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Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up July 10, 2020

Lux Research
July 10, 2020

Everyday our analysts comb through the latest innovation headlines and provide their analysis on major industry developments and trends. Our experts evaluate news based on potential importance ranking the developments from Truly Disruptive to Ignore.

On Fridays we highlight our Lux Take on the news for the week. Check out our thoughts on the top emerging technology and innovation news, including our researchers' coverage of technologies and strategies as they relate to the global pandemic below.

Air Products, ACWA Power to build 1 GW electrolyzer in Saudi Arabia for global trade of green ammonia

Tim Grejtak Lux Research

Tim Grejtak,  Analyst | @TheEnergyNerd Ico twitter
Lux Take: Truly Disruptive

"Air Products and ACWA Power announced an agreement to build a 1 GW electrolyzer and a 1.2 million ton/year green ammonia facility in the planned city of NEOM in Saudi Arabia. Air Products, ACWA Power, and NEOM are committing $5 billion to the project. The electrolyzer will integrate 4 GW of new wind and solar capacity and synthesize ammonia to ship around the world for renewable hydrogen supply. Those interested shouldn't be surprised by such aggressive moves by chemical companies and utilities to muscle in on the global energy trade, especially as oil and gas companies are left vulnerable from COVID-19 disruptions. Instead, companies should develop their own renewable energy export strategies with well-aligned partners and end customers."

Materials informatics and synthetic biology offer two disruptive methods for alternative manufacturing

XIAO ZHONGXiao Zhong, Ph.D., Analyst | @conanxzxz Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"Lux recently attended a webinar called "The Next Digital Leap to AI." The presenter discussed several areas where digital tools can enable transformative capabilities in the chemical industry and beyond. Among the areas, Lux highlights AI/automation (materials informatics, MI) and biology-based production (synthetic biology, synbio). Although often developed by different communities, these two platform technologies have a fair number of similarities: a) using AI and data (chemicals vs. genes), b) chemical synthesis vs. fermentation. Comparing these two, MI is much less developed than synbio, especially on the chemical production side. Companies should develop a broader view and see them as two tools in the "alternative manufacturing toolbox."

Carbon Clean Solutions completes $22 million Series B round to scale CO₂ capture technology

holly havelHolly Havel, Research Associate
Lux Take: Very Important

"The Series B funding round, led by five global players, including recent investors Equinor and Icos Capital, will support the company's ongoing growth efforts to scale technology across several industrial sectors while continuing cost reduction efforts to validate the claimed capture cost of $30/MT of CO2, which is significantly lower than that of incumbent MEA-based technologies. To achieve the latter, Carbon Clean Solutions is working on producing modularized systems as it scales its technology for large-scale projects in new sectors like cement. With several projects in the pipeline, companies should monitor the company's progress in achieving its capture cost goals by 2021, which would be a game-changer for industrial decarbonization."

Garmin acquires Firstbeat, the analytics company that supports its vital signs services

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

"With Garmin's acquisition of Firstbeat, it is potentially gutting its closest competition by removing access to the analytics service that allows for claims regarding heart rate, sleep quality, and cardio fitness. Should Garmin choose to discontinue its licensing partnerships with big-name APAC fitness wearables like Huawei, Xiaomi, and Amazfit, these competitors will have to scramble to develop their own analytics solutions. With Huawei having the fastest-growing fitness wearable (hot on the heels of Apple's smartwatch sales numbers) in APAC, Garmin may be able to hold off the competition it faces in its consumer fitness niche."

Lux Research - Newsletter Research

AgroUrbana receives $1 million seed funding to initiate vertical farming in Latin America

Haslun, JoshJoshua Haslun, Ph.D., Senior Analyst | @JHaslun Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"The round was led by ChileGlobal Ventures, the venture arm of a public-private initiative supporting Chile's innovation in sustainability, and joined by CORFO, Engie Factor, Entel, and Zoma Capital. AgroUrbana's 3,000 ft2 facility in Chile will answer questions around economic viability and market potential in the region. The founders have significant experience with renewable energy and plan to integrate solar, of which Chile is a champion, through a future power purchase agreement (PPA). Unsurprisingly, the company will target the restaurant and food service markets first with greens and fruits. Companies should expect AgroUrbana to achieve its Series A and scaled facility (30,000 ft2) goals due to regional first-mover advantage."

WeRide starts driverless robotaxi rides in Guangzhou with teleoperated backup controls

Kern, JoshJosh Kern, Analyst | @josh_kern_ Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"In a first for China, the autonomous vehicle company received a permit from Guangzhou authorities allowing it to test its vehicles on the open road without a safety driver. Instead, operators will remotely control the vehicles over a 5G network when they get into situations outside of their intended operations, such as inclement weather or unusual traffic conditions. Globally, the company is only second to Waymo in rolling out pilots without a safety driver in the vehicle. Companies should note that autonomous vehicle developers in China are relying more on infrastructure like 5G and V2X communications, in large part due to Chinese cities rolling out that technology at a faster pace than U.S. cities are."

Perfect Day raises an additional $160 million in funding to commercialize fermentation-derived proteins

hariniHarini Venkataraman, Ph.D., Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important

This second tranche of Series C funding was led by CPP Investments with participation from previous investors like Horizon Ventures and Temasek, and follows the company's initial $140 million funding round in 2019. Perfect Day's recent momentum, including funding, pilot product launch, and partnerships is a step in the right direction to achieve its commercialization goals. Nevertheless, achieving cost parity will be a key driver for widespread adoption of fermentation-derived proteins, which startups like Perfect Day hope to achieve through economies of scale. Companies, as fermentation-derived proteins continue to gain momentum, engage with the right partners to test the added functionality of these protein ingredients."


Autonomous vehicle startup Voyage details its teleoperations system

Lewie Roberts Lux Research

Lewie Roberts, Senior Research Associate | @roberts_lewie Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance

"Voyage is introducing a teleoperations aspect to its autonomous vehicle (AV) platform in an effort to bring its product to market sooner. A remote expert will provide direction to an AV in operation if the AV is unsure of what to do in an edge case, with the expert's actions ranging from route guidance to complete remote takeover. Being able to ship a product before AVs operate perfectly 99.99...% of the time is important for a smaller organization like Voyage because investors are unlikely to stick around long enough for such improvements to happen. Companies should monitor the situation to see how much the labor costs of teleoperations will affect Voyage's business model overall, especially if this becomes a trend among AV startups."

Lux Research - Materials - eBook

Middle East's Fine Hygienic is offering improved cloth face mask with antiviral technology from Swiss company Livinguard

drishti masand

Drishti Masand, Research Associate | @DrishtiMasand Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance

"Livinguard claims 99% effectiveness at inactivating the novel coronavirus and that it can be reused for up to 30 washes (with one wash suggested per week), though the technology is still awaiting official approval for its claims. While this product is still unproven, many other brands will be looking to adopt similar technologies to address heightened consumer concerns about hygiene. Antiviral coatings will be a large growth area in the broader antimicrobial coating space, though they will continue to face challenges in efficacy and durability, regulations, and environmental concerns."

Digital therapeutics company SidekickHealth partners with Pfizer to develop a digital therapeutics platform for chronic disease

Danielle BradnanDanielle Bradnan, Research Associate @DBradnan Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance

"The platform, which will roll out in Europe, will use gamification to help patients manage chronic conditions like irritable bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's disease. These conditions all benefit from adherence to a treatment plan and represent billions of dollars in direct healthcare costs. By leveraging a digital solution, Pfizer is increasing the number of touch points it has with patients to improve outcomes – ultimately making the combined solution of a chemical treatment with a digital one more attractive to physicians and payers. Companies should engage with digital therapeutics as a way for nontraditional players to interface with the lucrative pharmaceutical industry as a support, rather than a competitor."

Israeli eVTOL company looks to hydrogen as its fuel source

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

"Hydrogen fuel cell developer HyPoint has been tapped by Urban Aeronautics to build a power plant that will eventually supply the hydrogen for the Israeli company's eVTOL operations. The current majority of well-funded eVTOL startups are using lithium-ion batteries to power their vehicles, though batteries significantly limit operational range compared to fossil fuels and hydrogen. While Lux has yet to see many eVTOL developers go the hydrogen route, it may be more of a technical fit for those with plans to operate air taxi networks to spend more money on energy that will extend range. Still, both companies are very early-stage, so those interested should merely monitor the companies and landscape for further examples of hydrogen implementation."







- Free Access to our COVID-19 Resources

- Blog: Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up June 3, 2020

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