Recent Deals – 6 September 2019


Louis Brasington
Agriculture & Food: FreshtoHome, a developer of a fresh meat and fish home delivery service, raised $20 million in a Series B round from Iron Pillar and Joe Hirao, the founder of Japan’s ZIGExn. The India-based start-up was founded in 2015 and has built its own supply chain network, giving it control over quality and delivery of the food items. It uses trains and planes to move inventory and has become one of the biggest clients of several local airlines. The company will use the funds to... Read More »

Grid Software – Sector Watch 6 September 2019


Louis Brasington
As multi-megawatt flexible distributed energy resources are brought online, there is growing evidence that actively managed distribution software systems can deliver lower-whole system costs to customers and other grid stakeholders. Advancements in AI, edge processing and real-time data control, combined with cloud-based asset management architecture is allowing energy assets to offer increased value onto the grid; such as automated demand response, frequency response and prescriptive control. These advancements are, in turn, creating the rationale for new market participants to enter... Read More »

Japan – Asia’s Biggest Energy Market Opportunity in 2019?


Louis Brasington
One of the largest economies in the world and the fourth largest consumer of electricity, Japan has long been a recognized leader in energy technology development. The 2011 earthquake and the subsequent Fukushima nuclear accident triggered a major overhaul of the energy market in Japan. As a result, local and foreign innovators are now looking to capitalize on emerging opportunities.  Start-ups and players with established customer bases are entering the market, seeing the opportunity to capture new value. Over the... Read More »

Europe’s Growing Battery Manufacturing Market: Focus on Local Opportunities


Louis Brasington
From an outsider's perspective, regional consolidation of the battery manufacturing market looks fairly resolved. Over 70% of the 1,000 GWh of planned capacity (by 2023) is centered in China. Increasingly frequent announcements of new manufacturing plants from players such as Great Wall Motors/SVolt, Sunwoda, and EVE Energy illustrates the pace at which the market can grow in China. A European Problem Needs a Local Solution In Europe, current battery cell manufacturing is less than 3% of the global share, and... Read More »

Recent Deals – 12 July 2019


Louis Brasington
Agriculture & Food: AeroFarms, a developer of aeroponic systems to grow greens at high yield densities in urban vertical farms, raised $100 million in a Series E round. The investment round was led by IKEA, and included existing investors Wheatsheaf and ADM Capital, as well as Mission Point Capital, GSR Ventures, and Alliance Bernstein. Founded in 2004, the US company provides aeroponic modules that grow leafy greens in a cloth medium under LED lighting. These modules can be stacked inside... Read More »

Next Generation Solar – Sector Watch 12 July 2019


Louis Brasington
Attractiveness Over the last 25 years, crystalline silicon photovoltaics have become the world’s fastest growing energy source. The last cleantech boom saw a few competing technologies such as thin-film solar try and fail to compete with the mainstream offerings. However, today's advances in technology, smart business models and progressive funding solutions are creating new opportunities for a small number of perovskite and dye-sensitized thin-film photovoltaic innovators. While previously seen as a direct competitor, next generation solar innovators are finding niches... Read More »

Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems, the Next Building Load to Optimize


Louis Brasington
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are a building's main energy consumer, accounting for 40% of all electricity used. Measures to update and replace existing heating and cooling systems could improve the energy efficiency of these systems by around 43%. Unfortunately, the cost and payback on energy savings from hardware upgrades/replacements are often not attractive enough for building owners. With the advent of low-cost IoT solutions, software is becoming an increasingly popular option to modernize monitoring and analyzing systems... Read More »

Battery Management Systems Remain Crucial in the Energy Storage Revolution


Louis Brasington
A key element in the quest for improved performance of batteries is the battery management system (BMS). BMS is the software layer that is responsible for the balancing of cells, protecting batteries from damage and sub-optimal operation. These are applicable to fixed energy storage as well as Electric Vehicle (EV) markets. Growing in parallel with the battery market, the BMS market now sits at $3.2 billion, with a CAGR of 21%, driven largely by the increased volumes of EVs and... Read More »

Decarbonizing heat at Cleantech Forum Europe 2019– A sit down with Toon Bouten of tado°


Louis Brasington
At the recent Cleantech Forum Europe in Stockholm, we explored innovative solutions to tackle the heating challenge. We looked at alternative heat de-carbonization pathways, including the digitization of heating systems, the conversion of the gas grid to low-carbon hydrogen and emerging waste heat recovery solutions. One of the experts joining us on stage was Toon Bouten, CEO of tado°. The company has raised over $100 million in venture capital funding and remains one of the leaders in European smart products and services... Read More »

Battery Technology Innovation Beyond 2019 – What’s Next for Lithium-ion?


Louis Brasington
By the close of the next decade, lithium-ion battery factories around the world will have a combined production capacity equivalent to 22 Tesla Gigafactories. Despite a ten-fold drop in costs over the past decade, Lithium-ion battery costs are the biggest reason why electric vehicles (EVs) remain uneconomical compared to gas alternatives, with 30 to 50% of the cost of an electric car currently dedicated to the battery. This March, Volkswagen and battery maker Northvolt launched a consortium to promote EV... Read More »