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Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up September 24, 2021

Lux Research
September 24, 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. 

Breeding wheat with wild grass reduces nitrogen pollution with plant-produced soil nitrification inhibitors

Tim Appachanda, Ph.D., Senior Analyst, Lux Research

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

 

"Wheat crops consume one-fifth of globally available synthetic fertilizers, and nitrogen leaching from fields as a result of nitrification of ammonia to nitrate pollutes water bodies and can contribute to GHG emissions. Recently, researchers transferred a wild grass (Leymus racemosus) chromosome that controls the production of soil nitrification inhibitors into elite wheat cultivars and reduced nitrification of applied ammonia by 30% without decreasing wheat yield. We are approaching the next generation of genetically engineered traits that are not only consumer-facing but also sustainability- and regenerative-facing. Companies should consider nutrient use efficiency as a trait development area for the future.

South Korea to invest almost $1 billion to build national digital library of healthcare data by 2028

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

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

 

"South Korea joins a growing club of countries focusing on national-level precision medicine projects to combat rising healthcare costs. Like Singapore, it has managed to get buy-in from a multiministerial taskforce to greenlight this project. It will invest almost $1 billion from 2023 to 2028 to build a national digital repository of healthcare and genomic data. Importantly, part of the funding will also go toward supporting healthcare cybersecurity and infrastructure. While more details will be revealed at a later stage, South Korea indicated plans to focus on R&D for diagnostics and medical imaging. Companies looking for new partnership and market expansion opportunities should pay close attention to this development.

Sila Nanotechnologies to integrate its silicon anode materials in Whoop's fitness wearable

Shishir Jairam, Research Associate, Lux Research

Shishir Jairam, Research Associate
Lux Take: Very Important

 

"WHOOP 4.0, a health and fitness wearable by Whoop, will use the silicon anode materials developed by Sila Nanotechnologies. Although Sila has secured partnerships with BMW, Daimler, and Amperex, its primary target has been consumer electronics applications. This can be viewed as a major development in the utilization of next-generation chemistry in commercial products, and Sila's roadmap toward commercialization is on track with the integration of anode materials. Although key issues like swelling still persist in silicon anodes, companies should regard this is as an important milestone and recognize that the timelines will be similar to what Lux has predicted for the commercialization of silicon anodes for EVs."

More funding for Eat Just as it raises $90 million for its cell-based meat segment Good Meat

Harini Venkataraman, Ph.D., Analyst, Lux Research

Harini Venkataraman, Ph.D., Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

 

"This investment closely follows the $170 million investment round in May 2021, bringing the company's total to $267 million. Eat Just has also added veterans from the USDA and DuPont to its board of directors. The company has made a string of announcements recently, including opening a manufacturing facility in the MENA region, with speculations leading to its impending IPO later in 2021 or early 2022. While this investment and associated team expansion indicate Eat Just's intention to scale and expand its cell-based meat business, its commercialization timeline is still dependent on regulatory clearance in its target geographies."

Agrifood Newsletter

United Airlines invests in and agrees to purchase 1.5 billion gallons of biofuel from Alder Fuels

Jinze Dai, Analyst, Lux Research

Jinze Dai, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

 

"The joint multimillion-dollar investment from United Airlines and Honeywell is expected to accelerate the scale-up of Alder's sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) technology, eyeing commercialization by 2025. Alder did not disclose further details about its technology other than the capability to produce a biogenic drop-in replacement for crude oil, but it is likely based on biomass pyrolysis. If the SAF proves reliable, United Airlines intends to purchase 1.5 billion gallons over 20 years. On the other hand, Honeywell looks to deploy its Ecofining process to upgrade Alder's biocrude to SAF. All signals are pointing to the rise of SAF given the recent investments from the airlines and government and Fulcrum's progress on the FT SAF project."

Bidgely raises $26 million to finance electrification and decarbonization innovations

Jessica Hernandez, Analyst, Lux Research

Jessica Hernandez, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

 

"Moore Strategic Investment (MSV) led the round, in which Accurant International, Future Energy Ventures, Georgian, and Constellation Technology Ventures also participated. This round brings Bidgely's total amount of funding to $77 million, and the company plans to use its newly raised cash to "bolster its utility electrification and decarbonization innovations." The company claims a 125% growth over the past three years and that it currently supports around 40 utilities in North America, Europe, and Asia. Companies should consider Bidgely as a leader in the residential load disaggregation space, offering a compelling energy data analytics and customer engagement solution."

Lux Research - Newsletter Research

Formo raises $50 million Series A for precision fermentation-derived dairy products

Harini Venkataraman, Ph.D., Analyst, Lux Research

Harini Venkataraman, Ph.D., Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

 

"Led by EQT Ventures, this round marks one of the biggest Series A rounds in European food tech and brings Formo's total funding to date to about $55 million. The company will use the funding for pilot-scale product setup and R&D team expansion. Formo (previously known as Legendairy Foods) produces dairy proteins using synthetic biology and then formulates them into cheese products like ricotta and mozzarella. Given its initial focus on Europe, the company needs to obtain regulatory approval from the EFSA for its fermentation-derived proteins. Key players, the precision fermentation space will grow in momentum given the resource efficiency and lower GHG emissions demonstrated by other startups like Perfect Day."

An innovative way to freeze foods could cut carbon emissions equal to 1 million cars

Tim Appachanda, Ph.D., Senior Analyst, Lux Research

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

 

"Frozen foods are a modern convenience that has made food accessible, extended its shelf life, and reduced food losses. The most common way of freezing foods is through refrigeration, but it comes at a high energy cost and carbon footprint. Researchers at UC Berkeley are working on a new freezing method called "isochoric freezing" based on the relationship between temperature and pressure, similar to the way organs are transported for transplant patients. It could cut global energy consumption by 6.5 billion kWh per year and carbon emissions by 4.59 billion kg, akin to removing about 1 million cars from the road. Companies should watch for innovations that can advance the concept to scale and serve the frozen food space."

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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