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Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up May 28, 2021

Lux Research
May 28, 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 final week of May.

Bowery's $300 million Series C raises no doubt for the growth of controlled-environment agriculture (CEA)

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Laura Krishfield, Senior Research Associate
Lux Take: Truly Disruptive

"Led by Fidelity Management & Research, the round included existing investors GV, General Catalyst, GGV Capital, Temasek, and Groupe Artémis and new investors Amplo and Gaingels, among others. According to the press release, this round is the largest private fundraise to date for an indoor farming company and brings Bowery's total funding to $475 million. This event follows Bowery's launch of an R&D facility called Farm X that will focus on breeding seeds for CEA and developing new crop offerings for Bowery, including strawberries, root vegetables, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Clients, CEA is experiencing a spur of funding that is propelling innovation in crop varieties by leading players; partner here now to secure future financial returns."

Japan allocates $3.4 billion to accelerate development of its hydrogen economy

Runeel Daliah

Runeel Daliah, Senior Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important

"The funds will be used over the next 10 years and go toward two main initiatives: $650 million will go toward the development of electrolysis for local production of green hydrogen, while the remaining $2.8 billion will go toward the development of a large-scale supply chain for hydrogen. Japan has an ambitious goal of increasing its hydrogen demand by more than 1 million tons by 2030 (from a current 2 million tons today), and the size of the funding indicates the sheer cost of developing a hydrogen economy. Hydrogen storage and transport will be crucial for Japan's hydrogen economy, as it will rely on imports of cheap and low-carbon hydrogen from regions like Australia, the Middle East, and South America."

Mitsui Chemicals and Toyota Tsusho adopt Neste's biobased hydrocarbons for plastic production

Anthony Schiavo, Research Director

Anthony Schiavo, Research Director | @MobbDeepTech Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"The groups will use a mass balance approach to market the resulting plastics products; resulting products will not be 100% bio-based despite some suggestive headlines. This move isn't unexpected, as it comes amid stronger adoption of both drop-in bio-based feedstocks and mass balance approaches. The key question remains: What is the value of mass balance certified plastic? Those interested should monitor the adoption of these plastics to understand the answer."

The Chemical and Materials Company of 2040

Singaporean precision medicine startup Hummingbird Bioscience nets $125 million in Series C funding led by Novo Holdings

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Nardev Ramanathan, Ph.D., Senior Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important


"This will further expand Hummingbird's proprietary Rational Antibody Discovery (RAD) platform for novel therapeutic monoclonal antibodies. The market for therapeutic antibodies is rapidly growing, as new drugs have been approved for treating various human diseases, including many cancers and metabolic and infectious diseases. Over 79 antibodies have been approved by the U.S. FDA, with significant growth potential. Also, Singapore is now moving to Phase 2 of its National Precision Medicine (NPM) program and wants to bring more medical innovation right to the patients. Companies, this is a good time to identify both investment and partnership opportunities in the rapidly emerging precision medicine landscape, whether in Singapore or elsewhere."

Hitachi Rail acquires British energy harvesting sensor developer Perpetuum

Lisheng GaoLisheng Gao, Ph.D., Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important


"Perpetuum has spent more than a decade developing battery-free vibration energy harvesting IoT sensor technologies and identifying viable applications. The company eventually focused on predictive maintenance in rail systems, which is an event-driven application. The energy-harvesting sensor market has struggled to take off due to technical limitations and costs. The acquisition recognizes the commercial value of Perpetuum's energy-harvesting sensor technologies for rail systems and the potential of new use cases. Those interested should expect to see Hitachi Rail use the energy-harvesting sensors on more trains and expand the use cases to other rail assets."

TerViva's $54 million will bring pongamia-derived ingredients to market

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Laura Krishfield, Senior Research Associate
Lux Take: Very Important

"The funding comes from several industry executives and will be used by TerViva to commercialize its Pongamia-derived oil and new protein product. In addition to the $54 million, TerViva expects to raise $24 million in equity and debt capital this quarter. TerViva has teamed up with Danone to create new food products incorporating pongamia oil and protein and will open a new production facility in 2022. TerViva is expanding its production in Florida, Hawaii, and Australia while securing wild-harvest beans from India. TerViva's progress has been steady, and these events will bring additional plant-based product choices to the market."

Green Mountain Power launches frequency regulation pilot program

Seoane da Silva, PatriciaPatricia Seoane da Silva, Senior Research Associate
Lux Take: Average Importance


"This initiative builds upon GMP's early efforts to use residential batteries for demand response, a strategy that favors its utility business while reducing the economical hurdle faced by owners of distributed storage units. Through this pilot, GMP customers owning at least two Tesla Powerwall batteries will benefit from additional revenue streams – namely a $13.50 monthly payment from GMP and additional income from frequency regulation services paid by ISO New England (ISO-NE). Already, 200 customers have joined this pilot, which opens the frequency regulation market to GMP after a three-month period of testing with ISO-NE. This project is another sign of the grid management and value stacking potential within distributed energy resources."

Lux Research - Newsletter Research

PepsiCo launches new functional sparkling water for mental stamina and relaxation

Jerrold WangJerrold Wang, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance


"The brand, named Soulboost, has two varieties targeting mental stamina (using panax ginseng) and relaxation (using L-theanine). This launch signals the growing interest of the leading beverage companies in functional products for health and wellness. Among other examples are Nestlé's acquisition of Essentia Water and Ocean Spray's new product line B1U. As the functional beverage segment becomes crowded, the defining factors of success will be how the companies can validate wellness claims, maximize product effects through personalization, and pick up early signals of emerging consumer demands. Those interested should allocate more attention to R&D and investment on these differentiators for long-term success."

Daimler Buses opens mobile 3D printing center for spare part production

Tugce Uslu, PDEngTugce Uslu, PDEng, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance


"Daimler Buses and OMNIplus have opened a center for the fast production and delivery of spare parts for Daimler's buses. For now, it has one small mobile container – equipped with an HP Jet Fusion 3D printer and post-processing equipment – at the BusWorld Home service center in Hamburg, but it plans to expand to other locations in the future. Currently, Daimler is working on digitizing the manufacturing process for around 7,000 bus parts and will deliver these parts in a few days rather than several weeks using this mobile center. Those with stakes in manufacturing should view this project as a successful case study and consider developing similar business cases where 3D printing can simplify logistics and reduce production lead times."

Ohio State University researchers look into CO₂ plume geothermal technology combining carbon storage with geothermal energy extraction

Jinze Dai

Jinze Dai, Analyst
Lux Take: Low Importance

"CO2 plume geothermal (CPG) technology utilizes supercritical CO2 as the working fluid to extract heat from a geothermal reservoir. The heat carried by CO2 is then turned into power using a supercritical CO2 gas turbine. According to an article by an Ohio State University researcher, CPG can produce more power at a lower depth than traditional water-based geothermal systems due to the strong thermosiphon effect and low viscosity of CO2. Though CPG is an appealing concept, it has not gained commercial traction, as key players like TerraCOH have not raised sufficient funding to launch demonstrations. Companies should expect the research on CPG to grow but recognize that it will not be commercialized until the CO2 supply chain is developed."

Powerhouse Energy signs agreement for rollout of plastic-to-hydrogen plants in Greece and Hungary

Runeel Daliah

Runeel Daliah, Senior Analyst
Lux Take: Ignore

"Powerhouse develops a plastic gasification technology for production of hydrogen. The company generated significant hype in 2018 when it first announced ambitious plans for 200 plastic-to-hydrogen plants in the U.K., but its momentum significantly faltered, as it has yet to launch a commercial facility – its first facility originally planned for 2020 with Peel Environment appears to still be under construction. This new agreement for expansion in Greece and Hungary will do little to change the company's fortunes."

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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