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Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up August 21, 2020

Lux Research
August 21, 2020

Every day our experts comb through the top innovation headlines and provide their analysis on important updates, trends, and developments across industries. Our experts evaluate news based on potential importance ranking the developments from Truly Disruptive to Ignore.

Each Friday we highlight our Lux Take on the news for the week. Check out our thoughts on the latest emerging technology and innovation news for this week below.

Impossible Foods raises $200 million Series G round, bringing total funding to $1.5 billion

thomas hayesThomas Hayes, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important


"New investor Coatue led the round, which comes only four months after Impossible raised a $500 million Series F round. Major company updates include over 60× retail footprint expansion in the U.S., increased presence of Impossible Sausage up to 22,000 restaurants, and new items in its R&D pipeline. The latter is particularly intriguing, with the company stating that it is currently working on new products ranging from plant-based milk to steak. If the company continues to use fermentation-derived ingredients in its formulations, much like it does today with heme, it will be another vote of confidence in the approach for reaching sensorial parity in plant-based foods."

EU will charge all member states fees for plastic waste starting January 2021

drishti masandDrishti Masand, Research Associate | @DrishtiMasand Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"The EU is determined to reduce plastic waste, regardless of the global crisis, by introducing a plastic waste penalty on nonrecycled plastic packaging waste calculated at a call rate of €800 per ton, which will be paid by the member states instead of corporations or individuals. Unlike previous regulations, this new rule directly penalizes countries for a lack of recycling infrastructure and shifts the waste burden to the governments rather than corporations. Most countries will likely implement waste taxes to recoup the costs from consumers and companies, which those interested should closely monitor for; overall, this will accelerate innovation for an efficient recycling infrastructure in the EU."

South Korea's Incheon International Airport is trialing baggage screening technology fitted with UV light disinfection kits

Danielle Bradnan Lux ResearchDanielle Bradnan, Research Associate @DBradnan Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"Incorporating UV light into existing protocols is one of the simpler approaches to addressing COVID-19, provided that the bulbs are changed regularly (UV lights age out of efficacy fairly quickly) and that the personnel follow good practices when handling the UV-exposed trays. While clients can leverage traditional UV lights, manufacturers should be focusing on far-UV-C lights, which are just as effective and are safer to expose humans to. With public focus on hygiene at an all-time high, clients can expect there to be integrations of established cleaning technologies into new processes, and manufacturers of UV-C light technology in particular should anticipate the development of new addressable markets."

Lubrizol joins march downstream in 3D printing with Avid Product Development acquisition

mike holman

Michael Holman, Ph.D., VP, Research | @MichaelHolmanLR Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"Similar to BASF's acquisition of Sculpteo, this move enables a 3D-printable materials supplier to integrate down the value chain, as well as building a more complete polymer 3D printing ecosystem with Avid's capabilities in design and post-processing as well as various 3D printing technologies. As the materials industry evolves, expect more specialty polymer players to make similar downstream moves."

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Oxis Energy and Texas Aircraft to manufacture all-new fully electric aircraft

Chloe HerreraChloe Herrera, Research Associate
Lux Take: Very Important


"The high-wing, all-metal aircraft will be based on the design of an existing Texas Aircraft airplane. The two-seater will target flight training and regional transportation in Brazil, with a flight time of two hours and approximate range of 370 km. Oxis will supply a 90 kWh battery system using its high-power cells achieving 400 Wh/kg. The companies did not provide a timeline for development, but the use of an existing aircraft design will likely shorten the test lead time to within the next five years. While small fixed-wing aircraft is a good first target for electrifying aviation, less developed battery chemistries can be difficult to certify for flight, and narrowing the battery choice at an early stage could limit aircraft performance."

Mitsubishi Chemical develops new acoustic metamaterial for automotive soundproofing

anthony schiavoAnthony Schiavo, Senior Analyst @MobbDeepTech Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"Acoustic metamaterials are generally less developed than their electronic or optical counterparts, so a major player getting involved is an important step. Interestingly, Mitsubishi Chemical has developed a transparent insulator in adding to a more conventional one. This announcement shows that by tackling metamaterial design – even though that may not be an area of existing expertise – materials companies can push their products into new use cases."

VR startup Varjo raises $54 million, indicating maturity of VR technology

Vladimir Roznyatovskiy, Ph.D., Senior AnalystVladimir Roznyatovskiy, Ph.D., Senior Analyst | @roznyatovskiy Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important


"Four-year-old startup Varjo has developed a high-resolution, low-latency, video pass-through-based mixed reality headset. The key enablers for nearly human-eye resolution are stacking two displays for each eye (wide and narrow fields of view) and leveraging GPU optimization for real-time video processing. The company has demonstrated its technology fit for real-time AR experimentation and broader R&D activities through a multitude of partnerships. The latest round of investment is likely to accelerate the diversification of use cases while continuing to miniaturize the hardware with emerging display technologies. Those considering the value of VR/AR in business innovations may see greater confidence in technology potential."

EnergyX and ProfMOF partner up to commercialize MOFs for energy storage

drishti masandDrishti Masand, Research Associate | @DrishtiMasand Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"Through this partnership, both ProfMOF and EnergyX are more likely to successfully commercialize MOF technologies. ProfMOF has the manufacturing knowledge to produce the materials effectively, while EnergyX has a unique application for a membrane system to extract lithium from brine. Success for MOF technologies will require close collaboration between MOF developers and product manufacturers. Product companies that can use MOFs for different applications should collaborate with MOF manufacturing companies like MOF Technologies and ProfMOF to determine whether MOFs are viable and produce MOFs at scale."

Siemens and Bentley Systems to build digital twin of Indonesia's largest petrochemical complex

Harshit SharmaHarshit Sharma, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance


"The duo will create a digital twin for Chandra Asri, Indonesia's largest petrochemical complex. The twin will be built in phases from 2020 to 2025 on PlantSight, a digital twin solution for the process industry jointly developed by Siemens and Bentley. Chandra Asri will use the twin as a centralized platform for analyzing analog and IIoT data and to enable real-time collaboration among engineering, operations, and maintenance for informed capital planning and asset management. Although details regarding investments are undisclosed, companies should view this project as a major undertaking given the size and complexity of Chandra Asri. Significant investment in the facility's IoT infrastructure will be needed to make the twin a success."

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Stanford University and University of Pittsburgh publish study identifying a digital biomarker for intoxication from smartphone data

Danielle Bradnan Lux ResearchDanielle Bradnan, Research Associate @DBradnan Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"Researchers claim to be able to detect drunk individuals based entirely on data from the onboard accelerometer found in most smartphones. The test itself has a reported accuracy of 92%, which is interesting from an academic perspective but unlikely to have any immediate value in terms of replacing more traditional breathalyzer technologies. Those interested should look at the publication of this research as an indicator that interest in the digital biomarkers space is growing and should be looking to consider this interest when implementing strategies in healthcare. Companies that develop sensor hardware should be looking to partner with researchers to understand how newly identified digital biomarkers may open up new markets for current offerings."

Nice mussels: Researchers develop biodegradable adhesive for use in salty and acidic wet environments

Gee, Cecilia

Cecilia Gee, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance


"Biological adhesives are produced by many organisms, such as bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals. Groups like the European Network of Bioadhesion Expertise and TU Berlin have long researched biological adhesives and, specifically, mussel adhesive proteins for medical and mixed-substrate applications. However, many are not yet characterized, have unique (or limiting) properties, and are expensive to produce. This research is notable for its self-coacervation polyester system, functional in a large pH range. Although it won't be commercialized soon, the work is a first step toward developing reliable and potentially cost-effective underwater adhesives. Interested clients can monitor for reproducibility and additional, more rigorous testing."

Valencia, Spain, upgrades public transport with mobile ticketing services

Chad Goldberg  Lux ResearchChad Goldberg, Research Associate
Lux Take: Average Importance


"The city launched its mobile ticketing solution last week with technology partners Masabi, Mastercard, and financial group BBVA. The new integration allows riders to purchase and manage their transit tickets from Masabi's mobile ticketing platform, removing the need for passengers to carry cash or physically interact with ticketing infrastructure. While COVID-19 is being touted as a major driver of the integration, Lux believes deployment of mobile ticketing solutions is imminent and that the current landscape is simply helping to accelerate adoption. Still, it will be interesting to see how the city addresses the social challenge of going cashless, as mobile solutions impact lower-income populations without access to mobile devices."

U.A.E.'s first nuclear power plant starts operations in rare bright spot for conventional nuclear power

Benjamin Torda

Benjamin Torda, Research Associate
Lux Take: Average Importance


"Conventional nuclear continues to struggle in deregulated markets and in countries lacking clear government support. In August 2020, the U.A.E. brought online its first reactor, the 1.3 GW Barakah 1. The Emirates plans to add three more identical reactors, all built by a Korean-led consortium, which in total will supply 25% of the U.A.E.'s electricity needs. The first reactor was, however, delayed by three years, reportedly due to safety concerns. Companies should realize that strong government support is necessary for conventional nuclear plants and that construction challenges continues to constrain the industry."

 

 
 

FURTHER READING:

- Free Access to our COVID-19 Resources

- Press Release: Tech Innovation to Improve Resiliency and Agility Will be Critical Post-COVID-19, Says Lux Research

- Blog: Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up August 14, 2020

- Blog: Digital Transformation in a Post-COVID World

- Blog: What is the Difference Between Chemicals Informatics & Materials Informatics?

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