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Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up November 19, 2021

Lux Research
November 19, 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. 

SES to produce 1 GWh/year of Li-metal batteries in Shanghai and reveals first 107 Ah battery

Chloe Herrera, Senior Research Associate, Lux Research

Chloe Herrera, Senior Research Associate
Lux Take: Very Important

 

"SES has unveiled the first 100 plus Ah Li-metal battery and announced plans to produce 1 GWh/year of such batteries in Shanghai. When Lux talked to SES in 2020, CEO Qichao Hu said that its Shanghai factory had a capacity of 100,000 cells per month but was limited to 8,000 per month due to constraints in Li-metal anode production, which amounts to approximately 3.5 MWh/year. Li-metal anodes have yet to be produced at the scale that SES is proposing, but the company is one of the more experienced companies producing the technology. Companies should monitor SES's progress but remember that the technology has yet to reach A-sample testing for automotives and that commercial implementation will take years despite these compelling announcements.

FDA flags Ellume's recall of its at-home COVID-19 testing kit as the "most serious" type, raising concerns about other similar tests

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

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

 

"COVID-19 home tests are becoming the norm in many countries. It is a core technology in the COVID-19 toolkit for easing restrictions and reopening economies. Hence, when Ellume recalled its COVID-19 home tests due to high false-positive rates, there were concerns about other tests on the market. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) quickly followed up with a strong statement. Ellume's test received an Emergency-Use Authorization in December 2020, but FDA issued a warning to Ellume in October 2021 in relation to its false positives. Key players, do not be alarmed. FDA's prompt response instils confidence that these tests will continue to be scrutinized post-launch. Continue to monitor and evaluate promising technologies in the field.

Apple's newly introduced "right to repair" policy is both timely and belated

Miraj Mainali, Senior Research Associate, Lux Research

Miraj Mainali, Senior Research Associate
Lux Take: Very Important

 

"Apple has announced that its customers will have access to genuine parts and tools for self-repair — finally. For years, the $1 trillion tech giant notoriously obstructed customers and third-party shops from repairing broken devices, going as far as suing third-party shops and designing phones that don't support replacement parts swapped from similar models. This not only makes repairs expensive but also takes a toll on the environment as most users end up buying a new phone when old ones break. In addition to consumers' demands, increasing pressure from regulatory bodies regarding sustainability has forced Apple to take this atypical U-turn. Apple leads the consumer-device market; expect other companies to follow suit."

Lux Research - Newsletter Research

SK Innovation invests $30 million in Solid Power

Chloe Herrera, Senior Research Associate, Lux Research

Chloe Herrera, Senior Research Associate 
Lux Take: Very Important

 

"SK Innovation and Solid Power have signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop solid-state batteries for precommercial production. Solid Power's automotive partners will use cells produced under the agreement for validation testing. SK Innovation will license the technology and buy electrolyte material from Solid Power for production. Although production volumes will probably be small during the automotive-validation period, this partnership is significant as one of the few public collaborations between a battery startup and major cell manufacturer. The real value of SK Innovation's involvement will be to demonstrate solid-state battery production using existing manufacturing processes."

Honeywell to build 30,000 MT/yr pyrolysis plastics recycling plant

Anthony Vicari, Analyst, Lux Research

Anthony Vicari, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

 

"Honeywell plans to build a pyrolysis plant in Andalucía, Spain, with engineering firm Sacyr, and begin operations by 2023. The company claims its "UpCycle" pyrolysis process can handle mixed waste including colored, flexible plastics, multilayer packaging, and polystyrene and that it will be able to recycle plastics for hundreds of cycles, with a 57% reduction of CO2-equivalent emissions compared to virgin plastic production, which it claims is better than other pyrolysis technologies. While numerous other companies are developing pyrolysis for recycling such materials, Honeywell's claim of hundreds of cycles appears unusually strong in a field where projects to date often result in plastics with less than 50% recycled content."

Lux Research Mobility Newsletter

Self-driving trucking company Kodiak Robotics raises $125 million in Series B funding

Anirudh Bhoopalam, Analyst, Lux Research

Anirudh Bhoopalam, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

 

"Adding to previous investments made by Bridgestone Americas and BMW i ventures, this funding round included investments from SIP Global Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and others. With this new funding, Kodiak Robotics intends to double both its team and fleet by hiring 85 new employees and adding at least 15 new trucks. It also plans to expand its services to cover the breadth of the U.S. Given that Kodiak Robotics also recently unveiled a new-generation autonomous truck, which reportedly uses a modular and discrete sensor approach to simplify installation and maintenance, while increasing safety, companies should monitor the pace of its progress to determine how quickly and effectively it can realize its plans."

Samsung moves towards smart-home energy management with SmartThings Energy

Jessica Hernandez, Analyst, Lux Research

Jessica Hernandez, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

 

"Samsung is expanding the capabilities of its SmartThings Energy offering, which the company launched in July 2021. The company claims the new capabilities include whole-home energy monitoring, individual device monitoring, and energy switching. These capabilities are enabled through partnerships with Copper Labs, Eyedro, and Wattbuy, respectively. Samsung is going beyond smart-home offerings by adding more energy efficiency-related features to drive energy cost savings, providing more value to its residential customers. It remains to be seen whether Samsung will continue to grow its partner network to add the necessary features to deliver true smart-home energy management."

BP acquires Blueprint Power, adding to its U.S. footprint of alternative energy startups

Michael Sullivan, Analyst, Lux Research

Michael Sullivan, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

 

"Mirroring its peers, such as Shell, which has expanded into virtual power plants (VPPs), distributed energy resources management systems, and electric vehicle charging, BP is quietly expanding its alternative energy footprint in the U.S. through acquisitions of startups like Blueprint Power. Essentially an aggregator operating a VPP model, Blueprint will benefit from BP's backing in the crowded market through funding and name recognition. In June 2021, BP also acquired 9 GW of solar development projects in U.S. from 7X Energy. Companies should expect BP to continue to expand in the U.S. to meet its goal of achieving 20 GW of net renewable capacity by 2025 and 50 GW by 2030."

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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