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Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up July 2, 2021

Lux Research
July 2, 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. 

Haldor Topsoe receives investment support for green ammonia project that requires no hydrogen storage

Runeel Daliah, Analyst, Lux ResearchRuneel Daliah, Senior Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important

"The project will be a 10 MW green ammonia plant that is set to be operational by 2023 in Denmark – the key differentiator will be the plant's ability to withstand fluctuations in hydrogen input caused by intermittent wind and solar resources. This means that the plant can be directly connected to a wind turbine or solar panel, eliminating the need for hydrogen storage to manage intermittency. The project is based on a patented process from Haldor Topsoe, and if successfully demonstrated, it will overcome a major hurdle for the large-scale commercialization of green ammonia."

Pear Therapeutics goes public in SPAC deal

Danielle Bradnan, Analyst, Lux Research

Danielle Bradnan, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important

"The $1.6 billion deal will make Pear Therapeutics (now Pear Holdings Corp.) one of the first digital therapeutics companies to go public. The SPAC merger will allow Pear to go on with commercialization and expansion plans that have struggled since the relationship with Novartis Pharmaceuticals became strained. Going public will likely increase the company's funding opportunities beyond the more traditional investments made in digital therapeutics by pharma players and will improve its image in the healthcare world. As a relatively new market player heralding a technology that only received FDA approval in 2018, Pear needs as much image support as possible – and this merger will help it on both the funding potential and legitimacy fronts."

U.S. DOE awards $99 million to two large-scale post-combustion carbon capture projects

Jinze Dai, Analyst, Lux ResearchJinze Dai, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important

"The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign received $47 million from the DOE to build and operate a 10 MWe carbon capture system at City Water, Light, and Power in Springfield, Illinois, using the amine-based solvent scrubbing technology developed by Linde/BASF. Membrane Technology and Research also received $52 million to build and operate a 10 MWe pilot plant at the Wyoming Integrated Test Center based on its membrane CO2 capture process. The DOE's continual investment promotes the scale-up of carbon capture technologies and will likely lead to new commercial-scale facilities like Petra Nova, which was shut down in 2020. Companies should monitor these two projects to keep track of the cost and scalability of carbon capture technologies."

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Sika introduces its concrete 3D printing technology to U.S. market

Tugce Uslu, Analyst, Lux Research

Tugce Uslu, PDEng, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important

"Biogen's recent FDA approval for its AD drug continues to trigger controversy, as we have discussed here and here. Part of the reason is that the drug is based on the "amyloid hypothesis," which posits that accumulation of amyloid-beta plaques is the main cause of AD. New research findings, however, suggest that amyloid plaques may be the consequence rather than the cause. Data from the research suggests that cognitive impairment could be due to a decline in soluble amyloid-beta peptide rather than the accumulation of amyloid plaques. Companies, keep this development on your radar, and do note that preventive health approaches must address the root cause of AD, whereas treatment of symptoms can target the consequences of AD."

With many recent partnerships, digital sales platform startup Knowde is gaining strong momentum

Xiao Zhong, Ph.D., Senior Analyst, Lux Research

Xiao Zhong, Ph.D., Senior Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important

"Knowde's recently announced partnerships include those with DuPontBraskem AmericaDSMRoquette, and Givaudan. These partnerships, along with a $14 million Series A backed by Sequoia Capital, have paved the way for Knowde as a leader in the digital sales platform (DSP) space. Through conversations with some users, Lux has learned Knowde not only has a good user interface but also has some advanced analytics tools, which can help buyers and sellers more easily identify each other. While chemical companies should form their own DSPs in the longer term, they should partner with existing ones as a first step, and Knowde could be a good choice, as it is not a spinoff from any chemical companies (unlike CheMondis or Covalo)."

NLP company Primer AI raises $110 million Series C and announces partnerships with Microsoft and Palantir

Cole McCollum, Analyst, Lux Research

Cole McCollum, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important

"While many recent advancements in NLP have been open-sourced, Primer (Lux Take: Positive) has done a good job remaining competitive with, and in some cases outperforming, other open-source or proprietary NLP systems. These performance benefits, in addition to the ability to handle multiple languages, including English, Chinese, and Russian, have enabled the company to build a strong presence in the intelligence, defense, and finance industries. With these latest announcements, along with its new no-code platform to train custom NLP models, companies should look to engage with Primer as it continues to expand to other industries like CPG and pharmaceuticals for enabling use cases like analyzing customer feedback or monitoring drug safety."

Patagonia signs multiyear sales agreement in anticipation of Infinited Fiber Company's 30,000 tpa regenerated textile fiber facility

Tiffany Hua, Senior Research Associate, Lux Research

Tiffany Hua, Senior Research Associate
Lux Take: Average Importance

"Previously, Infinited Fiber Company announced that it was building a commercial facility in Finland, which it expects to be operational by 2024. What sets the company apart is its use of post-consumer textile waste as its feedstock, where few companies are commercializing right now. At this time, Lenzing and Södra have committed to producing 50,000 tpa of half wood, half post-consumer recycled textile fibers. Apparel companies looking to incorporate sustainable materials into their products should engage with Infinited Fiber Company, as available output reservations will not last given its strong partnerships with brands like PVH Corp., Wrangler, Bestseller, and most notably H&M Group."

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LineVision installs transmission line monitoring in California for the first time

Jessica Hernandez, Analyst, Lux ResearchJessica Hernandez, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

"LineVision is piloting its patented grid monitoring solution together with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), aiming to monitor transmission infrastructure and identify if additional capacity is available. In the U.S., dynamic line rating (DRL) technologies haven't been actively replacing the static line rating (SLR) process that has been used for decades by transmission system operators (TSOs). One key hurdle is that DLR solutions tend to require additional sensing components mounted on power lines. LineVision claims it can lower this barrier by offering a noncontact lidar-powered monitoring system and support SMUD's goal of decarbonizing its grid by 2030 by unlocking additional capacity on existing power lines."

PepsiCo's case indicates the substantial value of AI solutions for analyzing consumer demands and predicting their behaviors for CPGs

Jerrold Wang, Analyst, Lux ResearchJerrold Wang, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

"PepsiCo reportedly works with AI companies to analyze emerging consumer demands and identify product development opportunities. Among the companies are Tastewise, which tracks multiple consumer touch points to uncover what people eat and why, and Black Swan Data, which analyzes consumer conversations around food on social networks to predict their behavior. It's imperative for food and nutrition and CPG companies to reach out to AI companies and their peers for collaboration, as these solutions will enable you to pick up early market signals and launch products consumers don't know they want. Companies, these solutions are especially helpful for those seeking competitive advantage by proactively offering new products to cater to new demands."


Beeflow closes $8.3 million Series A, creating buzz around pollination technologies

Laura Krishfield, Research Associate, Lux ResearchLaura Krishfield, Research Associate
Lux Take: Average Importance

"This funding round was led by Israeli investment group iAngels and will help Better Juice scale its sugar reduction technology based on immobilized non-GMO microorganisms. The company plans to build a full-scale manufacturing plant in Israel to increase its production capacity by 40×. Better Juice has previously demonstrated the industrial applicability of its technology by partnering with processing engineering company GEA Group for bioreactor setup and Brazilian company Citrosuco on the application front. Those interested in sugar reduction for fruit juices should engage with the company, as its technology caters to the clean-label trend by converting fruit sugars to prebiotic and nondigestible fibers and sugars."

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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