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 »

Are Indoor Agriculture and Vertical Farming Growing up?


Chris Sworder
Urban agriculture and vertical farming, are they viable? There are question marks on efficiency, availability of useful and reasonably priced real estate, and demand for the leafy greens and herbs that are most often the crop of choice. That said, there are several high-profile companies in the U.S. that have been around for several years, e.g. AeroFarms, Plenty, and Bowery, which have raised at total of  over $400M. Alongside these farm developers, we are seeing more indoor agriculture-specific technology (see iUNU’s... Read More »

Are Plants the Solution to our Plastics Problem?


Cassidy Shell
Plastic made with inexpensive feedstock, supported by large investment in infrastructure dominated by oil and gas companies, appears not only to be here to stay, but poised for production growth. At the same time, media and social pressure to do something about plastic waste is increasing. Recycling is one solution, but the underlying question persists: is there a more environmentally attractive replacement? Fossil fuel-based chemicals, largely ethylene and propylene, are used in 99% of plastics production.  Many of the largest... 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 »

Fighting Fast Fashion: Innovation for a Circular Economy


Josh Gilbert
Today’s fashion industry causes considerable environmental damage. According to a 2018 UN report, it is responsible for around 10% of global carbon emissions. Energy-intensive raw inputs like polyester and cotton are predominant, the industry is responsible for 2% of global freshwater extraction, and the US alone sends over ten billion tons of textiles waste to landfill every year. Solving the fast fashion problem Innovation is helping the industry shift towards a more circular model of textiles manufacturing and providing new... Read More »

Food News: Motif Ingredients – Microbes to Meat, the Race is on…


Chris Sworder
The news about Ginkgo Bioworks spinning out Motif Ingredients signals an acceleration in the race to create an alternative meat. Plant-based meat has opened the door to consumer acceptance. Now the challenges are overcoming production bottlenecks and improving the taste, feel and versatility of the products. With $90 million of fresh capital, an impressive set of investors and a pedigree from Ginkgo Bioworks, the race is on. Spotlight on burgers Plant-based burgers are making the news, with the latest offerings including the UAE-based... 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 »

Meat Alternatives on the Move


Chris Sworder
An FAO estimation says we are on track for a 9 billion-person planet by 2050, and along with the people comes a 50% increased appetite for protein. Traditional protein for human consumption comes from animals and fish, with soy increasingly part of the landscape. The non-traditional or alternative proteins market ($4.2 billion in 2016) is around 1% of the traditional protein market, but is expected to grow more than 25% by 2022. The drivers are both perceived health benefits and... Read More »