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Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up October 15, 2021

Lux Research
October 15, 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. 

Paige AI de novo clearance is a foundational move for its future software offerings

Danielle Bradnan, Analyst at Lux Research

Danielle Bradnan, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important


"Paige AI has received de novo marketing approval from the FDA for its digital diagnostic for colon cancer. This is in contrast to its previous 510(k) clearance. With a 510(k) clearance, software is typically coupled with a specific hardware device that allows it to count as a 510(k) because most hardware devices come with some software included. New machine learning platforms like Paige's have been leveraging partnerships with hardware (like Philips) to get a sense of the market. Paige moving for a de novo approval means that it is likely preparing to uncouple from a single hardware provider, gaining the freedom to partner with multiple players. It is a foundational move that will give the company partnership flexibility moving forward.

Norwegian wind farm loses license in court ruling, showing the headwind the sector will be facing in the battle for land space

Arij van Berkel, Ph.D., Vice President, Lux Research

Arij van Berkel, Ph.D., VP & Group Director
Lux Take: Very Important


"Wind energy is controversial. Wind turbines are very visible and not universally considered a great addition to the landscape. Moreover, wind turbines cause shading and noise, and they are a threat to birds. The long-term effects of wind turbines on the local ecosystem are still being debated and investigated. This is true for offshore wind energy and even more true for onshore wind farms. In a landmark ruling, Norwegian judges revoked the license for the 288 MW Storheia wind farm in the North of Norway following complaints by reindeer herders. The ruling prioritizes the historic rights of the herders over the need to generate renewable energy. This ruling, for a low-populated area, raises questions for wind energy in general.

Li-Cycle secures $100 million in funding from Koch Strategic Platforms to accelerate rollout of its battery recycling technology

Abhirabh Basu, Analyst, Lux Research

Abhirabh Basu, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance


"The funding helps Li-Cycle expand its operations with new pre-processing plants or "spokes" (which produce the black mass from shredding batteries) it has announced in Alabama and Arizona and accelerate the building of its centralized hydrometallurgical plant in New York. Li-Cycle plans to tap into the broader Koch Industries ecosystem, where it can access EPC services and building and shipping of modular plants to regions outside North America. Koch will leverage Li-Cycle's technology as the missing link in its Li-ion battery value chain, with previous investments in battery production, EVs, and renewable energy storage. With this new investment, companies should expect Li-Cycle to announce expansion plans in Europe and Asia."

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Agronutris raises $115 million to commercialize insect protein in EU

Laura Krishfield, Research Associate, Lux Research

Laura Krishfield, Research Associate
Lux Take: Very Important


"The $115 million encompasses 50% equity, 40% long-term debt, and 10% subsidies and came from several stakeholders, including the SPI Industrial Project Fund, Mirova, Nutergia Group, and Crédit Agricole du Nord Est. Agronutris will use the funding to construct its first industrial-scale insect protein production plant in Rethel, France. The facility, planned for completion by the end of 2022, will upcycle 280,000 tons of organic waste using black soldier fly larvae to produce protein, oil, and fertilizer. Agronutris is among the first companies to commercialize insects as food in the EU since recent changes in regulation. That said, this announcement shows regional industry growth and the time to engage with insect protein is now."

Enko and Nufarm join hands to develop novel herbicide solutions

Deepesh Bista, Analyst, Lux Research

Deepesh Bista, Agriculture Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance


"Enko, a small molecule development company, and Nufarm, an agrichemical company, will co-develop novel herbicidal chemistries. Enko's application of DNA-encoded libraries in the screening process enables high-throughput exploration of the small-molecule chemical space. The pair will start by leveraging a leading herbicide candidate from Enko in combination with Nufarm's existing products. Key players, Enko already has a separate pest control solution partnership with Syngenta. Together, these partnerships indicate the importance of leveraging learnings from other industries, including DNA-encoded libraries from pharma player X-Chem, to drive innovation."

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Dow commits to second pyrolysis plant and aims to commercialize circular plastic products in 2022

Marcian Lee, Ph.D., Research Analyst, Lux Research

Marcian Lee, Ph.D., Research Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance


"Dow's commitment to constructing a second 20,000 tpa pyrolysis plant with Fuenix Ecogy Group validates the efficiency of the latter's fast pyrolysis with catalytic Fischer-Tropsch process technology. With this, Feunix strengthens its position among the few remaining fast pyrolysis startups, while Dow doubles down on its already risky investment strategy. However, recent shortages in waste plastic supplies, which Feunix currently accepts for a fee, may disrupt the plant's economic feasibility. As Dow aims to commercialize its circular plastic products in about a year, companies can expect prices to reflect the current market dynamics."

Siemens acquires smart building solution developer Wattsense

Jessica Hernandez, Analyst, Lux Research

Jessica Hernandez, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance


"The deal comes only a few months after Siemens announced it was "considering acquisitions in building management software and electric vehicle charging to accelerate growth." With this acquisition, Siemens Smart Infrastructure aims to expand its smart buildings products, focusing on small and medium-sized buildings, which are numerous. Wattsense's technology allows smart energy management of the vast amount of aging building systems; however, with these systems being replaced with newer (and potentially connected) alternatives, it remains to be seen how much differentiation Siemens will bring to the table compared to the large number of competing solutions in the building energy management systems (BEMS) and smart buildings spaces."

Cummins aims for 100 MW SOEC electrolyzer manufacturing capacity

Runeel Daliah, Senior Analyst, Lux Research

Runeel Daliah, Senior Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance


"Cummins will investigate the use of automation in the large-scale manufacturing of SOEC stack components, with the eventual aim to expand to 100 MW manufacturing capacity in the near term. High system capex remains a headache for electrolyzer manufacturers, and even more so for SOEC developers, given that the technology is new and they do not benefit from decades-long manufacturing experience like AEC and PEMEC developers are. Given its much higher efficiency over AEC and PEM, the techno-economics of hydrogen production from SOEC are more sensitive to system capex, so manufacturing cost reduction is crucial for commercialization of SOEC technology."

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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