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Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up October 1, 2021

Lux Research
October 1, 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. 

Priva and Octinion merge their robotics under Kompano flag

Deepesh Bista headshot

Deepesh Bista, Agriculture Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important

 

"In the next few weeks, the Belgian R&D group Octinion and Dutch tech company Priva will merge their robotics platforms. The merger will combine the technology and expertise of each to reach international markets. Priva launched its leafcutting robot for tomato cultivation today, while Octinion has developed a strawberry picking robot and an ultraviolet light treatment robot to tackle diseases in greenhouses. The companies target high-labor, high-value markets, but why the merger? Robots are typically purpose-built, but use case experience is valuable. Most players, such as Agrobot and Dogtooth, focus on harvesting a single crop. Clients, as ag robotics gains commercial momentum, expect consolidation and integration of talent and platforms.

Redwood Materials announces intention to become cathode material supplier

Chloe Herrera

Chloe Herrera, Senior Research Associate
Lux Take: Very Important

 

"The company will begin utilizing the materials it recovers by producing both copper current collectors and cathode active materials (CAMs). This announcement comes hot on the heels of a $700 million funding round. Redwood plans to scale to producing 100 GWh of CAM by 2025, then 500 GWh by 2030. For comparison, in 2020, 114 GWh of batteries were sold in BEVs and PHEVs. Even if Redwood Materials captures the whole North American market of end-of-life batteries, it's hard to believe it'll have recovered 100 GWh worth of CAM. Clients should expect its business in recycling manufacturing scrap to contribute significantly to its CAM production and note that its existing partnerships are integral to further integration in cathode manufacturing.

Haldor Topsoe and Sasol offer integrated solution for e-fuels

Jinze Dai headshot

Jinze Dai, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important

 

"Building on their previous collaboration on gas-to-liquid technology, Haldor Topsoe and Sasol are entering the business of e-fuels. The end-to-end solution will combine Haldor Topsoe's e-syngas platform with Sasol's Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) technology to produce synthetic fuels and chemicals from sustainable carbon sources or CO2, green hydrogen, and renewable electricity. Given Haldor Topsoe's plan to build a 500 MW SOEC manufacturing facility by 2023 and Sasol's expertise in F-T synthesis, the strong partnership will likely reshape the landscape of e-fuels and accelerate the scale-up process, which is challenging for e-fuels startups like Norsk e-Fuel and Nordic Blue Crude."

Climeworks launches Orca, the world's biggest direct air capture (DAC) plant

Mukunda Kaushik, Research Associate
Lux Take: Very Important

"Climeworks has begun operations of its flagship DAC plant in Iceland with an annual capture capacity of 4,000 metric tons CO2, a step up from its 50 metric tons CO2 plant. Climeworks claims 90% capture efficiency with its newly optimized sorbent and increased modularity by using half the amount of steel for construction. Additionally, Iceland offers two strategic benefits – existing geothermal energy for renewable power and the availability of basalt sinks to mineralize captured CO2. The commercial-scale plant is a major milestone for DAC, but clients should note that scale-up does not replace the technology-based innovation needed to drastically reduce DAC costs. Climeworks' ability to sustain the plant in the long run is worth monitoring."

Agrifood Newsletter

PastureMap and Soil Value Exchange merge, enhancing carbon credit opportunities

Tim Appachanda, Ph.D. headshot

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

 

"Agriculture voluntary carbon markets are evolving as diverse players emerge, but few target pasture land. Grazing management software platform PastureMap and carbon credit facilitator Soil Value Exchange have merged to form a new entity, Grassroots Carbon (GC), that will link the PastureMap database of landowners and ranchers to carbon credit opportunities and pay them for carbon-sequestering practices on their land. GC will apply BCarbon, a novel standard developed by Rice University. Marathon Oil, Rapid7, and Shopify have already committed to purchasing carbon credits from GC. Clients should expect the previous work by PastureMap to build rancher relationships to pay off, and those close to cattle should consider connecting with GC."

Amazon gives away $40 million in AWS credits to address healthcare inequity

Nardev-Ramanathan

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

 

"The program will focus on improving access to care services, addressing environmental determinants of health, and leveraging data to promote more equitable and inclusive care. On the surface, this appears to be one of many CSR activities from a corporate behemoth – but it is more. A large proportion of these underserved communities today will become the new middle class of tomorrow. As Amazon helps tackle inequity challenges in these communities, it is also facilitating the adoption of its suite of services and products, tapping into a huge potential market. Clients, addressing inequity challenges through such initiatives helps not only improve the communities around you but also potentially open up new markets."

Lux Research - Newsletter Research

EarthOptics raises $10.3 million Series A, led by Leaps by Bayer, to expand its carbon mapping capabilities

Deepesh Bista headshot

Deepesh Bista, Agriculture Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

 

"EarthOptics will use the funds to grow its offerings: GroundOwl, TillMapper, and C-Mapper. GroundOwl measures soil compaction with a ground-penetrating radar and electromagnetic induction sensors to help farmers optimize tillage and increase yield without soil contact. The company claims that TillMapper, which provides a 3D view of soil compaction, can save farmers roughly $15 per acre, while C-Mapper aims to provide carbon verification services at a fraction of the cost of traditional soil core methods. With more users and data, it aims for a broader mapping app called SoilCloud that offers all information on soil health. Clients, EarthOptics competes against precision ag players but also brings a promising market of regenerative grazing."

Iotics to build digital twin of Portsmouth International Port for green hydrogen system

Akshay Chaudhari, Ph.D.

Akshay Chaudhari, Ph.D., Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

 

"Unlike most conventional digital twin platforms, Iotics' platform does not offer 3D visualization of assets but facilitates data integration. This example highlights the expanding reach of digital twins as a tool to integrate data from various sources for monitoring and optimization of emerging low-carbon technologies. Ports will play an important role in the hydrogen economy, as they will be crucial nodes in the international hydrogen supply chain – given the high investments cost of hydrogen projects, clients should monitor this digital twin for its ability to model different designs and scenarios to optimize capex and mitigate risk through advanced analytics."

Shell to build 820,000 tonnes per year sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel facility in Rotterdam with CCS

Jinze Dai headshot

Jinze Dai, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

 

"To achieve the goal of reducing traditional fuels production by 55% by 2030 and providing more low-carbon fuels, Shell plans to transform its 14 refineries into five energy and chemical parks, with the Rotterdam biofuels facility being the second park announced. The Rotterdam facility is expected to start converting used cooking oil, waste animal fat, and other industrial and agricultural wastes into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and renewable diesel in 2024 while capturing and transporting the CO2 generated from the manufacturing process through the €2 billion Porthos project. With more and more airlines, such as United and Cathay Pacific, looking to purchase SAF, clients should explore the opportunities to enter the SAF market."

Hyundai and LG Energy Solution will build 10 GWh battery manufacturing plant in Indonesia

Chloe Herrera

Chloe Herrera, Senior Research Associate
Lux Take: Average Importance

 

"The Indonesian government previously banned the export of nickel ores, forcing mining companies to set up refineries domestically; this move is likely a way to curb future discussions of stricter export policy. As one of the world's top producers of nickel, Indonesia has leverage to establish itself as a battery production hub, and LG Energy Solution can use the facility to source batteries to the rest of Southeast Asia. Building up a local battery value chain will prove to be less difficult due to the country's proximity to chemical suppliers and automotive companies; however, clients shouldn't expect this to be replicable in more remote areas with significant battery materials resources."

Grōv Technologies and Cnossen Dairy partner to explore vertical farming of high-quality animal feed

Tim Appachanda, Ph.D. headshot

Tim Appachanda, Ph.D., Sr. Analyst, Agrifood
Lux Take: Average Importance

 

"Grōv's vertical farm will be installed on Cnossen Dairy's Texas farm in early 2022 to support its operation of 11,000 cows on 7,500 acres of land. This vertical farm grows wheatgrass utilizing seed-to-harvest robotics, low-heat LED technology, and data-driven indoor growing protocols. The system produces 288,000 lbs daily of nutrient-dense feed with 5% the water usage of conventional farming. The project represents a milestone for Grōv as an alternative solution to improve dairy nutrition and production in drought zones. With climate uncertainty challenging pasture growing cycles, clients should watch for innovative controlled environment agriculture methods but consider the percentage of diet the cultivation method accounts for."

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