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Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up August 27, 2021

Lux Research
August 27, 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 past week below. 

India unveils its National Hydrogen Mission

Runeel Daliah, Senior Analyst, Lux research

Runeel Daliah, Senior Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important

 

"The new mission was announced by Prime Minister Modi in his Independence Day speech. India intends to implement green hydrogen obligations in fertilizer production and refining and incentivize the manufacturing of electrolyzers locally. It additionally aims to cut the cost of green hydrogen production to $2/kg hydrogen by 2030. Information around green hydrogen capacity targets and investment is still lacking – we expect more details to be revealed later this year."

Sound Agriculture closes $45 million Series D to expand market reach

Deepest Bista, Analyst, Lux Research

Deepesh Bista, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important

 

"Led by Leaps by Bayer and joined by new investor Northpond Ventures, Sound Agriculture aims to focus on scaling marketing and sales. Sound's CEO claims its product SOURCE can either decrease N use by 30% or boost yield at typical N application rates. It uses a chemical mode of action that improves by stimulating microbial activity. Sound has products available for corn and soybean and a pipeline for wheat, cotton, and canola as well as a product under development targeting carbon sequestration, and few chemical products have taken the approach of mimicking plant-microbe signaling compounds. Sound competes against established biostimulant players but brings a unique synthetic perspective to enabling nutrient availability."

U.K. unveils its National Hydrogen Strategy

Runeel Daliah, Senior Analyst, Lux Research

Runeel Daliah, Senior Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important

 

"The full National Hydrogen Strategy can be viewed here. The U.K. intends to build a hydrogen economy worth $1.2 billion and produce up to 5 GW of hydrogen by 2030. Key to the economy is the development of blue hydrogen (unlike its European peers, which favor green hydrogen) and the blending of hydrogen in its natural gas network to decarbonize the heating sector. While the U.K. is already host to many upcoming large-scale hydrogen projects, the newly launched strategy should further bolster development in the sector."

Lux Research - Newsletter Research

Biome Makers closes $15 million Series B led by Prosus Ventures

Deepest Bista, Analyst, Lux Research

Deepesh Bista, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important

 

"In addition to chemistry-based insights, tools that assess the soil microbiome are needed to form a better understanding of plant-soil relations and develop sustainable farming practices. With this funding round, Biome Makers aims for global expansion of its products BeCrop (soil analysis and recovery) and Gheom (a crop input assessment tool). Trace Genomics and SARDI's PREDICTA platform represent the gold standard of the microbial metagenomic approach to aid soil health, while Biome is vying to become the leader in the agricultural field. Companies should consider engaging with Biome for co-development opportunities that capitalize on the company's promising soil sampling and analysis technology."

SK Innovation announces company spinoffs to separate battery and exploration and production businsses

Chloe Herrera, Senior Research Associate, Lux Research

Chloe Herrera, Senior Research Associate
Lux Take: Average Importance

 

"Following the split of SK Innovation's business, it will become a holding company for the activities of both new companies. In July 2021, SK Innovation held Story Day, where the company expressed a new focus on climate technology, pledging carbon neutrality for its green business by 2030 and for its fossil fuels business by 2050. Story Day additionally revealed that SK Innovation may use the opportunity to take the battery company public. A division of business activities is to be expected; battery manufacturing is a capital-intensive project, but the separation will attract eager clean tech investors to its battery business."

Blockchain-based traceability solution provider VeChain expands to the Chinese pet food market

Jerrold Wang, Analyst, Lux Research

Jerrold Wang, MBA, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

 

"The VeChain system currently serves CPG, agriculture, and other markets. The expansion to pet food is well-timed, as the Chinese government is eager to push blockchain applications, and the segment is untapped by traceability. However, VeChain's success is still in question. It's unlikely that consumers in pet food have the same willingness to pay for traceability as those in other food segments (like baby formula). Also, VeChain doesn't show strong technology differentiation from direct competitors like HiMarking. Those interested in traceability should monitor the progress of VeChain and its peers, as their developments indicate the maturity of traceability opportunities in different agrifood and CPG segments."

Bolt Threads gives spider silk another go, this time with Gingko Bioworks for cosmetics applications

Tiffany Hua, Senior Research Associate, Lux Research

Tiffany Hua, Senior Research Associate
Lux Take: Average Importance

 

"In the past few years, Bolt Threads has taken a step back from spider silk textiles and focused on Mylo and spider silk ingredients for cosmetics through Beebe Lab or Bolt Beauty (previously Eighteen B). Spider silk textiles are notoriously difficult to commercialize, and so the shift to cosmetics is no surprise. Similar to its difficulties in apparel, Bolt Threads must justify the premium and differentiate its B-silk protein through performance while scaling up production. With Gingko Bioworks as a technology partner, it will be able to improve production efficiency using Gingko's expertise. For Gingko, this unique partnership will demonstrate its strain engineering expertise; however, it is unlikely to generate substantial revenue."

Lux Research - Materials - Newsletter

BioGrow launches mobile seed treatment vehicle across Argentina for in-field application

Jamie Grippi, Senior Research Associate, Lux Research

Jamie Grippi, Senior Research Associate
Lux Take: Average Importance

 

"Despite its pledge of peak emissions by 2030, China continues to expand its coal power and steel manufacturing capacity. Specifically, the government announced 18 coal-fired blast furnaces and 43 coal-fired power plants in the first half of 2021. While China is the global leader in renewable energy capacity installations, with 72 GW of wind and 48 GW of solar in 2020, it continues to invest heavily in thermal generation assets as well. In terms of steel, China manufacturers more than 56% of the global supply and lacks a viable low-carbon alternative. While the carbon-neutral pledges in 2020 were met with much skepticism, it is becoming clear that a green strategy for post-COVID economic recovery will not be a universal phenomenon."

Capturing growing carbon markets, Growmark and Indigo Ag join hands

Tim Appachanda, Ph.D., Senior Analyst, Lux Research

Tim Appachanda, Ph.D., Senior Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

 

"U.S. farmer-owned cooperative Growmark is partnering with Indigo Ag division "Carbon by Indigo" to help its farmer customers get started with carbon trading. Indigo Ag has been involved in carbon credit generation since 2019. The Growmark FS retailers will assist farmers with enrolling in Carbon by Indigo and implementing good agricultural practices that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester carbon. Indigo will facilitate the measurement and verification of regenerative farming practices and translate them into carbon credits. Companies need to keep a watch on growing voluntary carbon markets, an opportunity for collaboration with companies that offers soil analysis and data analytics services for carbon markets."

Did you miss last week's news round-up? Check out the blog here. Make sure you never miss a headline by subscribing to our newsletter.

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