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Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up April 30, 2021

Lux Research
April 30, 2021

Every day our researchers read through the top innovation headlines and provide their expert opinions on important developments and industry news. Our analysts then evaluate news based on potential importance ranking the developments from Truly Disruptive to Ignore.

On Fridays we highlight our Lux Take on the top news for the week. Check out our thoughts on the latest emerging technology and innovation news for the final week of April below.

Lyft sells its automated driving group to Toyota for $550 million

Lewie Roberts Lux Research

Lewie Roberts, Senior Research Associate | @roberts_lewie Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important


"
Just as Uber sold off its autonomous vehicle (AV) team at the end of 2020, Lyft is now selling its AV group (named Level 5) to Toyota. Level 5 will become a part of Toyota's Woven Planet, a mobility-focused holding company with an investment arm. The deal is not exclusive, and Lyft will continue to work with its AV partner Motional (formerly Aptiv) while Toyota continues work with Aurora. Lyft noted that this sale will "remove $100 million of annualized non-GAAP operating expenses on a net basis." As the number of acquisitions of AV companies focused on ride-hailing increases, it's becoming clear that such companies just don't have enough money to fund a capital-intensive, competitive AV program without sacrificing profitability."

Avantium and Cosun Beet announce ambitious collaboration to scale plant-based glycols

Kristin Marshall, Analyst at Lux Research

Kristin Marshall, Analyst | @KMarsh4Bio Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important


"Bio-based routes to monoethylene glycol (MEG) have already been commercialized, but there are several ongoing efforts to develop lower-cost routes. Avantium's Ray Technology is one example. The company claims to have developed a highly efficient process to produce MEG from plant-based sugars. Being a global sugar beet processor, Cosun Beets is an ideal partner for Avantium to construct and operate its first commercial plant with. While details of the partnership are still being finalized, the first step will be to enter into a joint venture, in which Cosun will take a substantial share. Companies should monitor the JV, as it will look to make a financial decision by 2023 and begin operations of a commercial plant by 2025."

Singapore's bus interchanges and train stations will now also function as healthcare nodes

Ramanathan, Nardev-1

Nardev Ramanathan, Ph.D., Senior Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important


"We previously forecasted a growing decentralization of healthcare services. This development further validates our forecast. As a tiny city-state, Singapore must manage its limited land space, prioritizing between urgent care services and community care services. Taking advantage of the high human traffic in these public spaces, 17 of these stations will undergo a trial, serving first as dementia go-to points. One in 10 Singaporeans over 60 suffers from dementia, a trend that reflects its rapidly aging population. The focus now will be upskilling existing station staff, but companies can expect more digital touchpoints and integration opportunities in the near term, especially in an innovation-friendly ecosystem like Singapore."

Lux Research - Newsletter Research

Photovoltaic-thermal developer RayGen raises AU$3 million in equity from shareholder Photon Energy

Seoane da Silva, PatriciaPatricia Seoane da Silva, Senior Research Associate
Lux Take: Average Importance


"RayGen plans to use the newly raised funds to develop a 50 MWh pilot, build a 100 MW-scale manufacturing facility, and potentially construct a 1,000 MWh plant. RayGen's concentrated solar power (CSP) technology resembles a solar power tower, except that the tower-mounted receiver contains an array of GaAs photovoltaic (PV) cells. This system also integrates a 90 °C water reservoir to store heat extracted from the solar cells. This approach could potentially deliver baseload power and heat, but companies should realize that there are not any indicators that the economics of this concept are more favorable than those of a CSP-plus-high temperature thermal energy storage system, or simply a PV farm co-located with a CSP plant and storage unit."

Cargill establishes joint venture with startup Bflike for its vegan fat and "blood"

10085-thumb-squareThomas Hayes, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance


"Bflike will license its technology for use in plant-based meat and fish alternatives. Details are scarce on what exactly comprises Bflike's technology, but its vegan "blood" is reminiscent of Impossible Foods' fermentation-derived heme. As Cargill builds out a plant protein business, it is exemplifying how to bolt on processing and formulation technologies that help reach "sensorial parity" between animal- and plant-based products. Those in a similar position as Cargill should do the same."

Amazon expands its Climate Pledge Friendly program with six new certifications

drishti masandDrishti Masand, Analyst | @DrishtiMasand Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance


"After launching in September 2019 with 19 external certifications, Amazon announced that the program has six new certifying climate-focused organizations and thousands of new products on the list, bringing the total to more than 75,000 in the U.S. and EU. This program is helpful for informing consumers on how to identify sustainable solutions, but it is somewhat limited, as the certifications only address specific issues, are not foolproof, and do little to change the bigger picture of overconsumption and the broader environmental impacts associated with it. Certifications can help communicate sustainable improvements, but their growing use and often misuse are causing consumers to be more skeptical of claims made."

Nikola and TravelCenters of America collaborate on hydrogen fueling stations for fuel cell vehicles

Jinze Dai

Jinze Dai, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

"Nikola and TravelCenters of America (TA-Petro) plan to install two hydrogen fueling stations at two existing TA-Petro sites in Southern California by Q1 2023, which will be available to any truck customer and comply with a common industry standard for heavy-duty fueling protocols. Capitalizing on the existing fossil fuel infrastructure to serve hydrogen is expected to reduce the cost of installation, but it is not enough – Nikola will need to line up trucking operators to ensure a sufficient utilization rate of hydrogen fueling stations. Although Nikola seems aware of the right steps to take, considering the company's past history of lopsided partnerships for credibility, clients should be cautious about how far this partnership can go."

EnergyNest raises €110 million, making Infracapital its largest shareholder

Hernandez, JessicaJessica Hernandez, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance


"EnergyNest signed an investment agreement with Infracapital, claiming this will enable "international growth providing financed turnkey energy storage solutions for industrial clients." EnergyNest is smart to focus on the decarbonization of industry, which is the best target application for thermal energy storage (TES) developers, as low round-trip efficiencies for power generation applications remain a key challenge when comparing TES to other storage technologies. Furthermore, the required temperature for industrial processes will determine which kind of TES system is applicable. THose interested should monitor if EnergyNest is able to secure its industrial customers worldwide, as its thermal battery can store heat up to 550 °C."

Making Sense of Sustainability

3YourMind receives $12.4 million in Series A+ round for expansion into new markets

Akshay Chaudhari, Ph.D.

Akshay Chaudhari, Ph.D., Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

"As the additive manufacturing hardware matures and becomes part of conventional manufacturing ecosystems, pure-play software startups working on workflow management and optimization are experiencing positive momentum. There are not many players in the 3D printing software market specifically focusing on workflow management and MES. Though the recent funding round will help 3YourMind expand to new markets, competition from an established player like Materialise offering end-to-end software services including MES and workflow management solutions remains a significant barrier to scale-up."

Global Bioenergies to launch its own range of cosmetic products

Kristin Marshall, Analyst at Lux Research

Kristin Marshall, Analyst | @KMarsh4Bio Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance


"Global Bioenergies has been shifting its focus to high-margin applications in recent years. The biotech startup now plans to produce and market a line of makeup products using its own bio-based ingredient. It will initially produce 300,000 units and aims to have its commercial launch in the next six months. With this approach, the company is not only demonstrating the value of its bio-based ingredient to potential customers but also giving itself time and access to additional funds needed to scale production. The company is being strategic so that, in the future, it can supply its ingredient to the entire industry. Clients should monitor Global Bioenergies for further announcements, as more details will be disclosed in the coming weeks."

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