Keep Cool- 04/03/2022
By Nick Van Osdol
DEALS IN FOCUS
In many ways, I want to take today’s Deal’s in focus section to reiterate things I’ve written about and observed over the past few weeks. Many of the most noteworthy deals this week stand out to me because they corroborate some of the key focal areas we’ve honed in on at Keep Cool in 2022.
More greenshoots in green hydro
Green hydrogen would have made a slightly longer list in the Q1 ‘22 roundup of key trends in climate and climate tech we sent out on Thursday. It has definitely been a climate tech vertical in focus to start the year. Whether on the side of companies scaling up to produce hydrogen in a low-carbon way or ‘clean’ technologies that will require hydrogen, there’s been a lot of deal flow.
The majority of this conversation has focused on green hydrogen in industry. Production processes from steel to fertilizer leverage hydrogen considerably. And most hydrogen today is produced via fossil fuel intensive processes.
This week, we saw a blockbuster deal out of Germany that runs a bit contrary to the focus on industrial applications. Even though it feels like we’ve forgotten about hydrogen power fuel cell vehicles in the U.S, Germany hasn’t.
H2 Mobility raised $120M+ from a bevy of players, including oil & gas majors like Total and Shell, to continue to improve and expand infrastructure needed for hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles across Europe. Their initial focus is to build 100 fueling stations in major metropolitan areas across Germany.
In parallel, last week we discussed another German company,, Sunfire‘s $215M raise. Sunfire produces electrolysers, which are the tech that can split hydrogen molecules out of water with electricity. This process, ‘electrolysis’, can be carbon-free when powered by renewable energy.
I frankly don’t have a fully fledged opinion on whether hydrogen fuel cell powered cars are largely a distraction from EVs. If you put a gun to my head, I’d say yes.
What’s noteworthy for me here is that it’s an example of significant investment all the way up and down the green hydrogen value chain. Whether or not hydrogen fuel cell powered cars ever truly take off, green hydrogen developers have another feather in their cap short-term to make their case to investors.
And in case all of the above wasn’t enough? Check out these plans for a 60GW (you read that right) ‘Hydrogen City’. Everything’s bigger in Texas.
Doubling (tripling?) down on carbon capture
Carbon capture tech and carbon markets did make my list of 5 key trends for Q1 ‘22. In reviewing announcements from last week, there’s another example of a massive investment in the space to close out the quarter.
Entropy is a Canadian developer of modular carbon capture technologies. Entropy’s approach to carbon removal involves a modular technology that focuses on point of source emissions, e.g. deploying on oil & gas processing plants or cement & steel production operations. The tech was first deployed at Glacier Gas plant in Alberta and is forecast to abate up to 200k tonnes of emissions by 2023. That’d be 50x the emissions removal of the largest currently operational direct air capture facility. Here’s the kicker on the tech and its value from the press release:
“Entropy has acquired and developed numerous innovations that have driven carbon capture and storage costs down to the point where post-combustion projects (including capture, transport and storage) are economically viable at carbon pricing of USD$40/tonne”
Brookfield Renewable provided Entropy with ~$300M in backing alongside opportunities for significantly more capital in the future. That’s one of the biggest investments in carbon capture, and is another great signpost of just how much attention & capital is being paid on emissions removals. It’s also a nice addition to the spectrum of carbon capture projects I previously covered, as a lot of fundraising has been focused on direct air capture, nature-based carbon removal solutions, or carbon marketplace technology players.
Here’s an uncomfortable question to close on. Is there too much focus on removals vs. reducing emissions? Perhaps. The vast majority of decarbonization will have to come from the reduction side of the equation, even if technological ability to remove emissions scales heroically over coming decades. Food for thought!
DEAL HEAT 🔥
Here are financing rounds and new funds that caught our eyes this week 🙇.
📊 Deepki raised $166M in Series C funding for its ESG SaaS platform + consulting business that helps real estate developers decarbonize. One Peak and Highland Europe co-led the round. Read more here. (France, Software)
🐝 Beewise raised $80M in Series C funding to make solar powered robotic beehives that are more resilient in the face of changing climates. Insight Partners led the round. Bees + pollination are critical to food production globally, not to mention how integral they are to all kinds of natural ecosystems. More here. (Israel, Hardware)
📊 Manifest Climate raised $30M in Series A funding to help companies meet regulatory compliance requirements related to climate change and find ways to make their businesses more sustainable with software + consulting. BDC Capital ‘Women in Technology’ Venture Fund and Climate Innovation Capital co-led. Read more here. (Canada, Software)
💦 Green Revolution Cleaning raised $28M in Series C funding for its single-phase immersion cooling technology, with primary applications in data centers. Immersion cooling can be both more efficient (and hence, lower in electricity requirements) than cooling with cold air. SK Lubricants led the round. Read more here. (U.S., Hardware)
⚡ David Energy raised $20.5M in Series A funding for its distributed energy management software system that helps customers analyze, control, and source usage. The overarching goal is to make the energy market more bidirectional, giving consumers more agency in managing their energy usage and where it comes from. Keyframe Capital and Union Square Ventures co-led the round. Read more here. (U.S., Software)
⚡ EdgeGrid raised $6M in Seed funding to accelerate decarbonization in last-mile transport via an energy distribution platform. Their platform connects SMBs, building owners, and EV charging networks with energy generation and distribution companies. LightRock India led the round. Read more here. (India, Software)
✈️ Cemvita Factory raised $5M from United Airlines to develop more sustainable aviation fuels (‘SAF’). Cemvita Factory wants to turn carbon dioxide into useful hydrocarbons via genetically modified microbes. Read more here. (U.S., Fuels)
🌳 Treeswift raised $4.8M in seed funding for its forestry data business. The company builds drones for data capture, monitoring metrics such as carbon capture and other factors like deforestation. Pathbreaker Ventures led the round. Read more here. (U.S., Mixed)
⚡ RenewaFi raised $3M in seed funding for its digital marketplace that connects companies and utilities with clean energy providers. I connected briefly with Emily Kirsch at Powerhouse Ventures who added this:
RenewaFi is the first two-sided digital marketplace for renewable energy transactions, enabling buyers and sellers to source and evaluate deals in minutes not months.
ELSEWHERE IN CLIMATE TECH
📖 Reads: Building better trees? Mother Nature does a pretty darn good job. Living Carbon wants to make improvements to supercharge carbon removal.
📖 Reads: How Joe Manchin stalled climate progress at every turn.
📖 Reads: Analyzing the benefits & pitfalls of various net-zero standards.
🏢 Allocating attention: Focusing on cities as a climate opportunity.
♻️ Study: Even ‘biodegradable’ plastics don’t necessarily decompose quickly enough. As we discussed in our first ever podcast episode, it’s critical that biodegradable material developers keep iterating on even better offerings.
⬇️ Carbon removal: Shopify joined Stripe’s investing leadership, purchasing carbon removals from 9 different startups across methodologies.
🧊 Not so good news: A massive ice shelf in Antarctica collapsed after record temperatures last week.
☀️ Ending on optimism: Yesterday I asked Twitter folks’ thoughts on their favorite climate technologies. The responses were awesome & well worth reading through.