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
AttractivenessOver 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 within... 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 »

Energy & Power Shifts from IoT Cloud to Edge Computing


Louis Brasington
Distributed energy resources can easily generate over one Terabyte (TB) of data a day, which is pushed back to a centralized cloud platform service to be processed, analyzed and ultimately acted upon. Assets are now generating more useful data than infrastructure can efficiently move. Furthermore, as more assets are connected, the cloud-platform framework is at risk of serious bandwidth problems (lets see what 5G delivers), as well as cyber security concerns. In edge computing, computation is performed on distributed device... Read More »

Industrial Analytics – Optimizing Operational Efficiency


Louis Brasington
Searching for AI in Google returns over four billion results (climate change returns only 200 million) and buzz words like analytics, condition monitoring, predictive maintenance and industry 4.0 are commonplace at conferences. How much is hype and how much is delivering measurable results? Collecting and analyzing data in real time are the core of predictive analytics, a branch of AI. Managing operational costs, improving efficiency, extending equipment lifecycles', and working to getting more out of connected equipment are key themes... Read More »

Could Methanol Become an Important Fuel for Energy and Mobility?


Louis Brasington
With a global demand of more than 80 million metric tons and a growth rate of 5.4%, methanol is gaining acceptance. The market is projected to be worth $54 billion by 2021. Its uses vary greatly – from adhesives and PET bottles to fleece jackets, packaging, paints and solvents. A key application is the energy market. China alone, as the largest producer and consumer, accounts for 54% of world demand. Alongside oil, gas and hydrogen, methanol is an important fuel... Read More »

2019 Energy Trends: Answers from Cleantech Innovation Leaders


Louis Brasington
At the 2019 Cleantech Forum San Francisco, we launched this year's Global Cleantech 100 Report; an assessment of the companies most likely to make a significant market impact within the next five to ten years. Forty companies in the Energy & Power sector featured on the list. And, last year investment into this sector reached $3.4 billion across 378 equity deals, $900 million more than 2017. We sat down with two of the 2019 Global Cleantech 100 companies, GreenSync and... Read More »