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Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up November 27, 2020

Lux Research
November 27, 2020

Every day our researchers comb through the top innovation headlines and provide their expert analysis on important updates, trends, and developments across industries. Our analysts evaluate news based on potential importance ranking the developments from Truly Disruptive to Ignore.

On Fridays we highlight our Lux Take on the news for the week. Check out our thoughts on the latest emerging technology and innovation news for the last week of November below.

FDA authorizes emergency use of Lucira's at-home test kit – with results in 30 minutes and no shipping to a lab

Danielle Bradnan, Lux ResearchDanielle Bradnan, Research Associate @DBradnan Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"This advancement in POC testing is one that decentralizes the testing process and allows for nearly immediate self-quarantine and thereby reducing the burden on shipping and laboratory infrastructure. While companies may want to take note of this development for use for their own employees, those looking at the home testing space should see this as a signpost. Consumers being exposed to the convenience of at-home testing will continue to have an appetite for it, and opportunities for home testing for common conditions like the flu and strep throat remain to be tapped. Incorporating rapid testing into a telehealth model is an increasingly viable approach to capturing revenue while bringing value to patients."

With the 2021 update of its renewable energy law, the German government aims for 42 TWh of electricity from biogas in 2030

Arij-van-Berkel-Lux-900px-squareArij van Berkel, Ph.D., Director, Research | @aivanberkel Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important


"The German renewable energy law, the Erneuerbare Energie Gesetz (EEG), is updated every four years. This law drives the growth of renewable energy in Germany by defining stimuli for renewable energy. The 2021 update, which was sent to the German parliament last month, expresses renewed ambitions to grow biogas generation and CHP capacity. In 2030, Germany should raise 42 TWh of biogas electricity with an 8.4 GW installed base. This is just a little below the 44 TWh production with an 8.9 GW installed base in 2019 despite the fact that the installed base will have to change from corn to manure and slurry as the main feedstock. While corn-based biogas will shrink, the capacity to raise biogas from manure and slurry needs to grow rapidly."

Percepto raises $45 million and integrates its autonomous drone platform with Boston Dynamics robot

Kern, Josh

Josh Kern, Analyst | @josh_kern_ Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important


"The funding will be used to scale the company's Autonomous Inspection & Monitoring (AIM) solution, which utilizes drones and ground-based robots to collect visual and thermal data of high-value assets. The company mainly focuses on oil and gas, utilities, and industrial sites and has already received multiple clearances to operate beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) missions with its drones. The integration with Boston Dynamics' Spot robot will further increase the value of fully remote operations centers by adding a solution for inspecting low-elevation assets or areas that are hard to reach with drones. With a multimodal fleet, Percepto will have a unique opportunity to analyze which tasks can be better addressed by drones vs. robots."

U.K.'s National Composites Centre announces plan to improve recycling of wind turbines and increase sustainability

drishti masandDrishti Masand, Research Associate | @DrishtiMasand Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"The three-part plan is focused on improving recycling technologies and enabling better end-of-life solutions, using more sustainable materials to manufacture wind turbine blades to improve the upstream value chain, and changing the overall design of wind turbine blades for more modularity based on a design for disassembly and better repair during the lifespan. Designing wind turbine blades for the circular economy will require current technologies to adapt quickly, with better supply chain management. The NCC's plans are ambitious and will require collaborations from players throughout the value chain to actualize. Lux's detailed view on existing approaches and future potential for the circularity of wind turbines can be found here."

Lux Research - Newsletter Research


Fraunhofer study shows that wind turbines can compensate for decreasing electricity grid inertia, with the right control system

Arij-van-Berkel-Lux-900px-squareArij van Berkel, Ph.D., Director, Research | @aivanberkel Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important


"The electricity grid possesses inertia that allows it to remain stable under rapid load changes. This inertia results from the fly-wheel effect of heavy rotating turbines. As generation capacity is increasingly replaced by wind and solar generation, the grid inertia diminishes, leading to an increased need for fast reserve capacity like that of batteries. The GridLoads project by Fraunhofer IEE and MesH shows that wind turbines are mechanically capable of providing similar inertia for the grid if the control system has been designed with this in mind. It means that adding wind turbines to the grid does not automatically lead to a need for additional fast reserve capacity. Backup generators are still needed for periods without wind."

Unsuprisingly, Amazon will crush pharmacy drug sales, but opportunities abound for decentralized services in pharmacy

Danielle Bradnan, Lux ResearchDanielle Bradnan, Research Associate @DBradnan Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"The new Amazon Pharmacy will be able to crush the pure retail elements of pharmacy; however, it will still have competition from retail pharmacies, which are continuing to add more decentralized health services. Healthcare segments leading innovation are typically either the underserved ones (like femtech) or the ones that continue to be high-cost due to people struggling to change behaviors (like diabetes) and in most cases have hybrid brick-and-mortar or human and digital solutions that are successful in terms of both improved health outcomes and the investments made in them. Those looking to compete should pivot focus away from strict medication retail and instead focus on innovating other services for pharmacies to provide."

Adeka develops self-healing plastic additive

8710-thumb-squareAnthony Schiavo, Senior Analyst | @MobbDeepTech Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance


"The new self-healing plastic still suffers from the same issues as past plastics - it needs elevated temperatures to heal and its ability to recover from damage is limited. Still, putting this capability into an additive could bring it to a broader range of plastics and thus make it more useful. Those interested should monitor the progress of Adeka's R&D for signs of this flexibility."

Cargill follows ADM, invests in Seventure Partners' fund for the microbiome

10085-thumb-squareThomas Hayes, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance


"This comes only a few weeks after ADM announced its investment in Seventure's Health for Life Capital II fund. Outside of Cargill and ADM, other strategic investors are serving as limited partners as well, including Danone, Novartis, and Lesaffre. For Cargill, this builds on the formation of its Cargill Health Technologies business unit from late 2019, as well as its partnership with Eagle Genomics. Companies, mastering the role of the microbiome is requisite to not only surviving by 2050 but thriving. These organizations are demonstrating initial steps toward realizing that goal, and others should follow suit."

Making Sense of Sustainability


Framergy is expanding its MOF beyond natural gas collection toward water capture; could this be a bad decision?

drishti masandDrishti Masand, Research Associate | @DrishtiMasand Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance

"Framergy has developed an MOF and product design for adsorption and desorption of water vapor to produce potable water; the design has been proposed to the U.S. Army as a replacement for incumbent atmospheric water harvesting (AWH) systems, but there are no confirmed plans for adoption. The announcement is quite a pivot for Framergy, which has focused on natural gas capture, and the company is more likely to commercialize MOFs for natural gas capture than direct water capture; hopefully, it has not fully committed to this shifted focus. This technology is adequately suited for military applications but will be limited for scaling to other applications. Lux's detailed view on MOF application potentials can be found here."

MIT researches control for ion-trap quantum computers

Lewie Roberts Lux Research

Lewie Roberts, Senior Research Associate | @roberts_lewie Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance


"
Quantum information researchers at MIT's Lincoln Lab recently published a paper where they introduced a novel method for controlling ion-trapped qubits (quantum bits). The paper describes a fiber-optic block that can deliver light directly to quantum chips for qubit control, as opposed to existing methods that use free-space optics where light travels through air or a vacuum. Major hardware players IonQ and Honeywell both develop ion trap-based quantum computers; expect them to explore similar control approaches that improve fabrication and simplify chip design. As we've mentioned before, quantum computing is still very new, and academia will have much to contribute to innovation in the space."

French partnership to develop novel shade system for agrivoltaic applications

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


"French manufacturer Ombrea is collaborating with RES on the development of novel solar blinds for agrivoltaic projects. This concept has a dual function: adjusting shading levels to recreate a suitable growth microclimate, and protecting the crops from unfavorable weather conditions – such as hail or frost. According to tests done by Ombrea, solar blinds reduce water evaporation levels, protect sensitive crops (e.g., grapes) against rising summer temperatures, and boost crop yield up to at least 17%. The partners have announced future projects in areas like market gardening, horticulture, and viticulture. Companies should regard this concept as an interesting one and follow up on upcoming projects to verify the advantages of solar blinds."

 
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