Food waste, waste water and the struggling UK battery industry – TechCrunch
Welcome back, climate tech readers! Like last week, we once again have a full list, from food waste to sewage and more. Let’s dive into it.
After selling Nest to Google for $3.2 billion, Matt Rogers is no stranger to scaling fast. But unlike last time, Rogers isn’t interested in selling so quickly. “It’s the next 20 years of my life. It’s not like building the company in four or five years and selling it to Google. It’s a big, long journey,” he told TechCrunch .
Rogers seeks to end food waste, which accounts for 6-8% of all greenhouse gas emissions, and its tool for doing so is the humble kitchen trash can. Mill Industries’ bin is sleek and technologically enabled, dehydrating and grinding food until it looks like dried coffee grounds. Then, when it’s full, it automatically requests a box to send the dried food scraps to one of Mill’s facilities, where it’s turned into chicken feed. How does it get there? This part surprised Rogers the most.
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Industrial facilities, from semiconductor factories to automotive factories, use surprising amounts of water. What comes out the other side can be hard to process and even harder to reuse. This is why Membrion has developed a ceramic membrane capable of filtering heavy metals such as lead, arsenic and lithium. The startup is investing $7 million in a Series B round which it hopes will bring in an additional $3 million.
Britishvolt has always been a little long, but the battery manufacturing startup seems to have completely missed its mark. This week it announced it was declaring bankruptcy, after making little progress on its planned $4.7 billion gigafactory.
The company’s downfall echoes what happened here in the United States just over a decade ago, when A123 Systems stumbled and went bankrupt itself. But the British version of the story may not have a happy ending. With A123, the United States had time to cover up. With global battery supply chains solidifying, the domestic battery industry in the UK may never catch up.
Space programs pride themselves on developing distant technologies that eventually prove their worth here on Earth. Apollo helped catapult computing, and the space shuttle did wonders for avionics and materials science. Now it’s the turn of the Mars Perseverance rover.
The MOXIE experiment was designed to prove that carbon dioxide can be turned into oxygen on Mars. Chris Graves, who worked on the instrument, thought it could help utilize carbon dioxide on Earth, so he started Noon Energy. The company’s carbon-oxygen battery promises to store electricity for long periods at a relatively low cost. The startup announced a $28 million Series A this week.
Heat pumps and home energy retrofits have received a lot of attention because of the incentives contained in the Curbing Inflation Act. That makes it a good time to be sealed. The company predicts how much energy a retrofit will save and converts upfront installation costs, charging homeowners based on the savings.
For a company that relies so heavily on data, Sealed’s acquisition of Burlington, Vermont-based InfiSense makes sense. Neither company disclosed the terms of the agreement. Sealed plans to offer, but not require, InfiSense’s sensors to customers to monitor both energy consumption and indoor air quality.
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