🌏 The settlers of Catan squabble over ore #172

The US and China play tug of war for metals resources


Happy Monday! 

And Happy Halloween-eve for those who celebrate. In need of last minute costumes? Check out these five costume ideas that make Halloween (and our clean energy future) less spooky. 

This week, the US and China have set the gameboard for a global Catan-like race to acquire metals resources – facing off in a tug of war that spans key technology and climate tech supply chains. 

In the news, clean energy stocks continue to be haunted by rising interest rates with Li-Cycle and Siemens both falling 30%+. Meanwhile, Chevron acquired Hess for $53B in more O&G consolidation, Stellantis takes a stake in a Chinese EV company, bp orders $100M of Tesla chargers, and the new US House Speaker dismisses climate science. 

In deals, ~$400M for electric scooters and 3 mega $100M+ rounds for geothermal, solid flow batteries, and rural minigrids. 

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Mining & metals tug of war 

The energy transition is a metals transition, as we like to say. While oil demand seems to be nearing its peak, there’s no question that the need for critical metals is on the rise. 

In recent weeks, the US and China have been facing off in a metals tug of war through a series of policy jabs. While the rivalry started off with semiconductors and chips, the spat is quickly spilling over to climate tech supply chains: 

  • On Oct 17th, the US announced a ban on some advanced AI chip exports to China.
  • Soon after, on Oct 20th China clamped down on graphite exports, leveraging its dominant position as the supplier of 65% of global graphite—a crucial element that makes up 20% of the mass of an EV battery
  • Less than a week later, on Oct 25th, the US required Santa Clara-based Nvidia to cease exports of AI-enabling chips to China immediately.

These events may not be related one-for-one, but it’s clear the CHIPS act and IRA have set the gameboard for a global Catan-like race to acquire metals resources. And once-theoretical policies are translating into real-world actions as the US tries to wrestle away Chinese dominance of critical metals supply chains. 

In August, a company called Lithium Americas logged what it expects could be a discovery of one of the world’s largest lithium repositories on the Nevada-Oregon border. If this find comes to fruition, it would give the US a significant foothold in this key supply chain. Not to be outdone, Chinese officials deepened ties with Chile and Argentina in a deal that gives state-owned company preferential lithium pricing in exchange for agreeing to make value-added products like batteries in those countries.

Lithium is one thing, but sidestepping China entirely across the clean energy supply chain will not be easy for the US or other countries looking to compete. The US recently made a couple moves on graphite and nickel, key inputs in EV and other batteries. Along with finds at home, the US is pushing further afield as the US Development Finance Corporation approved a $150M conditional loan in September for development at the Balama graphite mine in Mozambique, a site that faces security challenges. And a US-Indonesia critical minerals trade agreement is currently in the works – but such a contract would still rely on Indonesian nickel that is dominated by Chinese miners.

Deals of the Week (10/22-10/29)

Late-Stage / Growth

🛵 Ola Electric, a Bengaluru, India-based electric scooters developer, raised $384M in Growth funding from Temasek Holdings and State Bank of India.

Eavor, a Calgary, Canada-based geothermal energy developer, raised $132M in Series B funding from OMV, Canada Growth Fund, Japan Energy Fund, Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund, bp Ventures, and other investors.

🔋 CMBlu, a Alzenau, Germany-based organic solid flow batteries developer, raised $107M in Corporate funding from Strabag. 

Husk Power, a Fort Collins, CO-based rural minigrids developer, raised $103M in Series D funding from STOA, the US International Development Finance Corporation, Shell Ventures, Proparco, and Swedfund  and Debt funding from the European Investment Bank and International Finance Corporation. 

🥩 Daiz, a Kumamoto-shi, Japan-based plant-based meat developer, raised $47M in Series C funding from Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, Miyoshi Oil & Fat, and Kagoshima Bank. 

Omnidian, a Seattle, WA-based solar performance guarantees and assurance platform, raised $25M in Series C funding from Activate Capital Partners, Blue Bear Capital, Congruent Ventures, Evergy Ventures, HSBC Asset Management, National Grid Partners, and other investors.


🏠 MangoBoost, a Bellevue, WA-based data center energy efficiency software developer, raised $55M in Series A funding from IMM Investment, Shinhan Venture Investment, Korea Development Bank, KB Investment, IM Capital, and other investors. 

🌾 Zordi, a Boston, MA-based autonomous greenhouse developer, raised $20M in funding from Khosla Ventures. 

Eden Geopower, a Somerville, MA-based reservoir stimulation platform, raised $12M in Seed funding from Helmerich & Payne, TechEnergy Ventures, Anglo American, Good Growth Capital, Grantham Foundation, and MassVentures.

🐄 Farminsect, a Bergkirchen, Germany-based alternative source for animal feed developer, raised $9M in Series A funding from Sandwater, Bayern Kapital, and the European Innovation Council.

🔋 Circu Li-ion, a Hesperange, Luxembourg-based battery recycling platform, raised $9M in Seed funding from BonVenture and Grant funding from the European Innovation Council.

🔋 Inlyte Energy, a Berkeley, CA-based iron salt grid batteries developer, raised $8M in Seed funding from At One Ventures, Anglo American, Climate Capital, TechEnergy Ventures, and Valo Ventures.

🚗 Faction, a South San Francisco, CA-based driverless EV software developer, raised $6M from TDK Ventures, Ducera Partners, Trucks Venture Capital, and Fifty Years. 

🛰️ Auriga Space, a Los Angeles, CA-based electromagnetic space launch developer, raised $5M in Pre-Seed funding from Trucks VC, Seraphim Space, Possible Ventures, Unlock Ventures, DNX Ventures, and other investors. 

📦 Gozen Bioworks, a Beşiktaş, Turkey-based lab-grown leather developer, raised $3M in Seed funding from Happiness Capital, Accelr8, and SOSV.

💨 CarbonFarm Technology, a Paris, France-based satellite-verified carbon credits platform,  raised $3M in Seed funding from AgFunder, Bpifrance, Climate Capital, and Ponderosa Ventures.

Rhizome, a Washington D.C., District of Columbia-based grid resilience software developer, raised $2M in Seed funding from Jetstream, Looking Glass, Intelis Capital, El Cap, Streetlife, and other investors.


✈️ SkyDrive, a Tokyo, Japan-based eVTOL developer, raised $83M in Grant funding from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. 

⚡ ARC Clean Technology, a Saint John-Canada based small modular reactor developer, raised $7M in Grant funding from the Government of Canada. 

🧪 EcoBean, a Warsaw, Poland-based sustainable chemicals from coffee beans developer, raised $7M in funding from the FENG program. 

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

In the News

Li-Cycle announced a pause in factory construction at the Rochester Hub citing escalating costs of construction, despite receiving a $375M conditional DOE LPO loan. Interest rate woes for clean energy stocks were similarly felt across the ocean with Siemens Energy AG’s shares down 40%. Siemens is in talks with the German government to secure as much as ~$17B in state guarantees as problems at its wind turbine unit spread to the rest of the business. [See our teardown from last week on clean energy stock spooky season.]

bp’s EV charging business ordered $100M of Tesla ultra-fast charging hardware with the intent to white-label and operate the 250 kW chargers under the bppulse brand. This is the first time that an independent network will use Tesla’s 250 kW chargers and ‘Magic Dock’ as their backbone infrastructure.

The new US House Speaker, Mike Johnson, has previously denied consensus climate science, saying during one 2017 town hall that he has "seen data on the other side."

Last week’s new IEA World Energy Outlook predicted an “unstoppable” shift towards renewable energy. The report simultaneously warns that investment in fossil fuels must be cut in half, and includes criticism of governments that have rolled back climate policies in recent months. This coincides with the fourth annual update in "World Scientists' Warning of a Climate Emergency" report co-signed by 15,000 climate scientists, which finds that 20 of 35 planetary vital signs are at record extremes as “we are venturing into uncharted climate territory.”

Stellantis took a $1.6B stake in Leapmotor, a Chinese EV company, days after ending auto manufacturing in China. The deal reflects a broader trend of legacy automakers racing to keep up with new EV upstarts to better compete in the accelerating Chinese EV market. Volkswagen ran the same playbook in July with a $700M investment in Xpeng. 

New York made the largest state-level investment in renewable energy in the nation. The New York State Energy Research and Development (NYSERDA) awarded AES 1.2GW of wind and solar projects, helping the state hit its 2030 target of 70% renewable electricity and its goal of 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040. It also awarded contracts for three offshore wind projects totaling more than 4GW, a bright spot amid a recent spate of project cancellations. 

NextEra expects to generate $1.6B in tax credit sales by 2026, as made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act’s transferability clause. The company plans to use this to fund additional development and save it having to raise additional costly equity or debt in a rising interest rate environment. Great news for established players like NextEra, but time will tell if smaller developers will be able to attract new capital via tax credit sales.

As peak oil demand looms, O&G majors are scooping up near-term assets. Chevron bought Hess for $53B, marking the second mega-acquisition by a major this month. ExxonMobil was first, buying the shale driller Pioneer Natural Resources for $60B.   

GM downsized its EV ambitions, halting its self-imposed goal to manufacture 400,000 electric vehicles by 2024, amidst the United Auto Workers (UAW) strike in Texas and slowing consumer demand for EVs. Meanwhile in Tennessee and Kentucky, the UAW reached a tentative deal with Ford as the automaker moves to complete construction of electric vehicle and battery factories.

Canada is pausing the carbon tax on home heating oil for three years, citing higher cost of living. Turning to carrots instead of sticks, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced electric heat pump incentives and carbon tax rebates for rural areas.


#SwiftiesAgainstTurf petition to replace artificial NFL turf with the real green after Kelce injury.

Michael Liebreich’s Hydrogen Ladder Version 5.0 is now complete with a new muscle car use case!

The AI Eye of Providence spots anthropogenic influence on daily precipitation data. 

Myth busting 21 misleading EV fake news headlines.

60% of recovered CO2 is used for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR).

DOE issued a draft plan to help speed up grid interconnection

$36M of DOE funding for marine carbon removal from ocean modeling systems to a fiber optic sensor cable to measure ocean carbon. 

Water cutbacks may save the Colorado River after all.

Half of us are already >5 years past peak fossil power generation.

West Antarctica ice shelf melting is locked in, despite potential ambitious emissions reductions. With a consequence of potentially 5.3m of global sea level rise.

Opportunities & Events

🗓️ BERC 2023 Resources Symposium: Join the BERC Resource Symposium on Oct 30th-31st that’s bringing together experts on sustainable mining practices and will showcase student research exposition competition and career fair. 

🗓️ MCJ New York: Fall Rooftop Drinks: Register to join MCJ’s happy hour on Nov 6th and meet other innovative people in the climate space. 

💡 Venture Access Founder Fellowship: Apply to the Venture Access Founder Fellowship and join one of four cohorts providing resources for underrepresented founders across tech by Dec 5th


Investment Associate @Keyframe Capital

Head of Manufacturing @Antora Energy

Head of Finance @ReGen Ventures

Project Origination (Business Development) @Rondo Energy

Special Opportunities Associate, Investments @S2G Ventures

Head of Engineering @Thalo Labs

Investment Associate @Avesta Fund

Battery Optimization Lead @Tierra Climate

Lead Data Scientist @Tierra Climate

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

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