Family planning and emissions

Posted by Deanna on June 30, 2022

Taking a left turn here this week to talk about family planning and emissions.

The reversal of Roe vs. Wade was a huge event for American politics and threw the abortion debate back into the spotlight. 27% of voters now say that their candidate must share their views on abortion, a record high, while 16% or voters say abortion is not a major issue, a record low.  

For most people, the abortion rights issue is a deeply personal one. Abortion is seen as an infringement on a personal belief system, a symbol of the government’s protection of a personal human right, or a personal healthcare need (almost a quarter of women in the US will experience an abortion sometime in their life). It’s a sensitive and divisive subject, one that’s most often discussed as a social issue or, in some cases, a women’s issue.  

It’s not just a social issue though. Family planning has documented effects on other parts of society, including workforce demographics, poverty, economic growth, childhood education, and public health. Its presence or absence can drastically influence how societies grow longer term, which can color how systems that work around that growth should be built. Climatetech, I suspect, is one of those systems. I’m writing on this topic today to better understand how to think about family planning relative to our climate problem.  

Here's what I found:

  1. Family planning can reduce the climate burden, but estimates vary on its impact. According to Project Drawdown, family planning is the #2 (or #5 in scenario 2) most impactful source of emissions reduction, reducing an annual average of ~2.7 gigatons of CO2 equivalent over the next 30 years. This is consistent with common emissions / impact formulas like the IPAT framework and Kaya identity which identify population as one of their key variables.

    I tried to back into those numbers to see what exactly within family planning was driving such a large impact.

    There are more than 120 million unintended pregnancies worldwide every year. Roughly 60% result in abortion, 27% result in live births, and the remaining 12% result in miscarriages / fetal losses. That’s nearly 32 million births that could have been avoided annually. The emissions impact of those 32 million people, when accounting for regional differences in per capita emissions and unintended births (unintended births tend to skew towards poorer regions with lower per capita emission and more births), is 123 Mt CO2e per year (weighted average emissions per capita of 3.7 tons), or ~0.3% of current world’s emissions. Adding in a 1.05% population growth, the annual emissions impact over the next 30 years of unintended births is ~144 Mt CO2e per year.

    That still leaves 2.5 Gt CO2e unaccounted for in Project Drawdown’s estimates, and that’s assuming the impractical scenario that 100% of unintended births get avoided. I have to assume that the difference is due to unmodeled population decreases like above-average fertility rate declines due to systematic increases education and income level, something that isn’t captured in this data (the UN estimates that Project Drawdown uses as the basis for its “low” estimates has global population growing at an average of <0.5%, which is less than the US birth rate right now). Either way, 144 Mt is still quite a chunk of emissions. The entire ethanol industry emits only half that amount.

  2. Family planning legislation in the US has a lesser but still meaningful impact on emissions. When looking at the US, the proportional impact of family planning is smaller due to an already below average rate of unintended births, offset slightly by the higher emissions per capita. A 700,000 reduction of unintended live births (again, assuming 100% of unintended births are avoided) results in 8-10 Mt of reduced CO2e (depending on if you use 15 tons CO2e/person, which is the median, or 12 tons CO2e/person, which is the carbon footprint of someone in the US living at the poverty line) and 9-11 Mt adding in population growth. That’s ~0.2% of US emissions annually.

    I was curious to see how much of this number might we “unrealize” with the recent reversal of Roe vs. Wade. The implementation of Roe vs. Wade has been shown to decrease births by 4%, amounting to ~125,000 avoided births annually. Again, most of these avoided births are attributed to lower-income households. Applying the 12 ton estimate that we did above for someone living at the poverty line, that amounts to 1.5 Mt of additional emissions per year. 1.5 Mt is equivalent to ~0.02% of annual US emissions, which doesn’t seem like much on a relative basis but still is equivalent to the emissions from 300,000 cars per year.

  3. These numbers still leave out some secondary effects of family planning, effects that can be positive or negative for emissions reduction efforts. Family planning does result in a noticeable increase in quality of life for the family unit. There is plenty of evidence that suggests that family planning helps women stay in school for longer and pursue more equitable employment, improving the socio-economic status of not only themselves but of their families and communities. Not only does this uplift allow developing societies the bandwidth to prioritize sustainability alongside basic human needs, it also helps people that are the most vulnerable to climate change impacts (i.e. low income communities) invest in adaptation and mitigation efforts.

    On the other side of the equation is the increase emissions per capita that comes with quality of life. One case study of this is China. Though controversial, China’s 1979 one-child policy has been pointed to as one of the reasons for China’s accelerated economic progress. The rapid decline of fertility allowed more focused resource usage on the economically productive part of the population and also uplifted women’s education (though had other negative consequences on female births). Is it a coincidence that starting in 2001, 22 years after the one child policy was enacted (and when children born during the one-child policy started entering the workforce), China’s emissions per capita started rapidly accelerating, growing at an average rate of 10% between 2001 and 2011 vs. 2% in the previous decade? I’m not sure. China certainly did accelerate growth in that time through policy changes as well, but the demographic changes certainly didn’t hurt. By rough math, the avoided emissions from the one-child policy (400 million births x 2 tons/person/year = 800 Mt CO2e) was vastly trumped by the emissions per capita increases on the general population (1979 population of 986 million people x 5.8 tons/person/year increase in emissions = 5.8 Gt).

    All this to say that family planning’s positive influence on growth and society is not negated by the potential environmental effects of a move up the prosperity index. It will be a necessary step for developing nations to take to achieve the ultimate goal of sustainable prosperity.  

I think when I came into this topic, I had the notion (perhaps because I spent a lot of time with the Project Drawdown estimates from the last few weeks) that family planning would have a huge impact on emissions. But the reality is that while the numbers aren’t insignificant, they are modest compared to the potential impact of new technology solutions, especially ones that target our underlying industrial systems. We can use it as an effective solution, especially as it addresses other social and economic goals in parallel, but it definitely cannot be the focal point for an effective climate strategy.

Another point worth mentioning is that family planning has already come a long way, especially in developed nations where emissions per capita are highest. If we stop paying attention to family planning and let fertility rates run unchecked, there could be multiplicative effects on emissions far greater than that of developing nations. So it’s definitely something we need to make sure to maintain at sufficient levels to allow our emissions problem to not grow too large for us to handle (though many might say we’re already there).

1 Comment old problem with new ideas (circular economy Pt 2)

Posted by Deanna on June 23, 2022

To continue with the circular economy theme, this week I’m covering different technologies that have emerged in recycling.

The landscape can be divided into two parts: inorganic waste and organic waste. Inorganic waste includes your typical recyclables (cardboard, plastic, glass) and other waste that is harder to break down in a landfill (textiles, carbon fiber). Organic waste is waste that contains organic compounds like food waste, biodegradable materials, wood, waste plants, etc.

When we think of recycling, we usually think of inorganic waste. Since it can’t be easily broken down by microbial organisms, inorganic waste must be 1) collected & transported to a sorting center, 2) sorted into different bales of material, and 3) shipped off to specialized processing facilities for recycling into new materials or products. Each one of these steps has a variety of startups attached to them:

(Note that the companies mentioned are not vetted or sorted. This is just a list I compiled of advertised technologies from various companies)

  1. Collection involves collection from both individuals and businesses.

    • For individuals, companies have focused on removing the cost burden and inconvenience of recycling. Bower, for example, created an app to validate and pay individuals for recycling an item using a combination of barcode scanning and image verification. Similarly, Olyns puts collection machines in high-traffic locations like grocery stores and pays the consumer to recycle plastic bottles via the machine. Other companies, like Terracycle, simply provide free recycling programs to consumers for certain items not accepted by typical curbside recycling programs.

    • For businesses, solutions are more varied. Clean Robotics makes a smart bin (“Trashbot”) to auto-sort trash – great for places like malls and airports. Spare it’s hybrid software/hardware solution helps businesses monitor office-wide recycling and hold recycling competitions for its employees. Replenysh offers a way for businesses (or other local entities) to become community collection points and get paid for recyclables collected at those points. Other companies like Roadrunner and Recycle Track Systems (RTS) sell businesses efficient bulk recycling solutions. Roadrunner does this through optimized recycling routes while RTS has a sophisticated monitoring + management software that businesses can use to track pickups and waste diversion metrics.

  2. Sorting is the separation of different materials prior to those materials being sent to specialized recycling facilities. Traditional sorting centers hire people to manually sort recyclables off the belt. Because of how contaminated the recycling stream usually is, manual sorting is disgusting work and can be pretty dangerous.

    • Several startups are working on automating sorting at these facilities. AMP Robotics has developed a proprietary computer vision and robotics system that can be used in both new and existing sorting facilities. Greyparrot uses its AI to provide sorters with real-time composition data and allow sorters to optimize their facilities. Evtek combines collection with sorting technology to provide collectors with fast analysis and monetization of their hauls.

  3. The vast majority of companies in this space work on new technologies to aid in specialized recycling, i.e. finding new ways to turn one material and recycling it into either the same material or a different material.

    • Plastics recycling is probably the most discussed category in this section because of how difficult plastics are to recycle. Many different types of plastics exist and are hard to identify, even with the numbering system. That makes separating plastics into the right streams for recycling an error-prone process and increases the probability that plastics get downcycled into lower quality materials. Add to that the ever-growing volume of plastics, their low degradation rates, and their high rates of single-use, and the issue of plastics pollution seems to grow exponentially every year. Startups in this area are working on all sides of the plastics recycling problem: some like Empower are creating recycled plastics and plastics credits marketplaces to help drive more buyers and more value to recycled plastics. Companies like Novoloop and ReNew ELP are using novel processes to efficiently break plastics down into high value monomers or chemicals and fuel feedstocks. Others like ByFusion use plastics as replacements for carbon intensive materials like those used in construction (a form of downcycling that has a robust, valuable market).

    • Cardboard and paper recycling is much more straightforward than plastics recycling. Cardboard and paper both are widely recycled today, composing 2/3 of municipal waste that’s recycled in the US. There aren’t many companies that are working on improving cardboard and paper recycling because of how efficiently the process already is. But one area here that’s seen some startup activity is using recycled cardboard to replace carbon intensive materials. CleanFiber, for example, is using recycled cardboard for building insulation.

    • Metal recycling is another area that already experiences higher recycling rates. I don’t see many startups in this area working on new processes for metal recycling (with the exception of specialty “metals” like those used for e-waste or powder coatings) but rather improving the efficiency of the process. GreenSpark is one company that has developed software for metal recyclers to optimize their recycling processes.

    • Glass recycling is an interesting area because it should have high rates of recycling with how easy glass is to recycle but falls short due to the logistics of moving glass around. Glass is very heavy and hazardous to move around, and combined with how cheap virgin glass is to make, the value proposition is often not there for large volume glass recycling at remote locations. The flip side of this is that recycling glass locally does make sense, so some startups, like RippleGlass, have developed more distributed models of glass recycling to help offset hauling costs.

    • E-waste is a huge area for recycling because of the complexity and toxicity of the materials involved. Batteries have come to be a focal point for this part of the energy transition. Companies like Ascend Elements use a novel process to recycle lithium ion batteries. Others like Nth Cycle handle general e-waste and mining waste to recycle into critical battery minerals.

    • Other types of specialty recycling do exist as well. For example, Bolder Industries recycles tires into carbon black, Vartega recycles carbon fiber, and Evrnu recycles cotton fiber to new textiles. I could write another article on just this “other” category alone…

Recycling organic waste is also a very important part of the recycling ecosystem. Organic waste can generally be divided into food/ag waste, municipal waste, and waste wood (wastewater sometimes get included in this too, but I think water warrants its own topic).

  1. Food waste is an incredibly impactful category on emissions. Some experts, like those at Project Drawdown, even consider food waste as the #1 potential emissions reduction category from now until 2050 (under Scenario 1). Part of this is attributed to non-recycling food waste solutions, i.e. higher efficiency food production and better food consumption practices (e.g. embracing imperfect produce). But the remainder is certainly what I would call recycling: transforming food waste into other materials. The glaringly obvious food waste-to-compost pathways is already widely practiced at both the individual and entity levels but some companies like BioCoTech are developing speedier and more efficient composters. Other companies create new uses for food waste. Examples include Better Origin, which transforms food waste to animal feed, GoTerra, which transforms food waste into fertilizer and protein, and TripleW, which transforms food waste into plastics feedstocks.

  2. Municipal waste management is another broader category that overlaps with recycling. Startups in this area are working on new processes to turn unsorted municipal waste, which often contains a significant amount of organic waste in addition to inorganic waste, into other products. UBQ, for example, has figured out a way to transform municipal waste into plastics while Circular SynTech* can turn municipal waste into chemicals.

  3. The final big category of organic waste that I’ll cover today is waste wood. Wood is primarily wasted in construction/demolition, packaging, furniture disposal, and processing. This wood can be used for biomass energy or recycled into other materials. For example, BiocharNow can create biochar from waste wood using a pyrolysis process. Other companies like Cambium Carbon simply recycle the waste wood into wood products.

All of this just covers a fraction of the innovation we need in recycling. Making anything valuable from discarded material is a hugely creative task and will require the scrappiest of entrepreneurs, pun intended.

*Circular SynTech is a client of Boundless Capital Partners, of which I am an advisor.


How recycling fits into climatetech (circular economy Pt 1)

Posted by Deanna on June 16, 2022

Today I want to talk about…recycling!

Recycling is often more so described as “cleantech” instead of “climatetech” because the conversation typically revolves around its impact on surrounding ecology – less trash = less wildlife in danger = better for biodiversity. It’s not commonly talked about in the context of reducing emissions, and in fact, many in the climatetech universe consider recycling to be a potential distraction away from climate goals. Consider these headlines:

But recycling does have a tangible and positive impact on emissions. It helps avoid both the process emissions from virgin materials (by sourcing those materials from recycled material) and the emissions from decomposition of landfill waste (by diverting landfill waste to recycling centers).

At the surface level, the quantity of this potential emissions reduction is small. Project Drawdown calculates ~0.2 Gt/year average impact (5.5-6 Gt over 30 years) assuming household and commercial recycling rates more than double to ~65-68% by 2050. But that estimate doesn’t cover potential impacts from recycling paper (~0.04 – 0.07 Gt/year), “recycling” organic waste like food scraps into compost (~0.07 – 0.1 Gt/year), digesting industrial scale organic waste from ag and wastewater into biogas (~0.2 – 0.3 Gt/year), digesting household organic waste into biogas for cooking (0.15 – 0.32 Gt/year), landfill gas capture (~0 – 0.07 Gt/year), and other waste-to-energy (~0.07 – 0.1 Gt/year), which all add up to about another 0.7 Gt/year impact. So all in all, the practice of recycling – in the broadest sense of the word – can reduce annual emissions by nearly 1 Gt.

And that’s only the direct impact of recycling to emissions. There are also indirect impacts which are harder to quantify.

  1. One indirect impact is the effect of recycling on land. The US, for example, is set to run out of landfills within 15 years unless new landfills are added or we increase waste incineration like Japan or the Nordic countries have (which traditionally is less carbon intensive than straight landfill disposal but without CCUS, does release emissions). An average landfill is 600 acres of land, enough for 80MW of solar or 20MW of wind. In order to add enough capacity to offset the current waste generation rate in the US of ~300 million tons a year, the industry needs to add up to 158 landfills (assuming 1,300 lbs waste/cubic yard, 121 thousand cubic yards/acre, 25-year lifespan / 600 acre landfill) or nearly 100,000 acres every year. That’s using new land roughly the size of the US Virgin Islands every year.

    As land becomes a critical issue for deploying climate solutions, waste management firms will need to find new ways of disposing waste that doesn’t use land…and recycling can help with that. We likely underestimate the emissions impact that recycling can have via enabling land to be used for other climate solutions.

  2. Recycling can catalyze other circular economy technologies. Circular economy includes the development of product lifecycles that are longer and better enable reuse and recycle. That includes new materials, new sources of materials, new services/technologies to help materials move from one stage of the circular economy to another, etc.

    For materials developers, finding a new material that 1) has all of the properties needed for an application, 2) is sustainably sourced, and 3) can be sustainably disposed of is like threading a fine needle. Bringing to market new, better methods of recycling can at least help prevent #3 from being a bottleneck by offering new materials developers more options for closing the loop. In turn, those materials developers have a higher chance of scaling their product to displace more carbon intensive counterparts. An easy example of this is carbon fiber, which has enabled the scale up of wind blades. Companies that are working on recycling carbon fiber are also helping lower the carbon intensity of wind blades, keeping wind energy carbon competitive with other alternative energy solutions.

    The potential emissions impact of new materials having an easier time scaling because of recycling options is hard to pin down but is again, likely underestimated.

  3. Finally, recycling is the gateway drug to more fervent climate action. The nice thing about recycling is that it’s a daily activity for consumers and businesses to pay attention to. It keeps environmental consciousness at the forefront of topical issues, which helps keep climate at the forefront as well. Encouraging good recycling practices for a collective good is a parallel exercise to getting consumers and businesses to care about their carbon footprint for a collective good as well. It’s no surprise that most consumers that care about recycling also take on other low carbon lifestyle changes.

The point is recycling does have an impact on the climate and we should care about it for climate reasons in addition to the much-discussed ecological and “courteous neighbor” reasons. It’s not a solution set we should deprioritize because of its arms-length relationship with direct emissions. Recycling is firmly within climatetech.

Next week, I plan to chart out the different types of recycling (and related circular economy) technologies. Stay tuned!  


Diving into investor sustainability software

Posted by Deanna on June 9, 2022

After researching the sustainability stack for corporates last week, I thought it might make sense to look at what a similar stack looks like for investors.

Incorporating ESG, and the closely related sister topic of sustainability, for investors has exploded, largely thanks to a combination of regulation, growing consensus around ESG’s role in long term risk management, and peer/parent pressure. ESG-mandated assets have more than doubled in the last five years to represent ~40% of all managed assets globally. By 2025, that number is projected to be closer to 60%.

Anyone who has worked around sustainability or ESG knows that there is a healthy amount of confusion present in almost all aspects of its incorporation in investing. A big question continues to be what information in this area is relevant to investors, with what’s widely considered relevant information (e.g. impact on environment, impact on community) notorious for being hard to distill down into usable metrics. ESG reporting provisions, which are supposed to help guide these metrics, are incredibly fragmented (over 600 exist as of 2021). And getting any of this information cleanly and regularly continues to be an IT challenge for most firms.

All of this has encouraged startups to develop new tools for investors to manage sustainability and ESG.

The software stack for investors can be divided into two parts: 1) third party data on companies that is compiled for use by investors, which feed into 2) overarching portfolio management tools. Both areas have a robust number of companies working on solutions within them, though the number of startups in general aimed at selling to investors seems markedly lower across the board than the number of startups aimed at selling to corporates (which is interesting because ESG is supposed to be an investor-facing framework, perhaps a factor of how stingy investors usually are with what software they purchase). Here’s how it lays out in more detail:

(Note that the companies mentioned are not vetted or sorted. This is just a list I compiled of advertised software applications from various companies)

  1. Third party data on companies for investors can be divided into asset-level data or corporate-level data.
    • Asset-level data includes the climate risk of real estate based on building location and structural characteristics (FutureProof) or other physical and transition risks calculated from various climate models (riskthinking.AI).
    • Corporate-level data includes ESG metrics (ESG Book) and emissions / targets data (Urgentem). It can also include company ratings, which can be based on ESG questionnaires (EcoVadis), sensitivity to energy prices under various scenarios (Entelligent), natural language processing of publications on business activity impacts (Util), or crowdsourced reviews (Impaakt). It can also include sustainability indices (iClima), though most of them are not startup-produced.
  2. Portfolio management encompasses portfolio analytics / optimization, which is the use of data to monitor sustainability at the portfolio level, and portfolio reporting, which is the capture of relevant summary data to be shared to LPs, stakeholders, or regulatory bodies. These functions are highly intertwined and many companies offer solutions for both.
    • More heavily weighted on the portfolio analytics side include Persefoni, which can automate carbon footprint calculations at the portfolio level through linking to financial transaction data. Persefoni can help investors report carbon numbers but has to integrate with other software for broader ESG disclosure and reporting. Matter is similar in its balance between analytics and reporting – it does portfolio-level risk assessments by flagging potential sustainability issues and also has an API that investors can use to report certain numbers to their stakeholders.  
    • GRESB and Sametrica I consider more weighted on the external communication side. GRESB does do portfolio analysis, but its primary product is the benchmarking and scoring of investors vs. their peers (and only in the infra/real assets sectors). SAMETRICA, on the other hand, is more reporting heavy because its primary function is to help an investor gather proprietary ESG data from portfolio companies, organize that data into appropriate frameworks, and make it easy for an investor to report that data.
    • One startup that doesn’t neatly fit into either category but works “behind the scenes” is Manaos, which offers an open marketplace for ESG software. Investors can use this marketplace to easily trial different ESG packages on their portfolio, which can be important for understanding how different software packages run analytics a little differently from one another.

A few observations:

  1. I was surprised by the lack of software to incorporate ESG or sustainability into the workflows of evaluating new investments. Perhaps just having the ESG data itself is sufficient for now while ESG is more of a prescreening binary “yes it qualifies” or “no it doesn’t” for new investments, but I would expect these metrics to have a meaningful but highly complex impact on modeled risk-adjusted returns. Once that relationship is more established and calculable, perhaps there will be software developed to help analysts incorporate this data in valuation work.

  2. Similar to how there were a plethora of “umbrella” sustainability software companies on the corporate side, there are a large number of companies working on ESG data management for investors (i.e. what SAMETRICA does above). Like on the corporate side, I would expect a) further consolidation of these companies and b) further differentiation by sector focus.

  3. The vast array of methodologies to calculate ESG and sustainability metrics for investors was impressive, ranging from using geospatial analysis to NLP on unstructured data to complex climate modeling. I believe more creative approaches will be rewarded as investors continue to explore new, differentiated datasets to find the ones that will be most relevant to their portfolios.

  4. Third party data seems highly concentrated around public companies due to the availability of information (in fact 5/7 of the companies listed in the company level third party data section above only offer products for investors of public companies, the two exceptions being EcoVadis and Impaakt). More companies in the future will probably start offering private company ESG ratings, which means utilizing non-traditional data sources. ERM, for example, just recently announced a product targeting the private markets that uses “intelligent web-crawlers, APIs from an ecosystem of data providers, and alternate data sources.”

The different flavors of corporate sustainability software

Posted by Deanna on June 2, 2022

It’s been interesting to observe the vast array of digital technologies available to help build out a company’s sustainability strategy. What initially started as a space largely dominated by consulting firms and ratings agencies (e.g. Bloomberg, Sustainalytics, and MSCI) has now grown to be a thriving software-driven ecosystem.

VCs are enamored with funding corporate sustainability software (or climate-driven software of any kind). Over $570mm have been invested in climate reporting software in the first half of 2021, which, while only ~1% of all climatetech investment in this period, was spread over a larger number of early stage deals. A similar report by CTVC highlights that Carbon, the bucket of companies that includes carbon tracking and accounting software, experienced significantly more growth Y-o-Y in number of companies funded and new unique investors than other sectors. At face value, this is one of the few subsectors in climatetech that VC is well primed for: it’s easily scalable, capital light, has a huge market size (any company that cares about sustainability, which is everyone these days), and directly benefits from the large number of corporate dollars going into transition.

There are several different flavors of corporate sustainability software:

(Note that the companies mentioned are not vetted or sorted. This is just a list I compiled of advertised software applications from various companies)

  • “Umbrella” systems – these are software and/or SaaS tools that work to summarize & aggregate information across an organization for some purpose. The information is always inclusive of emissions and carbon footprint but can also include energy management, community actions, and other relevant impact information. The “umbrella” software in sustainability seems to be divided into three main categories:

    1. Carbon accounting and reporting, which is tackling the difficult problem of aggregating and calculating a company’s carbon footprint from disparate (and often times non-digitized or automated) data sources
    2. ESG, CSR, EHS, and/or GRC compliance and reporting, which helps a company aggregate relevant data for outside stakeholders and agencies
    3. Climate action and sustainability strategy, which is how a company plans to improve its sustainability picture based on targets it has set on its data

      Most of the “umbrella” software companies seem to incorporate elements of all three, though some have more of an emphasis on one pillar than the other (e.g. Locus or Benchmark ESG which is more EHS and ESG software vs. Normative or Net0 which are focused on the carbon accounting vs. ClimateAI or Aclymate which emphasize climate action). Some “umbrella” software companies focus on specific end-markets, such as SINAI for industrial heavy emitters or CarbonCloud for the food industry

  • Vertical measurement and reporting – these are the individual building blocks that feed into an “umbrella” software management tool. These software tools track and manage a company’s operational and emissions-producing activity for a single “vertical,” which can be an asset (or set of assets) or whole company division. The challenges with this subvertical are data collection frequency, integration with physical devices onsite, and integration with other software programs. Vertical software can include companies like Project Canary, which works to measure GHG emissions of assets and groups of assets, ActualHQ, which streamlines scenario planning for decarbonization at the asset level, Fabriq, which focuses on building management and decarbonization, Matidor, which serves the environmental remediation workflows, EnergyCap, which manages energy sourcing and utility bills for companies, Bext360, which uses blockchain for supply chain traceability, SupplyShift, which identifies sustainability-related vendor risks, and Cervest, which calculates climate risk at the asset level

  • Offsets purchases and management – or the part of the carbon economy that directly faces corporates. With how illiquid and fragmented the offsets market is, most companies need a third-party provider to help manage and purchase offsets. Some startups like Viridios help companies value and price offsets while others like Pachama actually create marketplaces for the offsets. Other companies like Patch have offered a way for consumer-facing companies to actually integrate carbon offsetting into their checkout process. All of this data gets incorporated into the “umbrella” systems

  • Ratings and rankings – these are the companies that take publicly reported sustainability or ESG data (which are derived from what’s put out by companies with the “umbrella” systems) and compile them into rankings or ratings. Most agencies create these datasets for investors, though some of them allow input from the companies themselves. There are also not that many startups in this area anymore as most of the major ones, like Sustainalytics or Vigeo Elris, have been acquired by the larger data firms. Ecovadis, which is PE-backed, is one of the few exceptions I’ve found. My first thought was that there should be more emerging startups that offer third party rankings…but this report mentions 600+ ESG ratings and rankings exist already

A few observations:

  • This space is crowded. There are a ton of “umbrella” systems in particular, which may stem from the fact that there seems to be a plethora of legacy software used for EHS that are now expanding to include ESG and sustainability. It’s not clear from a surface level scan of these companies how much they differentiate from each other or what the competing factors are (speed of implementation? Integration with other software? UI?). Perhaps the ecosystem isn’t yet mature enough for that to drive marketability

  • There will likely be more sector specialization. Sustainability for heavy industry is very different from sustainability for consumer/retail which is very different from sustainability for food/ag. Each industry will need to adopt more and more specific strategies after taking care of the low hanging fruit (like decarbonizing company vehicles or sourcing more renewable power). Software companies will likely need more industry insiders to implement and sell solutions. We’ve seen the same thing happen with AI, which initially was offered to many industries by horizontal tech specialists and which has since evolved to require domain specificity

  • Mass consolidation is on the horizon for “umbrella” systems. The market currently has many different players that are competing for “first in the door” implementations in a largely finite corporate universe. There’s a good chance that many of these initial implementations will have a substantial incumbency advantage as the cost of switching to a new software system outweighs the incremental benefit of switching to a new system (unless there’s a big advantage like much lower price or sector specialization as discussed above). Thus, the only way in the future for whoever is left from today’s initial scramble to expand will be to acquire into new customers. We should see this space as ripe for acquisitions, mergers, and rollups near term

Some other resources for those that want to look further:


Why ESG is not the same as (and can be harmful to) sustainability

Posted by Deanna on May 26, 2022

ESG is often brought up in the same context as sustainability (and climate and energy transition). In many cases, it’s use interchangeably with sustainability to refer to an organization's desire to “go green.” Take for example these recent articles about ESG:

Which almost all exclusively refer to the climate movement. These aren’t necessarily wrong. Many aspects of ESG do overlap with transition or sustainability strategy. It’s often said that ESG is really “big E, little S and G,” which is to say that, out of the three letters of ESG, “E,” or environmental, is often seen and received as the most important.

Using ESG almost synonymously with energy transition or sustainability does one of two things though. 1) It does a disservice to the other aspects of ESG that are not climate-focused and 2) It can actually be hurtful to growth-oriented sustainability initiatives.

#1 is a little more obvious than #2. When the emphasis for ESG is placed so heavily on climate, and in particular emissions, the company can under-recognize efforts that have gone into other initiatives. Things like DEI, responsible labor practices, and business ethics that can get “underfunded” internally with a warped definition of ESG, which can potentially minimize the influence of the company on human relationships and social systems at times where it can be immediately impactful. ESG has to be recognized as a broad umbrella.

(SASB does this well. They’ve identified 26 areas that fall under ESG, of which 15 have no direct relation to the “E” in ESG.)

#2 is what I’ve come to realize over time – and it’s something that I don’t think is immediately obvious.

ESG’s intended purpose is to identify and address the environmental, social, governance issues that matter to a company. The keyword here is matter. In practice today, matter means what gets investors to put more money forward. Matter is what’s relevant to financial performance. Matter is “what does the company do that is different from other companies and raises its equity valuation.”

In other words, ESG is fundamentally a benchmarking framework. It’s used in practice to identify companies that stand out relative to other companies. And it’s used in this way by investors in particular. Which is why the questions that get asked over and over again in ESG circles are “why does ESG matter to financial performance?” “How is this going to make me more money?”

(To put SASB in the spotlight again, this is exactly why they have materiality calculators to determine which of the 26 areas of ESG actually matter for enterprise value across different industries.)

This can undermine true sustainability in leading a company to always look at their neighbor for guidance on what to do and to only focus on things that their investors consider linked to financial return, a mindset that tends to lead companies to take the most conservative path towards sustainability.

A good analogy is in school. The goal of school is to learn (or learn how to learn), but when a student focuses too much on getting good grades (“ESG score”) to get a good job or go to a good college (“financial return”) vs. actually learning (“being sustainable”), the incentive might be for the student to take easier classes or to just do enough to outcompete her fellow students. A parent (the “investor”) might say “why in the world are you taking that class? How is that going to get you a job?” Which is exactly the kind of advice that, while practical, gets in the way of true scholarship. And leads to kids not taking enough academic risks for learning’s sake. (And leads those same kids to take investment banking jobs down the line 😊)

Another way of putting it is that thinking that ESG is the same as sustainability disincentivizes companies to be creative, aggressive, and risk-taking in putting forward new sustainability growth initiatives. If all you care about is the measurement, you’re more likely to stick to what’s being measured.

Don’t get me wrong…ESG is still very important. It (in theory) establishes a fair and objective baseline across companies and industries. It allows the laggards to recognize that they are laggards and take the first step to catching up. It’s a requirement for being a good company. And establishing ESG standards and practices is critically important for catalyzing industry-wide movements forward in sustainability and governance.

But I think it’s wrong to mistake a company’s ESG strategy for sustainability strategy. Every company needs both. ESG can measure a company’s position vs. peers and allow a company to calibrate itself to accept industry best practices. Sustainability strategy will probably overlap in many ways but should always take things a step forward in ways that ESG cannot as a benchmarking tool. Every company has the opportunity to create differentiated, creative sustainability strategy in areas that are not captured by ESG.

In short, get good grades, but don’t forget to learn as well.

An example of what I mean using a fictional lemonade company:

1 Comment

Future hydrogen uses and demand

Posted by Deanna on May 19, 2022

Now having discussed hydrogen production and logistics, the last piece of the puzzle is….hydrogen uses and demand!

Right now the hydrogen use chart is dominated heavily by industrial offtake – out of the combined ~75 Mt of pure hydrogen in the market in 2020, 37Mt was used for refining, 33 Mt for ammonia production, and the remaining 5 Mt for reducing iron for steel production. Including hydrogen in syngas adds another 15-20 Mt to the total, most of which is used in methanol production.

The future of the market is much more diversified…and much harder to predict. 2050 forecasts swing wildly depending on assumptions (e.g. BNEF’s Gray scenario predicts 190 Mt of hydrogen vs. 1,130 Mt in their Green scenario), but most seem to assume more than 500 Mt of hydrogen demand is necessary for a successful transition.

For simplicity purposes, I’ve averaged three sources (BNEF Green, IEA Net Zero by 2050, and Hydrogen Council’s 2050 forecast), which results in ~793 Mt of hydrogen demand. 75% of this demand comes from new uses: Power (30%), Transport (23%), and Heavy Industry (21%). The remaining quarter is made up of hydrogen offtake that largely exist in some form today (ammonia: 6%, chemicals: 9%, refining: 4%) in addition to building heat demand (7%).

(Note that these are not vetted or sorted. This is just a list I compiled of advertised hydrogen use methods from various companies):

  • Power is probably the most controversial use of hydrogen because of traditional, higher efficiency storage options like batteries or hydropower. Roundtrip efficiency of storing electricity in the form of hydrogen ranges from 18-46%, compared to 60-90% of most other forms of storage. Nonetheless, intermittency remains a key issue in the deployment of renewables and in some cases (when factoring in supply chain constraints, unfavorable geography, weight limitations, charge and discharge time required, need for off grid fuel, and scalability), it may make more financial and practical sense to go with a hydrogen fuel cell system.
    • Most of the innovation in this area is centered around developing and commercializing better fuel cells. Like in the electrolyzer space, there are different chemistries for fuel cells, with most companies specializing in one or two types (with some of the same companies working on both electrolyzers and fuel cells of the same type). Some of the more popular ones include solid oxide fuel cells (Elcogen) and PEM fuel cells (Loop), which are generally more commercialized at scale than their electrolysis counterparts. Lux research gives a great overview of stationary fuel cells here.
    • Some hydrogen storage options don’t use fuel cells. EnerVenue, for example, is deploying nickel-hydrogen batteries for utility scale storage.
  • Transport is the second largest future use of hydrogen and one that seems to have the greatest number of startups working on new solutions. Larger auto (and forklift) makers like Toyota are also eyeing hydrogen as a clean transport solution. Due to its low gravimetric energy density, hydrogen is seen as a more favorable solution for heavier vehicles – trucks and buses – and transport that is weight sensitive – shipping, aviation, and freight. Some examples of new hydrogen transport include:
    • Riversimple’s Rasa, a two seater hydrogen FCEV offered on a subscription basis
    • Quantron’s  Q-Trucks or Q-Buses, FCEV light-duty trucks and city buses
    • Hydra’s vehicle retrofits of heavy-duty trucks
  • Heavy industry is the third largest source of future hydrogen demand and possibly the most impactful when considering potential for near-term emissions reduction. Concrete, steel, and aluminum contribute over 7 Gt, ~44% of which are direct heating-related. Replacing these heating sources with hydrogen fuel or a mix of hydrogen fuel with other low carbon fuels can be a way to reduce a lot of emissions in one fell swoop. An additional 32% of emissions comes from electricity for things like electric arc furnaces (steel) or smelting (aluminum), which can also be decarbonized through hydrogen-fueled stationary power. The remaining quarter of emissions are process-related. Hydrogen has the most potential to replace natural gas as a reducing agent in the steel process. So in practice:
    • CEMEX has been injecting hydrogen into its fuel mix for its kilns since 2019
    • H2Green Steel is combining large scale electrolyzers to produce hydrogen, hydrogen as a reducing agent for producing direct reduced iron (DRI) from iron ore, and electric arc furnaces (instead of blast furnaces) to produce green steel
    • Rio Tinto along with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is testing using green hydrogen to replace natural gas as a source of heat for the calcination of bauxite to alumina
  • Buildings is another target for clean heating. Gas companies like SoCalGas are already testing up to 20% blend of hydrogen into the gas distribution grid (as most appliances have been designed to accommodate that amount of hydrogen already). Other companies like Modern Electron are developing new hydrogen-based heating and electric systems for buildings
  • Legacy hydrogen-consuming sectors like ammonia, refining, and chemicals will also move to using green hydrogen as both a feedstock and heating source.
    • Companies like Hydrofuel are commercializing green ammonia production from green hydrogen
    • Refineries have long used hydrogen in desulfurizing oil and gas products, cracking large products into smaller ones, and hydrogenating new products. Shell announced that they would collocate a green hydrogen project next to their refinery in Germany in an effort to lower the CI of the fuels produced nearby
    • Chemicals is probably one of the trickier sectors to decarbonize with hydrogen due to many reactions’ sensitivities to increased hydrogen blending and/or any temperature changes that occur when using a new heating source. Methanol is perhaps lower hanging fruit because of its use of existing syngas. Companies like Carbon Recycling International are replacing this syngas with recycled CO2 and green hydrogen. Other companies like Ineratec (synthetic liquid fuels) and Krajete (green methane) are producing new sustainable fuels and need green hydrogen as a feedstock.

To summarize, the future of hydrogen is massively EXCITING! It’s hard not to believe in a robust hydrogen market when faced with the different products under development today that will depend on cleaner sources of hydrogen in the future.


Hydrogen logistics Pt 2: future methods, costs, and a guess at the amount stored tomorrow

Posted by Deanna on May 12, 2022

Last week I explored the current costs and methods used for hydrogen logistics today. This week will be about the future of this part of the value chain: what new methods are in the process of being developed and commercialized?

Innovation in storage seems to be bifurcated between 1) improvements to current physical methods and 2) developing new materials or molecules to capture and/or transform the hydrogen.  Most startups and research labs seem to be working on #2, which is perhaps a symptom of the fact that there are an incredible number of materials to explore for this application. In fact, the DOE hosts a great database that lists out 250+ hydrogen-storing materials that researchers have discovered.

I won’t come even close to going into all of those methods, but hopefully the below gives a high level overview of what methods are actually being worked on by startups in the ecosystem.

(Note that these are not vetted or sorted. This is just a list I compiled of advertised hydrogen storage methods from various startups):

  • Improving current physical methods
    • Pressure vessels for gaseous storage of hydrogen still have room to advance. For example, Steelhead Composites creates type IV vessels, which are lined carbon-fiber wrapped vessels that are lighter, more durable, and can withstand greater pressures than traditional steel containers. Other vessels can be combined with a metal hydride to lower the needs of compression while increasing capacity (Harnyss)
    • Not exactly a storage method, but upgraded compression technology like electrochemical compression developed by HyET can help increase availability and reduce the implementation cost of high-pressure storage
    • Liquid hydrogen storage is also improving. IC Technologies in Norway has been working on new membrane tanks for large volume cryogenic liquid storage of hydrogen
    • Improving onboard storage systems for hydrogen FCEVs is also another target of innovation. Verne’s system claims to offer cheaper, denser, safer, and more reliable tanks for trucking and shipping through cryo-compression and upgraded control systems
  • Developing new materials-based methods
    • New liquid carriers that allow transportation of hydrogen as a liquid fuel but without the expense of liquefication and/or cryogenic cooling. Liquid carriers most commonly mean ammonia (Hydrofuel / Kontak) and liquid organic hydrogen carriers (Hydrogenious), though there are novel inorganic liquid carriers like the silicon-based liquid carrier that HySiLabs is working on
    • Metal and chemical hydrides like with sodium borohydride (H2Fuel Systems), aluminum hydride (FuelX), and magnesium hydride (H2Store / Hydrexia) have been pointed to as some of the most promising materials-based storage methods due to the high availability and low expense of the metals used. The limiting factor has been the energy needed and slow kinetics of the dehydrogenation reactions (“unpacking”), which has prevented rapid scale up
    • Metal organic frameworks (MOFs) like those produced by Immaterial Labs can be used to adsorb hydrogen into the lattice at very high rates. MOFs do very well in terms of capacity and adsorption rates compared to competing methods but unfortunately usually have to operate in cryogenic temperatures, which drives up costs
    • Similar to MOFs, porous solids can be used to absorb hydrogen. It was difficult to find any companies working on carbon nanotubes or activated carbon, which have long been discussed in research. In a related vein, a company called Green Fortress Engineering is developing hydrogen storage via porous silicon

Distributed hydrogen production does somewhat belong in this section too. Having onsite production at demand points like fueling stations eliminates the need for any hydrogen transport. Companies like IVYS Energy are working on building these all-in-one fueling stations.

It’s also worth mentioning the prospect of shipping hydrogen. Maritime transport of hydrogen is still in its infancy. It will be interesting to see whether or not international shipping of hydrogen will be necessary given the widespread availability of hydrogen-bearing sources. There are also some efforts in recent years to test out actually producing (then shipping) hydrogen on ships.

In terms of costs, there aren’t great sources for the potential costs of transport in the future based on all of the methods described above. According to one study examining Germany by 2050, transport + logistics could get down to $0.30 - $1.60 / kg  vs. the ~$1.50 - $6.00 / kg range we determined last time for current methods. This study only looked at gas, liquid, and LOHC methods though.

Finally, I’ll just end on the size of the future market. Luckily, this was actually a bit easier to find than the size of the current market, thanks to the smart people at IEA. According to their Net Zero scenario, they believe storage needs could amount to ~50 Mt by 2050, which is just under 10% of the 500+ Mt of hydrogen that they believe will be needed for Net Zero. That is a lot of hydrogen to store, considering the current total hydrogen produced right now is ~70 Mt. But considering the number of new methods that are under development, I'm optimistic that we'll have plenty of economic storage by that point.


Hydrogen logistics Pt 1: current costs and (guessing) market size

Posted by Deanna on May 5, 2022

Last time we talked about hydrogen production. I thought it might make sense this week to do a dive into hydrogen transport, storage, and other logistics.

Since there’s a lot that’s not well covered on this subject, I'm dividing this into two parts. In part 1 today, I’m going to explore the current status of this market. Part 2 will lay out new technologies and developments.

The nice thing about the hydrogen logistics industry is that it very much exists today. There is already a functioning model of moving product around safely and at a certain scale.

Most hydrogen today is stored and transported via physical methods, either a) in gaseous form via pipeline and high-pressure vessels or b) in liquid form via cryogenic tanks. Materials-based methods like hydrides or liquid organic carriers also exist, but these are still being commercialized.

I had a hard time finding a breakdown of each storage/transport method (so if anyone has one, would love to see it), but from what I can gather, hydrogen is currently most frequently transported in gas form on tube trailers. Liquid hydrogen transport is limited to large volume, long haul applications where the expense of liquefaction and insulation + the boil off loss of the hydrogen can be covered by the scale and immediacy of the demand (markets usually 150+ km away where a few tons per haul can be used in a short time…space programs are often cited as an example). Pipelines exist but only cover a few hubs (e.g. US Gulf Coast and Northern Europe) and require consistently large amounts of product transported through the same route in order to justify the upfront capex.

Costs vary by technology, distance and amount of hydrogen carried, but typically for distances 500km or less:

  • Transport ranges between $0.50 / kg and $2.50 / kg (distance increases this rate and economics of scale decreases it)
  • Conversion (compressing or liquefying hydrogen for transport) adds $1.00 - $3.50 / kg (liquefaction is more expensive than compression)
  • Storage can also vary quite widely. Cavern storage is not widely available but can cost $0.20 / kg whereas storage in tanks can vary anywhere from $0.50 – $2.00 / kg depending on pressure rating, material used, size of vessel, and loss/boil off rate
  • Combined, transport, conversion, and storage can add on average $1.50 - $6.00 / kg

Note that the above still doesn’t include the cost of refueling stations if you are looking at the logistics cost for a distributed fueling network. Adding in that cost, which is ~$7/kg, is not exactly straight forward since hydrogen can also be produced on-site at these stations, which eliminates many of the previous logistical costs.   

It might also be helpful to think about how these costs break down by method. The below shows what I estimated for total transport, conversion, and storage costs in $/kg for each of gas trucking, liquid trucking, and gas pipeline:

Generally, for deliveries <500T annually, tube trailers are the most economic option. For bigger deliveries, pipe wins out. However, since there aren't enough pipelines to be able to service all of the areas in which large scale hydrogen is needed, liquid hydrogen trucking is often the next most economic option.

These numbers are imprecise and don't take into account situational differences like the availability and accessibility of equipment, lower contract pricing, regional variations in power costs, consumer preference, etc. My understanding is that right now, gas, liquid, and pipe are all used across the matrix despite the price differences shown here.

I also tried to figure out exactly how much hydrogen is stored and transported today.

This is very difficult to find, unlike the widely reported 70 MT number that represents hydrogen produced. I guess the reason why this estimate is so obscure (other than the fact that maybe people don’t care enough about the logistics of hydrogen as much as the production of it) is that most of the hydrogen today is transported and stored by largely same the few giants that are producing the hydrogen. Since the hydrogen is moving around a few internal company ecosystems, perhaps there hasn’t been good data (that’s not proprietary) gathered around this. I’m hoping once there are more third parties in the logistics ecosystem, that will change.

Anyway, the best estimate I could come up with is 4 - 5 Mt. That’s dubiously anchored on several reports that seem to estimate that the hydrogen storage market at ~$14B right now and an assumed cost (loosely based on the above averages) of $3 - 3.75 / kg. That implies that less than 7% of current hydrogen production is stored.

Next time I’ll look into the future of this market. Thanks to the below for offering data points on cost:


17 ways to produce hydrogen sustainably

Posted by Deanna on April 28, 2022

Hi everyone – I’m sorry for falling off the map after that last post. I have been a bit busy taking care of some things, including physically moving to Denver. The move was a little unplanned but thoroughly welcomed. One of my goals this year was to explore new networks and Denver will be a great hub to do that from. I’ve been incredibly impressed with the Denver tech community + the many exciting things happening around energy transition and climatetech in this city. The easy flights to Houston are also a big plus!

You might have also seen that I was made an advisor to Boundless Capital Partners, a Denver-based investment bank focused on energy infrastructure and technology. I’ll continue to “do my own thing” but this gives me chance to support a stellar team taking a differentiated approach to investment banking while also staying adjacent to some relevant dealflow. Give me a shout if you’d like to learn more or to generally catch up.

Today let’s talk hydrogen production.

A lot of you might know that the reason why I am long hydrogen, despite the logistical shortcomings of the current network, is the many ways that hydrogen is able to be produced from a variety of sources. Hydrogen is the simplest molecule in the universe, which lends itself to be a product or by-product of a variety of different pathways.

See below for some of the different ways I know of to produce low-emissions hydrogen (Note that these are not vetted or sorted. This is just a list I compiled of advertised hydrogen production methods from various companies, mostly startups.):

  1. Biomass gasification + heat + water-gas shift + CCUS | Mote
  2. Biomass -> biofuel steam reforming + heat + water-gas shift + CCUS | GTI
  3. Biomass / waste + renewable electricity + microbial electrolyzer | Electro-Active Technologies
  4. Coal gasification + heat + water-gas shift + CCUS | GE
  5. Modular steam methane reformation + heat + water-gas shift + CCUS and/or RNG | Bayotech
  6. Conventional SMR, partial oxidation or autothermal reforming of methane + heat + water-gas shift + CCUS and/or RNG | Air Liquide
  7. Methane pyrolysis + renewable electricity + possibly RNG | Monolith Materials
  8. In situ partial oxidation of hydrocarbons + water-gas shift + CCUS | Proton Energy
  9. In situ oil + fermentation by microbes + CCUS | Cemvita
  10. Water + renewable electricity + PEM electrolyzer | Hystar
  11. Water + renewable electricity + AEM electrolyzer | Versogen
  12. Water + renewable electricity + alkaline electrolyzer | Battolyser
  13. Water + advanced SMR + high temperature electrolyzer | NuScale
  14. Water + renewable heat + solid oxide electrolyzer | Utility Global
  15. Water + photons + photoelectrochemical reactor | Syzygy
  16. Water + renewable electricity + mine tailings + electrolyzer + CCUS | Planetary Hydrogen
  17. Water + quasar wave reactor | Q Hydrogen

*Note: The list could be made even more precise through differentiating between SMR, electrolysis, and pyrolysis by type of catalyst used. For example, there is a sub-category of plasma-based catalysts that are used in pyrolysis.

For a more in-depth explanation of some of these, the DOE is a great resource.

A few observations on the list:

  1. Most new methods rely on water as a primary feedstock. Not many companies that I could find are working on new implementation of gasification or reformation from hydrocarbon sources.

  2. Electrolysis as a broad category is filled with players ranging from large public companies to small startups. The larger companies are focused more on the more mature technologies, which, for electrolysis is alkaline and, to a lesser extent, PEM. Startups tend to be working more on a mix of PEM, AEM, and solid oxide.

  3. There is a lot of competition in electrolysis technology. Electrolytic methods tend to be evaluated based on:
    • Cost and availability of secondary inputs (heat or electricity or both, catalysts, membrane, electrolyte)
    • Ability to output pressurized hydrogen
    • Current density (which, to my understanding, is proportional to power density and thus hydrogen generation rate, so generally speaking, higher current density = larger hydrogen generation in the same amount of area)
    • Partial load range (which is wider for PEM and solid oxide than for alkaline and AEM)
    • Long term stability and durability of the system (alkaline tends to be better tested in this arena)
    • Ability to scale (modularity and absolute size able to be achieved)
    • Overall efficiency (electrolysis usually lands at ~60-80%)

      It’s my understanding that no one electrolytic method wins in all or even the majority of these variables, which makes “choosing a winner” in this arena a complex optimization problem. With more complexity in choice comes more competition for the same business. The higher competition is somewhat compensated by the larger number of players interested in electrolytic production of hydrogen vs. other methods.

  4. An emerging category of hydrogen production is biohydrogen – or the production of hydrogen via biological methods. This can range from producing hydrogen with algae or using a microbial-based reactor (like microbial electrolysis). I had a difficult time finding startups that were working on commercializing this technology. It seems that most of the development in this area is being done by universities. With the amount of capital going into microbiology, and especially microbiology in energy transition (currently focused on developing synthetic oils and chemicals), we should see biotech startups emerging focused on producing hydrogen as well.

Hope you enjoyed today’s roundup. Would love any feedback or comments!

© 2023 All rights reserved.