🌎 Green linings & lessons from breakthroughs #159

Recent updates on innovations in geothermal, SAF, and green cement show promise


Happy Monday!

Climate tech companies that attracted substantial funding for their innovations in 2021 and 2022 are now reaching important proof points on the journey to commercial scale. A breakthrough in next-generation geothermal, industry approval for emissions-free cement, and the start of construction on a first commercial sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) plant illustrate progress and put the focus on execution moving forward.

Meanwhile, extreme heat boils over into labor issues. John Kerry meets with China and the Biden administration raises the price of drilling and mining on federal land.

In deals this week, supply chain software scoops up $192M. Geologic hydrogen raises $91M and heating and cooling efficiency draws in $67M.

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A medley of milestones for climate tech startups

Conversations on Twitter and in climate chatrooms continue to have a doomerism-meets-pessimism tone, but over the last two weeks some cold, hard progress from climate tech startups working on geothermal energy, SAFs, and decarbonized cement is cutting through the gloom.

Fervo Energy shared successful results from a 30-day flow test of its enhanced geothermal system at its pilot site in Nevada.

✈️ Twelve broke ground on a commercial-scale facility in Washington state to produce a jet fuel made from water, electricity, and carbon dioxide.

🧱 Brimstone received a crucial third-party approval of its carbon-negative cement earlier this month, certifying that it performs identically to the industry standard on strength and safety in construction applications.

Combined, these companies have raised more than $440M since 2019, and the recent milestones are tangible steps toward turning big ideas into solutions for tough decarbonization problems. Twelve and Brimstone are proving out climate tech alternatives in sectors responsible for 2% (aviation) and 7.5% (cement) of global CO2 emissions. Fervo is firming up the clean energy equation with geothermal power generation to support wind and solar on a decarbonized grid.


Founded: 2015
Total funding: $199M
Innovation: Twelve’s technology turns CO2 into the building blocks for a range of materials, chemicals, and fuels, including SAFs made from CO2, water, and electricity.

Update: The company broke ground on a commercial-scale facility this week that will be the first in the country to make alternative jet fuel from CO2 and grid power once production begins in mid-2024.

Next steps: Twelve expects the facility will initially produce ~40,000 gallons of fuel annually before the company scales production as much as 10x within the first year of operation.

Looking ahead: Right now, CO2 is challenging to source. Along with improving the tech and driving down costs, ​“the important thing is making sure we find sites where we can get renewable power and CO2 in a scalable fashion,” Chief Commercial Officer Ram Ramprasad said.

Founded: 2017
Total funding: $187M
Innovation: Fervo is developing enhanced geothermal systems (EGS), which expand the range of sites suitable for geothermal energy production, potentially enabling geothermal to supply more than 20% of US power needs and complement wind and solar on an emissions-free grid.

Update: The results announced this week from the company’s commercial pilot project show that using proven oil and gas techniques can achieve economically viable geothermal production in regions that lack natural permeability. “With Fervo's well test, no technological barriers remain to next-generation geothermal deployment,” Chief of Staff Gabe Malek told us.

What’s next: “Fervo is now squarely focused on deployment. We have just begun a new project in southwest Utah, which will bring roughly 400MW of clean, firm power online by 2028,” Malek said.

Looking ahead: We’ll be watching how Fervo scales from a 3.5MW pilot to larger deployments. Also, keep an eye on O&G companies that could move into this space, as Fervo’s tech is based on established methods within the fossil fuel industry.

Founded: 2019
Total funding: $60M
Innovation: Brimstone creates cement using carbon-free calcium silicate rock rather than limestone in order to avoid the CO2 released during the traditional cement-making process.

Update: On July 13, the company announced that its cement was certified by a third-party as identical to portland cement, which accounts for ~95% of all cement produced in the US today. “That means Brimstone's decarbonized cement can be used anywhere conventionally-made cement is used, providing a viable path to eliminate the cement industry's massive carbon footprint,” Liza Darwin, Head of Communications, told us.

What’s next: The company is currently building a pilot plant in Nevada and selecting a site for a commercial-scale facility.

Looking ahead: Brimstone is negotiating now with potential offtakers, like real estate and construction companies.

Same, same

While wildly different technologies and industries, these three companies share a few key scaling steps in common. Perhaps lessons for those startups looking to follow in their footsteps?

✅ Early government support: Brimstone attracted ARPA-E funding, Fervo won $17M in government grants, and Twelve received grants from the National Science Foundation.

✅ Industry buy-in: Fervo’s strategic corporate partners include Helmerich & Payne, Liberty Energy, and Devon Energy. Twelve is working with Mercedes-Benz, Procter & Gamble, Shopify, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the U.S. Air Force. Brimstone created a cement product identical to what builders know and trust.

✅ Repeatable results: Twelve and Fervo are both planning to replicate these pilot successes quickly, building much bigger production facilities and wells.

The biggest questions start now

Climate companies aren’t inclined to rest on their laurels. The question ahead becomes one of execution and cost. To put this scale-up in perspective, Fervo states that it sees a path to 8MW per production well, compared to the 3.5MW output at its pilot site. The company plans to build 50 production wells, corresponding injection wells, and surface-level power generation facilities—phew! Now it’s all eyes on execution.

Independence: Whether these startups will take on the execution challenge themselves, leading the development of their own scale-up projects, or be absorbed by larger incumbents remains to be seen. So far, the majority of climate tech startups have exited through M&A with O&G companies as some of the most active acquirers.

Deals of the Week (7/17-7/23)

Venture Fundings

🌱 o9 Solutions, a Dallas, TX-based supply chain planning SaaS platform, raised $192M from General Atlantic BeyondNetZero, KKR, and Generation Investment Management.

☀️ PVcase, a Kaunas, Lithuania-based solar design software provider, raised $100M from Highland Europe, Elephant, and Energize Ventures.

Koloma, a Denver, CO-based geologic hydrogen exploration and identification company, raised $91M in funding from Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Energy Impact Partners, Evōk Innovations, Prelude Ventures, and Piva Capital and emerged from stealth.

🏠 Aeroseal, a Dayton, OH-based provider of air duct and vent sealing technology, raised $67M in Series B funding from Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Beazer Homes, and Aramco Ventures.

💨 Sylvera, a London, UK-based carbon offset ratings provider, raised $57M in Series B funding from Balderton Capital, Fidelity International Strategic Ventures, Bain & Company, 9Yards Capital, and existing investors.

🛵 Maka Motors, a Jakarta, Indonesia-based electric motorcycles manufacturer, raised $38M in Seed funding from AC Ventures, SV Investment, East Ventures, and other investors.

Hycamite, a Kokkola, Finland-based methane pyrolysis developer, raised $28M from Sojitz Group, Stephen Industries, Finnish Climate Fund, HAI Kapital, Holdix, and Turret.

🏠 Sensorfact, a Utrecht, Netherlands-based smart monitoring for industrial SMEs platform, raised $28M from Blume Equity, SET Ventures, Korys, and FORWARD.one.

📦 LetsTransport, a Bangalore, India-based EV last-mile delivery network, raised $25M from Bertelsmann India Investments.

💨 Isometric, a London, UK-based carbon removal registry and verification platform, raised $25M in Seed funding from Plural and Lowercarbon Capital.

Terabase Energy, a Berkeley, CA-based solar site assessment optimization platform, raised $25M in Series B funding from Fifth Wall, Prelude Ventures, SJF Ventures, and EDP Ventures.

🛰️ Constellr, a Freiburg, Germany-based thermal satellite data platform, raised $19M in Seed funding from Karista, Einstein Industries Ventures, FTTF, Lakestar, Vsquared Ventures, Amathaon Capital, and other investors.

🔋 Energy Dome, a Lonate Pozzolo, Italy-based liquid CO2 based long-duration storage developer, raised $17M in Series B funding from Oman Investment Fund, Vopak Ventures, Sagana, Japan Energy Fund, Barclays Sustainable and Impact Banking, CDP Venture Capital, and other investors.

📦 Arrive Recommerce, a Santa Monica, CA-based resale platform, raised $16M in Series A funding from Javelin Venture Partners, Climatic VC, Maersk Growth, Sidekick VC, Regeneration.vc, and Wedbush Ventures.

Leap, a San Francisco, CA-based DER aggregation platform, raised $12M in Series B funding from Standard Investments, DNV Ventures, Sustainable Future Ventures, and existing investors.

🐄 Aviwell, a Toulouse, France-based animal healthy platform, raised $10M in Seed funding from Elaia Partners and MFS Impact Investment Development and Grant funding from EIC and BPIFrance.

SensorUp, a Calgary, Canada-based methane emissions management software provider, raised $9M in Series B funding from Climate Investment and Evok Innovations.

💧 cimico, a Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain-based biotechnological wastewater treatment platform, raised $8M in Series A funding from Moira Capital Partners.

🌬️ RenerCycle, a Pamplona, Spain-based wind turbine refurbishment provider, raised $7M in Series A funding from EIT InnoEnergy.

Verse, a San Francisco, CA-based clean energy procurement platform, raised $6M in Seed funding from Coatue, Twine Ventures, MCJ Collective, Firstminute Capital, Collaborative Fund, Future Positive Capital, and Incite.

AquaGreen, a Roskilde, Denmark-based pyrolysis technology for waste conversion developer, raised $4M in Seed funding from Nordic Alpha Partners and FMG Circular Invest.

NitroFix, a Rehovot, Israel-based green ammonia producer, raised $4M in Seed funding from Clean Energy Ventures, SOSV, Zero Carbon Capital , UM6P Ventures, and High House Investments.

Alpha Grid, a San Francisco, CA-based EV charging infrastructure deployment platform, raised $3M in Pre-Seed funding from Asymmetry Capital Partners and Twine Ventures.

🌱 Carbon13, a Cambridge, United Kingdom-based climate venture builder, raised $2M in Seed funding from True Ventures.

Othersphere, a Vancouver, Canada-based location optimization for renewable projects provider, raised $2M in Seed funding from Active Impact Investments, Thin Line Capital, KDX, and Keiki Capital.

🌱 IMPACT+, a Paris, France-based carbon measurement for advertising campaigns platform, raised $2M in Seed funding from Elevation Capital Partners.

🌱 Tenderd, a Dubai, United Arab Emirates-based fleet and emissions management software, raised an undisclosed amount in Seed funding from WAED Ventures, the venture capital arm of Aramco.

💧 HydroLeap, a Singapore, Singapore-based wastewater treatment developer, raised an undisclosed amount in Series A funding from Mitsubishi Electric.

Other Fundings

🚗 Fisker, a Los Angeles, CA-based EV manufacturer, raised $340M in Convertible Notes.

✈️ Lilium, a Weßling, Germany-based electric regional airplane developer, raised $192M in Post-IPO equity funding from Earlybird Venture Capital, BIT Capital, UVC Partners, B. Riley Securities, and E-vestment B.V.

HyAxiom, an East Hartford, CT-based hydrogen fuel cells developer, raised $150M in a Private Placement from Korea Investment Private Equity, KDB Investment–Hana Securities, and KB Asset Management.

New Funds

FLORA Ventures, a Tel Aviv, Israel-based investment firm, announced a first close of $50M for its $80M fund investing in Israeli-based food and agricultural start-ups.

Share new deals and announcements with us at [email protected]

In the News

The International Seabed Authority (ISA), a UN agency, moved international talks on deep-sea mining behind closed doors. The organization reached an agreement late on Friday to move the deadline on developing regulations for mining the seabed to 2025.

Nestlé, the global leader in food manufacturing, is moving away from the practice of acquiring carbon offsets and focusing on curbing greenhouse gas emissions within its own operations and throughout its supply chains. At the same time, carbon offset-focused Sylvera raised $57 million in Series B funding, showing strong market support for carbon offsets and validation and Verra is gathering public comments on changes to strengthen the rules of the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program.

A U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) program called FORGE (Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy) has made breakthroughs in tapping geothermal energy more cost-effectively using fracking technology.

Jefferies stated that banks are not doing enough to assess the risks of water scarcity, which could lead to significant losses and impact their borrowers. It’s a risk that’s all too relevant for Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital city of 1.4 million, which is currently undergoing an extensive water crisis and is warning residents against consuming any public water.

Gas boiler industry lobbyists are attempting to delay the UK government plans’ to increase the uptake of heat pumps and phase out gas boilers by 2025.

The Center for American Progress found that Biden's Justice40 program will not be enough to close the racial gap in air quality. The program aims to direct 40% of the benefits from federal environmental investments toward disadvantaged communities, but will only reduce the gap by 10%.

John Kerry, the U.S. climate envoy, met with officials in Beijing about climate change, but failed to secure a commitment from China to reduce its carbon emissions faster.

The Biden administration announced it will raise the royalty rates paid by oil and gas companies for the right to drill and mine on federal land. These rates have not been changed since 1920 and the price hike could discourage drilling on federal land.

U.S. wind and solar power generation outpaced coal-fired power generation for the first half of 2023—a significant leap considering coal was 4x wind and solar just five years ago.

Source: Canary Media

Mosquitoes are moving to higher elevations driven by climate change-induced temperature increases and rainfall pattern changes. A major public health concern as the geographic reach of malaria spreads.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) has given notice to UPS that 340,000 of its members are prepared to strike if the company does not agree to a new contract that includes protections from extreme heat. A Oxford study also noted that work hours may have to shift from the traditional 9 AM to 5 PM given heat stress.

X-energy announced that it has partnered with Energy Northwest in Washington to build 12 of its next-gen nuclear reactors in the state. The first reactor will be operational by 2030.

Extreme heat events endangered all parts of the planet in July prompting extensive media coverage and discussion on climate change as the ​​start of the month became the hottest week in Earth’s record.

Graphite One, a mining company, received a $37.5 million grant from the US Department of Defense to accelerate the development of its Graphite Creek graphite mine in Alaska. The U.S. currently doesn’t produce any graphite, the biggest ingredient by weight in EV batteries.


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Kim cleans up H1 climate tech venture funding with Michael Liebreich.

From green to red: European electricity prices turn negative with influx of renewable energy.

With smoke in the forecast, why does this summer haze feel so weird?

Mass timber enthusiasts might be barking up the wrong environmental tree.

New report from the Energy Transition Commission shows plentiful resources available to support a prosperous net-zero global economy.

Source: Energy Transition Commission
Source: Energy Transition Commission

Greasing the wheels for manufacturing emissions tracking.

Solar energy from the dark side of a rainy day.

Hot new episode on how to protect ourselves from extreme heat.

Opportunities & Events:

🗓️ Climate Mobilization Act Series: If, How, When – NYC Building Envelopes: Join BE-Ex and NRDC at the next Climate Mobilization Act Series to discuss and demystify crucial components of building systems, including energy efficiency, safety impacts, and building envelope legislation on July 27.

🗓️ Greentown Labs Energy Bar Summer Rooftop Party: Join Greentown Labs’ Boston Energy Bar and Earthshot Ventures’ event to network with active entrepreneurs, investors, students, and corporate leaders within the climate tech space on Aug 3.

💡 Water Abundance Challenge: Apply to The Climate Solutions Piloting Program’s Water Abundance Challenge for a chance at $10,000+ grants and real-world NYC piloting sites at Governors Island. Applications and proposals for how water can help to power climate solutions due Aug 15.

💡 Environmental Tech Lab Info Session: Join the Environmental Tech Lab’s information session to learn more about applying to the 2023 program for early to growth stage companies looking to partner with the NYC Department of Environmental Protection by Aug 23.


Associate @Carbon Business Council

Mechanical Engineer @Yard Stick PBC

Project Manager @Elephant Energy

Account Executive @Glacier

Product Manager @Glacier

Project Engineer @Glacier

Agency Chief Decarbonization Officer @New York City Public Schools

Investor (Flagship Fund) @Energy Impact Partners

Associate VP, Transmission & Distribution @Energy Impact Partners

Associate VP, Cyber & Digital Transformation @Energy Impact Partners

MBA - Finance and Strategy Internship @InRange

Feel free to 📩 send us new ideas, recent fundings, events & opportunities, or general curiosities. Have a great week ahead!

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