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Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up October 9, 2020

Lux Research
October 9, 2020

Every week our researchers go through the top tech innovation headlines and provide their analysis on important updates, trends, and developments across all 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 this past week below.

Newlight Technologies completes $45 million Series F for scale-up of methane-to-PHB technology

Kristin MarshallKristin Marshall, Senior Research Associate | @KMarsh4Bio Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"After several years of operating in stealth, Newlight is back in the spotlight. The company has made a series of announcements over the past few weeks surrounding the commissioning of a commercial production plant called Eagle 3 and the launch of two product lines for the food service industry. The funding will support the company's continued growth as it looks to address rising concerns surrounding plastic waste, especially in oceans – with its PHB being certified marine biodegradable. Following RWDC Industries' $133 million Series B round in May, this news signals that investors have not been soured on PHAs despite notable upsets from players like Bio-on."

ArcelorMittal commits to carbon neutrality by 2050

Runeel DaliahRuneel Daliah, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important


"The company intends to decarbonize existing steelmaking operations with biomass and CO2 utilization technologies in the near term and eventually deploy hydrogen-based direct reduced iron (DRI) steelmaking at scale. The company joins Thyssenkrupp, which also committed to carbon neutrality last year – we expect further steel giants to make similar commitments in the near future."

Ÿnsect snags $375 million Series C, escalating the buzz around insect protein

Krishfield, LauraLaura Krishfield, Research Associate | @LKrishfield Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important


"Mealworm producer Ÿnsect has raised an additional $224 million for its $148 million Series C, bringing the round to $372 million in total. Investors of the latest funding include Upfront Ventures and celebrity Robert Downey Jr.'s FootPrint Coalition. From its first Series C announcement, Ÿnsect planned for a commercial-scale facility that would produce 20,000 MT of protein per year. The facility is now anticipated to produce 100,000 MT per year as early as 2022. Few insect protein companies have claimed expectations of reaching a production scale that comes close to this, and those that have displayed significantly less funding; if Ÿnsect pulls this facility off, it will be a precedent for the funding required to reach this scale.

Lux Research - Newsletter Research


Boston Dynamics CEO Marc Raibert says energy storage is limiting factor for humanoid robots

Kern, Josh

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


"Speaking at the AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2020 conference, Marc said that the commercialization of the company's humanoid Atlas robot will require an extremely energy-dense battery, preferably five to 10 times what is currently available. Marc said other technological barriers like manufacturing capabilities and compute power are generally sufficient today. Atlas uses a 5 kW hydraulic power unit to power 28 hydraulic joints, allowing the robot to do stunts near the level and accuracy of an Olympic gymnast. Although the robot is still a couple of years away from commercialization, lightweight materials and innovative battery chemistries will enable it to run untethered for longer than the current 30-to-60-minute battery life."

SABIC's TRUCIRCLE solution will be one of the first demonstrations for recycling packaging films

drishti masand

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

"SABIC is pioneering a solution to recycle packaging flexible film, which remains unrecyclable for now. The solution is in partnership with Plastic Energy, Sealed Air, Bradburys Cheese, and Tesco. The process will use pyrolysis recycling to convert the film to oil, form plastic pellets, and convert them to recycled packaging film; during the pilot test, the films will be 30% recycled and 70% virgin. One immediate takeaway from this project is the complexity and cross-value chain collaboration that is required to successfully recycle plastic packaging, especially difficult form factors like films. However, this project also demonstrates that it is possible for companies to recycle most packaging if they are committed to sustainability."

Syngenta acquires Valagro for a credible range of nutrient use efficiency products

Haslun, JoshJoshua Haslun, Ph.D., Senior Analyst | @JHaslun  Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"The move positions Syngenta strongly within the nutrient use efficiency and ingredient-based biostimulant market and indicates its willingness to invest significantly. Valagro brings $94.7 million in total revenue, eight production sites, and 700 employees to Syngenta Group. It also brings along an interesting stake in Mirnagreen and a strategic alliance with Marrone Bio Innovations struck in 2020 and 2019, respectively. Valagro will become a subsidiary of Syngenta Group and retain its current branding. The move will force similar action industr ywide and also supports the idea that a single solution is not the answer. Valagro's extract-based solutions readily complement microbe-based solutions and vice versa."

Shell expands drone-based methane inspection program after two-year pilot

Kern, Josh

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


"As part of Shell's commitment to keep the methane emission intensity of its assets below 0.2%, it partnered with Avitas Systems in 2018 to perform drone-based inspections. The startup uses DJI drones equipped with an optical gas imaging (OGI) camera to detect fugitive methane emissions. Avitas also uses a range of other sensors in tandem with computer vision algorithms to detect and predict corrosion. Shell said it will expand the program to more than 500 sites in the Permian Basin. Although Avitas has been granted limited beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) waivers in the past, the current deployment in the Permian Basin will require human operators. Oil and gas companies should engage with Avitas Systems to assist in inspection tasks."

Free and low-cost satellite-based internet services take off as Swarm announces prices and Starlink aids Californians

13815-thumb-squareMichael Sullivan, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance


"Swarm Technologies announced that more than 200 companies have signed up for its $5 per month per device satellite-based internet service. The service provides internet connections to a satellite modem, the Swarm Tile, priced at $119, enabling two-way data transfer. The service is priced at one-tenth the typical cost of satellite internet connections. Going one better is SpaceX's Starlink, which provided free internet services to first responders and those affected by the California wildfires. Together deploying hundreds of satellites, the two companies are pioneering free to low-cost high-bandwidth internet. Companies should leverage these service to lower transmission costs but be wary of their nascent business models.

The Chemical and Materials Company of 2040


Thai Union makes string of investments with CVC arm

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


"The $30 million fund, which launched in October 2019, is now investing in three startups (Alchemy Foodtech, Manna Foods, and HydroNeo), all recent graduates of the SPACE-F accelerator program, of which Thai Union is a partner. It is also allocating capital into a private venture fund (VisVires New Protein), helping facilitate investments into startups through an intermediary. This approach is not the first instance in Asia's agrifood ecosystem, with Tyson Foods and Buhler investing in Big Idea Ventures. Those interested should consider growing their footprint in Asia through this model, especially as the region undergoes incredible change and maturation."

Autonomous vehicle simulation company Metamoto acquired

Lewie Roberts Lux Research

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



"Autonomous vehicle and ADAS verification company Foretellix acquired Metamoto to assist its larger solution in "identifying bugs and edge cases early in the development cycle." The acquisition will help Foretellix to better validate its customers' designs, especially in the area of sensor simulation. With the largest autonomous vehicle projects already deep into development, expect Foretellix to be aiding customers doing in-house development for new ADAS features or porting existing features to new vehicle models."

Amazon doubles down on IoT bet, adding an IoT time series database to its AWS portfolio

13815-thumb-squareMichael Sullivan, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance


"Amazon announced general availability of its Timestream database, which is dedicated to time-series data for IoT and operational applications. Reportedly 1,000 times faster than relational databases at a significantly lower cost, Timestream can scale to trillions of time series events per day. There are no upfront costs, as customers pay only for the data they write, store, or query. The analytics component of Timestream provides "near" real-time processing. The product is not innovative in itself, as many startups offer scalable time series databases and analytics. Noteworthy for those interested, is AWS's commitment to industrial IoT, as Timestream is the seventh product launched. These initiatives make AWS worth checking out for large-scale IIoT."

 

 
 

FURTHER READING:

- Free Access to our COVID-19 Resources

- Blog: Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up October 2, 2020

- Blog: Shell's Response to COVID-19 Losses Shows How the Crisis Accelerates the Energy Transition

- Executive Summary: The Food Company of 2050

- Press Release: The 6 Megatrends That Will Shape the Food Industry for the Net 30 Years

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