Every day our researchers comb 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 last full week of March below.
"National Grid announced three strategic transactions as part of its portfolio repositioning efforts. First, National Grid is buying British distribution system operator Western Power Distribution (WPD) from PPL for £7.8 ($10.8) billion. Second, National Grid is selling Narragansett Electric Company, an electricity and gas distribution company in the U.S., for £2.7 ($3.8) billion to PPL. Third, National Grid will start the process of selling a majority stake in its gas transmission and metering business. The company is making a smart move by shifting away from gas and strengthening its focus on its core power business in the U.K., where decarbonization targets promote electrification and seek to leverage distributed energy resources."
SAIC Motor, Toyota, and Bosch lead $500 million round for automated vehicle developer Momenta
Meatable's $47 million Series A indicates growing momentum in the cell-based meat space
"In line with our 2021 predictions, cell-based meat continues to attract more corporate strategic investors. Meatable's Series A funding round brought in corporate investors like DSM Venturing. With about $60 million in funding raised to date, Meatable looks to advance small-scale production at the Biotech Campus Delft, an important milestone for the company. Additionally, it will also use this funding to expand its product portfolio by adding cell-based beef products to its existing focus on cell-based pork. As Lux pointed out, commercializing cell-based meat at cost parity will require an interplay of multiple industries. As this space continues to evolve, look for opportunities along the value chain to engage."
Port of Amsterdam forms alliance to transport up to 1 million tonnes of hydrogen
"The Port will work together with Hydrogenious, HySiLabs, and Electriq Global to explore the feasibility of transporting and storing up to 1 million tonnes of hydrogen per year. While all three companies use liquid hydrogen carriers, it is interesting to see that the Port is spreading its bets across three different types: benzyltoluene (Hydrogenious), silicon-based (HySiLabs), and borohydrides (Electriq Global). We are strongly wary of Electriq Global as a company, but Hydrogenious and HySiLabs offer promising solutions. The international supply chain for hydrogen is slowly starting to take shape, and liquid hydrogen carriers will play an important role."
Bio-on's PHA assets up for auction on May 5th
Kawasaki's $388 million liquefied hydrogen project begins production in Australia with local coal
Jinze Dai, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance
"The Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) pilot project led by Kawasaki and J-Power aims to produce liquefied hydrogen in Australia and transport it to Japan. The pilot coal gasifier and gas refining facility can convert 160 MT of local brown coal to 3 MT of hydrogen annually. The ultimate goal is to scale up the pilot to produce 225,000 MT hydrogen per year with offshore CCS supported by the CarbonNet project. Kawasaki is well-positioned for the project with its liquefied hydrogen carrier launched in 2019. Brown coal is the ideal type of coal for hydrogen production, with low cost, high reactivity, and a high H/C ratio. Companies should monitor this project while recognizing that the cost of brown hydrogen is very sensitive to the cost of CCS."
P&G pledges virgin plastic reduction – a more constructive approach to packaging sustainability
Michael Holman, Ph.D., VP, Research | @MichaelHolmanLR
Lux Take: Average Importance
"The consumer products giant has declared a variety of sustainability goals for its laundry products, notably including "reducing use of virgin plastic in packaging by half (vs. 2020 baseline)." While brands' pledges have often focused on increasing recycled content, or simply making packaging "recyclable" (a term without any clear teeth), P&G's target also covers solutions like lightweighting or shifting to alternatives like its cardboard e-commerice oriented Eco-Box. Other brands like Unilever and Nestle have also targeted virgin plastic reduction, and while there are pitfalls to watch for here – plastic alternatives are not necessarily better for the environment – firms broadening their focus beyond just recycling can be beneficial."