🌎 Nuclear’s day in the sun #177

COP28 goes nuclear


Happy Monday! 

Couldn’t make it to Dubai this year? Do the next best thing and read our COP reflections

In news, COP28 goes nuclear with a commitment to triple nuclear capacity and pursue fusion R&D, echoing a broader global sentiment shift towards nuclear. 

In deals, major funding for battery recycling and dry electrodes, and additional late-stage funding for forestry projects and precision weed control. In funds, Active Impact Investments and Congruent both launch their third funds.  

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Fissions for a net zero future

Day one of COP28, U.S. climate envoy John Kerry announced 24 countries including France, Japan and the UK pledged to triple nuclear capacity by 2050. Signatories committed to supporting development of small modular reactors and increasing existing reactor lifespans. The pledge also calls on international banks to include nuclear in energy lending policies to help finance project-killing infrastructure expenditures.

Nuclear is having its moment in the sun. Last COP featured the conference’s first nuclear-themed pavilion, and this year boasted eight. The conference’s emphasis on nuclear this year parallels the shifting global and US public sentiment. 

  • In the US, a 2023 Pew Research Center survey shows 57% of Americans favor nuclear power, a 14% increase over 2020. In a rare show of bipartisan support, 50% of democrats and 67% of republicans want more reactors.
  • Italy installed its National Platform for Sustainable Nuclear Power in September. The committee will draft a plan to reintroduce nuclear for the first time since 1990.
  • Perhaps most surprising is Japan’s nuclear about face. Post-Fukushima, the country pledged to phase out all atomic power. Fuel shortages, rising energy costs and carbon commitments are driving renewed enthusiasm. Lawmakers are shooting for a 20-22% nuclear energy mix by 2030.

A fusion of world powers

Scientists have also been chasing nuclear fusion for decades, but again COP could reflect a global paradigm shift. On Tuesday last week 35 nations committed to pursue fusion research, market development, and regulation reform. The announcement follows recent investments that may indicate a belief that fusion is within reach. 

  • The US House Committee passed an amendment to regulate fusion devices as particle accelerators, allowing for more regulatory freedom for development. The US also set out a 10 year plan in 2022 to accelerate fusion technology bringing all DOE fusion labs under one roof.
  • In September, Germany announced a €1B ($1.1B) investment in fusion research over the next 5 years.
  • In October, the UK committed £650M ($818M) to R&D and training for workers in fusion energy.

Atomic takeaways

Though nuclear’s presence is growing, its future remains uncertain. The commitment to tripling nuclear equals that of tripling renewables, and while countries may be committing serious cash to fusion, considerable obstacles remain.

  • To meet 2050 nuclear tripling targets, 40GW must reach the grid each year, but only 4GW went online in 2023. Meanwhile, solar will add 400GW by EOY 2023.
  • The gap seems to be closing on fusion, but there’s still a long way to go. Researchers last year achieved ignition , a major fusion milestone where for an instant a reactor’s energy output outstripped its input. The energy used to power up the reactor’s lasers, though, was enormous.
  • Just like with many others at COP, the nuclear pledges don’t require signatories to commit financial resources. And as we’ve seen with Vogle 3 & 4, it’s one thing to make a pledge, but a different thing entirely to make a financial commitment.

John Kerry mentioned in the COP28 launch ceremony that “you can’t get to net-zero 2050 without some nuclear.” IEA models call for massive nuclear growth to meet their own net-zero projections, but forecasts from some other orgs don’t. For now, the swirl of COP nuclear activity represents a dip of the toe. The focus in the short-term will likely remain squarely on the topics du jour, fossil fuel phaseouts and grand hopes for a swift renewables transition.

Deals of the Week (12/4-12/10)

Late-Stage / Growth

🔋 Nth Cycle, a Beverly, Massachusetts-based battery metals recycling and processing developer, raised $37M in Series B funding from VoLo Earth Ventures, MassMutual, Caterpillar Ventures, and Equinor Ventures. 

🔋 AM Batteries, a Boston, Massachusetts-based dry electrodes for li-ion batteries developer, raised $30M in Series B funding from Toyota Ventures, Porsche Ventures, Asahi Kasei, RA Capital Management, Wilson Sonsini, Industry Ventures, TDK Ventures, Anzu Partners, Creative Ventures, Doral Energy-Tech Ventures, Foothill Ventures, and Zeon Ventures.

🌱 Wakeo, a Paris, France-based multimodal real-time tracking platform, raised $19M from Statkraft Ventures, 360 Capital, Promus Ventures, and Techstars.

🍎 Koa, a Zürich, Switzerland-based upcycled cocoa fruit products developer, raised $15M in Series B funding from Mirova, Zebra Impact, Mirabaud, and others.

💨 Pachama, a San Francisco, California-based forest carbon project marketplace platform, raised an additional $9M in Series B funding from T.Capital, Lowercarbon Capital, and Positive Ventures.

🌾 Carbon Robotics, a Seattle, Washington-based AI precision weed control developer, raised an additional $8M in Series C funding.


Ionomr, a Vancouver, Canada-based ion exchange membrane manufacturer, raised $20M in Series A funding from NGIF Cleantech Ventures, Pallasite Ventures, Shell Ventures, Asahi Kasei, Chevron Technology Ventures, Finindus, Samsung Ventures,  N.V. Bekaert, and SAIC Capital.

🔋 Princeton NuEnergy, a Bordentown, New Jersey-based lithium-ion battery recycling developer, raised $16M in Series A funding from Wistron Corporation, Honda Motor Co., GS Futures, and Traxys North America, Greenland Technologies, Shell Ventures, and WorldQuant Ventures, and others. 

💨 Agricarbon, a Dundee, United Kingdom-based soil carbon measurement technology developer, raised $11M in Series A funding from Barclays and Shell Ventures.

🌾 SUIND, a Bangalore Urban, India-based AI-driven crop care innovation developer, raised $1M in Seed funding from Sunicron Ventures, Zetta farms, and others.

Sunsave, a London, United Kingdom-based solar and storage subscription platform, raised $7M in Seed funding from Norrsken VC, IPGL, and Plug and Play.

🥩 Clever Carnivore, a Chicago, Illinois-based alternative protein developer, raised $7M in Seed funding from Lever VC, McWin Partners, Stray Dog Capital, Thia Ventures, Newfund Capital, and Valo Ventures.

🏗 Strong by Form, a Madrid, Spain-based biocomposite structural solutions developer, raised $5M in Seed funding from CMPC Ventures, Climate Insiders, CiRi Ventures, MAIF Avenir, Teampact Ventures, Core Angels, Savia Ventures, Symbia VC, FINSA, and VX Ventures.

🥩 Farmless, an Amsterdam, Netherlands-based alternative protein food ingredients developer, raised $5M in Seed funding from Vorwerk Ventures, World Fund, and Revent.

💨 Up Catalyst, a Tallinn, Estonia-based carbon utilization for nanomaterials developer, raised $4M in Seed funding from Extantia, Smart cap, Sunly, Little Green Fund, Scottish Baltic Invest and UniTartu Ventures.

💨 Lignovations, a Klosterneuburg, Austria-based biomass-derived ingredient innovation developer, raised $2M in Seed funding from Borregaard, Valnon Holding, and others.

🌱 Carbon Maps, a Paris, France-based climate management platform for the food industry, raised $3M in Pre-Seed funding from Daphni, Breega, and Samaipata.


🔋 Energy Dome, a Lonate Pozzolo, Italy-based liquid CO2 based long-duration storage developer, raised $65M in Project finance funding from Breakthrough Catalyst and European Investment Bank.

General Fusion, a Richmond, Canada-based magnetized Target Fusion (MTF) fusion energy company, raised $4M in Grant funding from the Canadian Government.

🚗 BasiGo, a Nairobi, Kenya-based EV buses in Africa company, raised $5M in Debt funding from British International Investment.


Burnham RNG, an Arlington, Virginia-based RNG project developer company, was acquired by Ares Management.

New Funds

Australian Clean Energy Finance Corporation, a Sydney, Australia-based company received A$20.5B ($13B) from the country's government to triple energy transition investments, including A$500M ($328M) for early-stage venture investments through a new Power Australia Technology Fund. 

EnergyRe, a New York, New York-based energy developer launched a new $1.2B Renewable Energy Fund for US deployment.

Congruent Ventures, a San Francisco, California-based early stage climate investor, raised $275 million for its third flagship fund.

Moore Capital and DMGT, the London, United Kingdom-based owner of the Daily Mail, raised over $200M for a new venture fund to invest in energy transition companies.

Revaia, a Paris, France-based women-led growth VC, raised €150M ($161.5M) in a first close of the firm's second fund, which will target sustainability startups raising B-rounds and after.

Active Impact Investments, a Vancouver, Canada-based climate tech seed fund, raised $70M for its third fund toward its $120M target.

Kvanted, a Helsinki, Finland-based early stage tech investor, raised a €70M ($75.4M) industrial tech fund.

Rockstart, an Amsterdam, Netherlands-based early stage accelerator-VC launched a €50M ($53.8M) second ag and food-focused fund.

Vanagon Ventures, a Milan, Italy-based firm raised €30M ($32.3M) for its first fund, focused on early-stage B2B startups in digital green transformation. 

Summa Equity, a Stockholm, Sweden-based impact investor, closed an Article 9 continuation fund for NG Group, a leading Nordic provider of circular solutions and environmental services.

Partech, a Paris, France-based fund launches its first growth impact fund, at an undisclosed amount.  

Can’t get enough deals? See full listings, analytics, and download on Sightline Climate

In the News

More COP news roundup, full listings in our feature Good COP, Bad COP:

  • The World Bank and others committed to offering Climate-Resilient Debt Clauses (CRDCs) in existing loans which will allow for a pause in debt and interest payments for two years in the event of natural disasters. This development allows developing countries to receive funding without drowning in debt payments in future years. 
  • The Rockefeller foundation and Bezos Earth Fund released a framework for the Energy Transition Accelerator designed to generate funding through the voluntary carbon market to help developing countries transition to cleaner sources of energy.
  • 30 shipping industry leaders signed a Joint Commitment to enable the use of renewable hydrogen-derived shipping fuel within this decade [Read more about maritime decarbonization here].
  • 27 countries signed the UAE Hydrogen Declaration of Intent endorsing a global hydrogen certification standard. 
  • The UK announced a pioneering climate resilient debt clause to be deployed in Senegal, the first of its kind in Africa. 

A draft of the hotly contested US Treasury guidance for clean hydrogen was leaked. The guidelines for calculating lifecycle emissions in order to access the top $3/kg rate, are set to include all three of the most controversial rules around the usage of zero-carbon electricity: additionality, geographic correlation, and hourly matching. The US plans annual matching until 2027, followed by hourly from 2028, making its rules more stringent than Europe's.

The European Parliament passed the Critical Raw Materials Act to fast-track domestic production of critical minerals. Lawmakers set a goal to domestically extract 10% and process 40% of Europe’s annual consumption of key minerals, as well as recycle 25% of critical raw minerals that would otherwise be waste, by 2030.

The EU also agreed to make all new buildings zero-emission by 2030 and banned fossil fuel boilers by 2040. While formal adoption is pending, both MEPs and member states have given their approval. Meanwhile at COP, 27 countries also launched the Buildings Breakthrough initiative to achieve near-zero emissions and resilient buildings by 2030.

Deep-sea mining in the Arctic Ocean gets the green light from Norwegian lawmakers, in contrast to several other European nations halting commercial deep-sea mining due to environmental concerns. Norwegian lawmakers want to decrease dependence on oil and gas by exploring mining sulfides and manganese crusts in the Arctic. [Read more about the tug of war for raw metals here].

The Biden Administration revealed $8.2B for rail from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. However the $6B earmarked for high speed rail, is a fraction of the estimated $100B cost for high speed rail to connect SF and LA. 

A much-needed tailwind for the industry, the first large offshore wind farm in US became operational in Long Island, NY. South Fork Wind, the first large-scale offshore wind farm in the US began construction in 2022 in a 50/50 partnership between Ørsted and Eversource. Only the first turbine of the 132MW project has gone online, but the owners expect to have all twelve turbines operational by early 2024.

Frontier unleashed the largest enhanced rock weathering CDR offtakes purchased to date with Lithos Carbon. The $57M purchase will remove 154k tons of CO2 between 2024-2028. 


Handy tracker for COP’s negotiations. Asana for climate delegates, anyone?

Meanwhile Al Gore wants to restructure the entire COP consensus process, specifically to weaken petrostates’ power.

Private Equity acquisitions are beginning to look like the new climate IPO. See our exit analysis with hungry PE players.

Carbon180 drops a nifty carbon removal Funding Tracker of appropriations, authorizations, and funding opportunity announcements.

…And McKinsey agrees that carbon removal is big biz, with a helpful market breakdown.

Brake news or fake news? Has the EV scaleback narrative been falsely exaggerated?

The Megaton Moon 60GW solar facility will be visible from space and shaped as the Mauritanian Flag. Weird…but we’re into it. 

Air-conditioning use is set to double by 2050 in our heated future.

Even the NYT is getting litty on the promise of so-called white hydrogen, dba natural hydrogen.  

Futuristic-sounding huge vertical farm in the Emirates will produce 2B plants per year, with all of the farm’s water and much of the fertilizer powered by black soldier flies.

Opportunities & Events

💡 Respond Accelerator: Apply to the RESPOND Accelerator by Dec 17th to receive opportunities, connections, and support for your technology that contributes to a more sustainable economy. 

💡 Joules Accelerator: Apply the 13th Cohort of Joules Accelerator by Dec 22nd to receive continued support and connections for your early-stage climate startup. 

💡 EcoMBA Inaugural Cohort: Apply by Dec 30th to the EcoMBA, a travel-centered leadership development and career transition experience for individuals pursuing climate-positive work.  

💡 LabStart Fellowship: Apply to LabStart 2023 Fellowship by Jan 9th to create climate startups with technologies from premium research institutions across the country. 

💡 Hyperfuel Labs: Apply to the Hyperfuel Labs Program, an accelerator focusing on FOAK deployments in hydrogen.


Account Executive @Sightline Climate

Grants & Contracts Lead @Pioneer

Chief of Staff @Charm Industrial

Associates @Equal Ventures

Senior Manager, Business Development @Presto Charging

Voluntary Carbon Markets Analyst @UBS

Head of Carbon @UBS

Science Director @Quadrature Climate Foundation

Senior Financial Analyst, Corporate Development @Swell Energy

📩 Feel free to send us deals, announcements, or anything else at [email protected]. Have a great week ahead! 

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