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Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up November 12, 2021

Lux Research
November 12, 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. 

Pilot testing of food pesticide and pathogen analyses using a photonic sensor in the EU

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

Tim Appachanda, Ph.D., Senior Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important


"Pesticide residues in food are analyzed using gas chromatography- and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry methods, which take two to three days and are expensive. A novel plasmo-photonic bimodal multiplexing sensor is being developed by researchers on the EU-funded GRACED project that is 50 to 100 times faster than current laboratory methods. The new sensor uses the altered interference pattern of the laser light to detect pesticides and pathogens on food samples and is being tested in different production and distribution systems in France, Italy, and Hungary. Companies should plan ways to integrate these rapid detection technologies in their supply chains in the future for quality monitoring to avoid food safety concerns and recalls.

Upside Foods opens commercial facility for cell-based meat in the U.S.

hariniHarini Venkataraman, Ph.D., Analyst, Lux Research

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


"The facility, located in Emeryville, California, will manufacture 50,000 pounds of cell-based meat per year. Upside Foods' $161 million Series B cash infusion in 2020 was critical to the facility's construction. The plant will initially produce cell-based chicken but later expand to other types of meat, including beef. This development positions Upside Foods as a key player in the cell-based meat landscape, followed by players like Eat Just, Mosa Meat, and Future Meat. While this is a significant milestone, its commercialization timeline depends on regulatory approval from the USDA and the FDA. With the U.S. likely to be the next country to approve the sale of cell-based meat, key players should monitor developments on the regulatory front.

Teladoc partners with Trustmark Health to offer a virtual-first health plan

Nardev Ramanathan, Ph.D., Senior Analyst, Lux Research

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


"Beyond its role in enabling virtual care in the current pandemic, telehealth has the potential to reduce healthcare costs by both decreasing unnecessary visits for conditions that are manageable at home and empowering the patient to access healthcare support on demand. The virtual-first insurance plan created by this partnership is estimated to reduce employer medical plan costs by as much as 10%. This virtual-first model is also well-aligned to growing consumer demand in owning their healthcare management and employers that want to keep their employees healthy and productive. Other players like Cigna and UnitedHealthcare have also announced similar products, suggesting virtual-first health plans might see greater penetration in the U.S."

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Aditya Birla, Vartega expand partnership to develop fully recyclable composite value chain

Anthony Vicari, Analyst, Lux Research

Anthony Vicari, Analyst 
Lux Take: Very Important


"Aditya Birla Advanced Materials, already partnered with Vartega through its acquisition of Connora Technologies, announced plans to develop a supply chain for recycling Recyclamine composites, initially in North America, and to work together on application development for composites using this material (virgin and recycled). This is a meaningful step toward fully recyclable carbon fiber composites by creating a clear path for manufacturers regarding how to handle products at the end of life and building the infrastructure to realize the promise of a recyclable resin."

Scottish vertical ag startup Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS) secures $57.7 million Series B

Laura Krishfield, Research Associate, Lux Research

Laura Krishfield, Research Associate
Lux Take: Average Importance


"Led by COFRA, the round included Cleveland Avenue and DC Thomson as well as existing investors AgFunder, S2G Ventures, Ospraie Ag Science, and the Scottish government's Scottish Enterprise. The funding was announced at the COP26 U.N. climate change summit, where IGS showcased its energy-efficient growth tower. IGS' system, powered by renewable energy, uses robotics, proprietary lighting, and HVAC technology to optimize production efficiency while minimizing electricity costs. Specifically, IGS claims its HVAC system reduces energy usage by 40% compared with traditional HVAC systems. Since energy requirements account for over a third of CEA operational costs, comapnies should view this as a key breakthrough for profitable production."

Lux Research Mobility Newsletter

Xcel Energy commits to fully decarbonizing its gas business by 2050

Jinze Dai, Ph.D., Analyst, Lux Research

Jinze Dai, Ph.D., Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance


"On top of its 2018 goal of delivering 100% carbon-free electricity to customers by 2050, Xcel Energy is extending that commitment to its natural gas business, with an interim goal of cutting emissions associated with its gas service by 25% by 2030. The key to achieving the new goal is hydrogen and renewable natural gas. Moreover, the company is launching pilot programs to test smart electric water heaters and air-source heat pumps with customers. The transition to low carbon by utility companies is crucial to the electrification-driven decarbonization pathways, especially for road transportation and hard-to-abate industrial sectors. Companies should expect to see similar pledges from utility and gas companies following Xcel Energy's course."

In an industry first, Total Corbion offers rPLA with 20% recycled content, but is it any more sustainable than virgin PLA?

Tiffany Hua, Senior Research Associate, Lux Research

Tiffany Hua, Senior Research Associate
Lux Take: Average Importance


"The logistics of PLA recycling has always left a big question mark. For one, there has not been a high enough volume of PLA for the economics to be worthwhile. PLA also contaminates PET recycling streams, even at low concentrations. To circumvent these challenges, Total Corbion has taken matters into its own hands. It uses both post-industrial and post-consumer waste to make its rPLA offering available. The move is smart in theory, as it facilitates PLA recycling until larger volumes are achieved and allows customers to meet recycled content targets in the near term. Still, it is unlikely that PLA will ever penetrate the plastic market to make its mainstream recycling worthwhile, and there are cheaper sustainable material options available."

ZTE launches leading under-display camera tech for consumer electronics

Vladimir Roznyatovskiy, Ph.D., Senior Analyst, Lux Research

Vladimir Roznyatovskiy, Ph.D., Senior Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance


"An under-display camera (UDC) allows more efficient utilization of the display area. It also brings a natural videoconferencing experience, unlike the incumbent setup most remote workers experienced last year. While COVID-19 accelerated development, the idea has been on display makers' minds for a long time. However, spacing of display and camera pixels has challenged resolution, and the diffractive effects of the display pixel mesh complicated the signal. Samsung brought UDC to the mass market with the Galaxy Z Fold3 using compensatory algorithms, though the UDC areas are clearly visible. The more recent release of the ZTE Axon 30 seems flawless and will lead to UDC becoming standard in personal electronics like phones and laptops."

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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