is also its abundance.

Many of these batteries already rival lithium-ion in capabilities but are lagging in capital investiture and manufacturing infrastructure, playing catch-up with an already established sector of the industry. Thus, the European Commission has notably launched the NAIADES (sodium-ion batteries), SOLSTICE (sodium-zinc batteries) and CARBAT (calcium-ion batteries) projects to help fund the research in these spaces. Live installations are also visible. France-based startup Tiamat, developer of a sodium-ion battery, has joined forces with Plastic Omnium in the automotive industry and with Startec to extend applications to other hybrid industries such as rail and aerospace. While Schlumberger has invested and signed a collaboration agreement with EnerVenue, developer of a nickel-hydrogen battery.

In short, lithium-ion batteries will continue to dominate battery technology for stationary energy storage in the short term, driven by the EV sector. But in the long term, alternatives to lithium-ion are set to play an increasingly important role in stationary energy battery storage systems.

2 Key Figures

The stationary battery market is projected to reach $224.3 bn by 2030

The market was valued at $31.2 bn in 2021 and is projected to reach $224.3 bn by 2030, at a CAGR of 24.9%

>30 funded companies


3 startups to draw inspiration from

This week, we identified three startups that we can draw inspiration from: Form Energy, H2 and Tiamat.

Form Energy

US-based startup founded in 2009 that has developed an iron-air energy storage system for renewable energy storage. Claims to store energy at less than 1/10th the cost of lithium-ion battery technology.

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South Korea-based startup founded in 2010 that has developed a vandium redox flox battery. This month the startup begun construction of a factory with 330MWh annual manufacturing capacity in the city of Gyeryong-si, one year after the 20MWh project in California.

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France-based startup founded in 2017 that has developed a sodium-ion battery. Partnerships include Plastic Omnium and Startec.

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123Fab #94

1 topic, 2 key figures, 3 startups to draw inspiration from

In September, Munich-based startup Orcan Energy raised €28.5M from investors, including TiLT capital (French private equity investment) and existing investor Air Liquid Venture Capital. The startup’s technology is designed to turn waste heat into clean electricity. With 502 modules worldwide, Orcan Energy is the world’s second largest supplier of waste heat-to-power technologies, behind Ormat, a power generator that has been operating internationally since 1965 with 1,226 solutions.

This fundraising round reflects the trend of increasing global demand for waste heat recovery solutions. Indeed, the global market was valued at $59.4 bn in 2020 and is projected to reach $114.7 bn by 2028, at a CAGR of 9.2%. The main drivers are rising fuel and electricity prices, as well as the imperative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across all industrial sectors. Indeed, waste heat is a primary source of recoverable energy loss, offering significant potential for greenhouse gas emissions reduction. Total waste heat emissions account for 23 –53% of global input energy, with a range of theoretical recovery potentials of 6–12% (Oxford University).

Industrial waste heat is, by definition, the excess heat produced during industrial processes which is releasted into the environment. Residual heat sources are transferred by conduction, convection and radiation. There are three categories: losses at high-temperature (> 400°C) which mostly arise from the direct combustion processes; at medium-temperature (200 – 400°C) from the exhaust gases in combustion units; at low-temperature (< 200°C) from parts, products and equipment of the treatment units. Low-temperature losses represent the largest share accounting for a total of 66%, 29% for medium-temperature and 5% for high-temperature (Interreg Central Europe).

But which waste heat recovery (WHR) technologies exist? And what are their maturity?

Technologies can be categorized as passive or active technologies. This depends on whether external energy input is required or not.

  • Heat exchange (passive): contains the technologies through which the recovered waste heat is used directly at the same or lower temperature (e.g., plate heat exchanger, thermal energy storage systems)
  • Waste heat to heat (active): through which recovered waste heat is used to produce thermal energy at a higher temperature level (e.g., heat pumps, mechanical steam compression);
  • Waste heat to cold (active): contains the technologies through which recovered waste heat is used to produce cooling energy (e.g., absorption and adsorption chillers);
  • Waste heat to power (active): contains the technologies through which recovered waste heat is converted into electricity (e.g., Organic Rankine cycles, Kalina cycles, Supercritical CO2 cycles, etc.);

The underlined technologies are the most representative of their category.

Numerous industries can benefit from waste heat recovery systems such as glass manufacturing, cement manufacturing, iron and steel manufacturing, aluminum production, metal casting, industrial boilers, ethylene furnaces, etc. As such, pilot projects have been developed by leading players in the space.

Cement manufacturing

CEMEX has joined forces with Orcan Energy for the establishment of a waste heat recovery plant at its Rüdersdorf, Brandenburg, cement plant. Orcan Energy will supply six generator modules for the installation using its Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) technology.

Chemical and petrochemical

BASF and MAN Energy Solutions have entered into a strategic partnership to pursue the construction of an industrial-scale heat pump at the BASF site in Ludwigshafen.

Glass manufacturing

Beginning of the year, Saint-Gobain announced its plans to install heat recovery technology at its gypsum wallboard plant in Vancouver.

Iron and steel manufacturing

Tata Steel UK took part in the H2020-funded project “Industrial thermal energy recovery conversion and management”.

Yet, there are practical limits (technical and economic) with respect to the recovery potential of those losses. Factors that influence the feasibility of WHR options include heat quantity, heat temperature (quality), composition and logistical constraints like operating schedules and availability. As such, there are no particular barriers to heat recovery at high temperatures: this process is more feasible, mainly due to the availability of more mature technologies and the greater energetic efficiencies involved, which results in a more immediate economic return. As regards to low temperatures, the situation is different; due to its low exergy, low-grade waste heat is more difficult to capture & use.

In short, waste heat recovery has significant potential to increase energy efficiency in industry. Accounting for two thirds of the share, many low-grade heat recovery technologies have been developed in the last decade such as Organic Rankine Cycles (ORC), heat pumps (HP), various heat exchangers, and many other technologies under development. To accelerate their adoption, as well as to educate stakeholders on the topic, numerous Horizon Europe-funded projects have flourished. These include TASIO, LOWUPEU-MERCI and more.

2 Key Figures

The waste heat recovery market is projected to reach $114.7 bn by 2028

The market was valued at $59.4 bn in 2020 and is projected to reach $114.7 bn by 2028, at a CAGR of 9.2%

38 funded companies


3 startups to draw inspiration from

This week, we identified three startups that we can draw inspiration from: Orcan Energy, FutraHeat and Water Horizon.

Orcan Energy

German-based startup founded in 2008 that uses Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) technology to turn low-temperature waste heat into clean electricity. They have sold more than 500 modules globally.

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England-based startup founded in 2021 that uses high-temperature heat pumps called TurboClaw® to turn waste heat into steam. FutraHeat has joined forces with Honeywell.

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Water Horizon

France-based startup founded in 2017 that uses a thermochemical process to recover and store waste heat into mobile thermal batteries. Water Horizon was an EDF Pulse laureate in 2020.

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123Fab #91

1 topic, 2 key figures, 3 startups to draw inspiration from

Biologists from the University of Oregon have discovered an average of 7,000 different types of bacteria on smartphone screens. While most of these are also present in the human body, some can pose a pathogenic threat to weaker individuals, especially the elderly. In response to this, and boosted by the growing concern for cleanliness related to the covid 19 pandemic,  various industries have witnessed the rapid development of antimicrobial materials,  capable of inhibiting or killing the microbes on their surface or within their surroundings.

There are different types of antimicrobial materials in various sectors: glass, plastics and polymers, and textiles.


Antimicrobial glass is an innovative product for protection against microbes and it applies to many sectors: health, information technology, and optics with supports such as windows, screens, or glasses. Various operating principles for antibacterial glass have been developed in recent years. The AGC Glass group has been a pioneer in the sector, marketing an antibacterial glass based on the application of a layer of silver ions to the surface of the glass sheet in 2007. These ions interrupt the division mechanism of the bacteria that settle on it, disrupt its metabolism and then lead to its destruction. On the other hand, the International Institute of Technology uses another technique, based on the properties of titanium oxide exposed to ultraviolet light on several coatings (glass, silicon wafers, aluminum foil, etc.) to prevent the development of microbes inside spacecraft. Startups are not left behind, as illustrated by Kastus, which received in June 2020 a grant from the European Commission to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year it completed a €5.65 million Series A funding round to further develop its light-powered anti-viral surface protection technology, which has already received 46 granted and pending patents. It is currently working in partnership with a number of global brands such as Lenovo, Lavazza, and Kone, and its technology is applied to phone screens, tablets, cars, and optics.


Similarly, antimicrobial plastics continue to make a difference in many aspects of everyday life. Antimicrobial plastics are treated in the same way as glass, with some using silver ions on the polymers to inhibit the growth of bacteria. Premix Group, a global manufacturer of electrically conductive and antimicrobial plastics, has developed its Prexelent technology, which stores pine rosin, the active agent, inside the plastic. Rosin is activated by moisture or liquid to combat many types of harmful microbes – moulds, viruses and bacteria on the surface of polymers such as engineering plastics, polystyrene and PVC. Other techniques, such as the group Microban International‘s, use the antibacterial properties of zinc to develop a technology that, when added to plastic, penetrates the cell wall of the microbe to annhilate it. This is also the technology that startup Parx Materials has built on to develop their antimicrobial and antibiofilm technology. Named one of the top 3 technology startups in Europe in the European Commission’s 2014 Tech All Stars competition, it raised €1 million in 2020. Their product Saniconcentrates™ can be added to packaging films, especially films in direct contact with food, to prevent micro-organisms from accumulating on the surface of a product, thus prolonging its shelf life, but also to prevent cross-contamination in shopping bags or on conveyor belts.


Antimicrobial textiles are in vogue, particularly since the covid-19 crisis but more widely in a variety of applications from household to commercial, including air filters, healthcare, hygiene, medicine and sportswear. Different types of antimicrobial textiles exist, including antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral. While historic generalist groups dominate the market, such as Biocote, which offers a range of antimicrobial silver-based additives to be introduced into the textile manufacturing process to make it resistant to microbes, start-ups are also emerging in parallel. Muse Nanobots startup, a subsidiary of the IIT Madras-incubated Muse Wearables startup, has developed methods to coat textiles with nanoparticle-based antimicrobial agents capable of inactivating viruses with up to 99% reduction within the first 5 minutes of contact. These coatings are expected to be effective for up to 60 washes, allowing the textile to keep its properties over a long period. Fabiosys Innovations, another startup created in 2018, has developed an affordable high-performance medical textile Fabium based on a technology called Hi-PAT. It is  highly effective against bacteria, viruses and fungi and can be moulded into any type of fabric: natural, synthetic and blended with applications in healthcare, hospitality and clothing.

Finally, it is clear that antibacterial materials have been in vogue for some years and have been boosted by the coronavirus crisis, which has brought health issues to the forefront. Several techniques coexist and are applied to different materials. The large groups in the sector are regularly challenged by start-ups developing new technologies. However, the extensive use of antibacterials may increase the resistance of certain strains, which will have every opportunity to proliferate. This is a potential limitation of the application of these materials.

2 Key Figures

+ $622M invested in antimicrobial coatings


The antimicrobial coatings market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.8% from 2022 to 2030

It was valued at $9.0bn in 2021 – Grand View Research

3 startups to draw inspiration from

This week, we identified three startups that we can draw inspiration from: Kastus, Parx Materials, Fabiosys Innovations.


The  Irish startup has developed patented visible light-activated, photocatalytic, antimicrobial coatings. The coatings prevent the growth of bacteria on the surface it has been applied to, such as glass, ceramics, and touchscreens, with no negative side effects for the end-user. The startup was a finalist of the Med Tech Award 2020.

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Parx Materials

The Dutch startup has developed a passive-acting polymer technology based on a physical anti-adhesive principle to keep surfaces free of microbes, viruses, biofilm, dirt and mould. The technology does not use harmful or toxic chemicals, biocides, heavy metals, or nanoparticles. It can be used with almost any type of plastic.

Read more

Fabiosys Innovations

The Indian startup has developed the Fabium technology, a high-performance fabric that destroys around 99.9% bacteria and viruses in 30 minutes. The product is thoroughly tested and ISO certified. It can be moulded into any type of fabric: natural, synthetic, and had applications in healthcare, hospitality and clothing.

Read more

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