Startup Corner: Roundup for April

Viridos, Ocean Oasis, ChargerHelp! and Orora Technologies were highlighted in the Climate Tech Rundown for April.

More than one-third of all liquid fossil fuels utilised today are consumed by the heavy transportation industry. The majority of this demand is met by aircraft, which contribute 2.5 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. By 2050, researchers predict that aeroplanes will be responsible for more than 20 percent of all CO2 emissions. Airlines have been actively looking for a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to lessen their carbon footprint as part of their hunt for environmental solutions.

Enter Viridos, a firm that creates SAFs from microalgae oil. According to Chief Executive Officer Oliver Fetzer, the startup genetically alters algae to grow quicker and fatter, which has already improved the fuel capacity of the microalgae sevenfold.

With its newly discovered productivity, Viridos’ production of algal oil dwarfs that of conventional oil crops (such maize ethanol and palm biodiesel) by a factor of nine. 

The microalgae function as tiny cell factories, turning sunlight and CO2 into energy-dense oils that can be processed into sustainable diesel and jet fuel. The produced biofuels, according to the business, emit heat-trapping emissions by a factor of 70% less than conventional fuels.

Additionally, Viridos avoids using resources necessary for food production, such as farmland and freshwater, by growing algae in seawater, which doesn’t require arable land.

Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Chevron, and United Airlines Ventures recently provided $25 million in Series A funding to Viridos . Viridos plans to use this cash to increase its output over the next two years in order to become commercially viable.

Water scarcity affects 40% of the world’s population, and by 2030, up to 700 million people could be at risk of being displaced due to drought. Ocean Oasis, a Norwegian start-up, is creating technology that turns salty ocean water into drinkable freshwater in an effort to offset these depressing statistics.

Offshore, Ocean Oasis constructs floating desalination facilities that use pipes running along the seabed to deliver fresh water to the shore. This firm stands out from other desalination projects thanks to its dedication to net-zero emissions. The majority of the time, fossil fuels are used to power the energy-intensive process of desalination.

Ocean Oasis’ deep ocean desalination plants are powered by wave energy, which harnesses the energy of the ocean’s surface waves. This solves the problem.

According to co-founder and CEO Kristine Bangstad Fredriksen, “desalination that uses wave energy brings a new dimension and additional opportunities to supply desalinated water without emissions, at a competitive cost, and without the use of valuable land.”

Indian AI startup raised around $100 million from Tiger Global for joining India’s fastest growing club of unicorns

The most recent investment round for Ocean Oasis was concluded at $2.7 million. In order to move closer to its ultimate aim of providing fresh water to underserved populations, the business plans to test and scale its offshore technology. Unconventional Ventures took the lead in the round, which also included Unruly Capital, Grieg Edge, Farvatn Venture, and Antler.

By 2030, President Joe Biden wants to have installed 500,000 EV chargers and have sold half a million new electric light-duty vehicles. Drivers must have access to dependable public charging in order to accomplish this. But across the United States, as many as 1 in 5 chargers are broken. Startup ChargerHelp! steps in to help with this.

Founded in 2020, ChargerHelp! upskills technicians through a training programme before sending them out to repair damaged charging stations all around the United States. The company uses its reliability-as-a-service labour subscription model in direct partnerships with charging network providers like Tesla. ChargerHelp! collaborates closely with politicians in order to speed up their services, even if these private collaborations are an important component of their business model.

Most recently, ChargerHelp! collaborated on the EV Charging Reliability Transparency Act with FLO, a major charging network provider, and New York state senator Kevin Parker. If this legislation is approved, all public EV charging stations in New York must disclose their dependability data. The proposal is modelled after a statute supported by ChargerHelp! and adopted in California. With the help of ChargerHelp!, this public-private cooperation will provide more people with access to dependable charging stations, hence boosting EV adoption.

To extend its achievements, ChargerHelp! just closed a $17.5 million round. Technicians in its workforce development programme are paid at least $30 an hour and receive stock in the business.

Wildfires in California consumed 2.23 million acres in 2021 and produced 75 million metric tonnes of emissions. By leveraging satellites and artificial intelligence to reduce future high severity wildfires, Munich-based startup OroraTech seeks to avoid this.

In order to detect wildfires, OroraTech created thermal-infrared cameras that use AI-based algorithms to assess each pixel’s temperature in real time. The cameras on satellites are launched by OroraTech in collaboration with Spire, a space-as-a-service provider, at a height of around 370 miles above the earth’s atmosphere. Over 20 nanosatellites have received cameras from OroraTech so far.

The cameras can focus on heat zones as small as 4 by 4 metres when viewed from orbit. The ground is then quickly informed of this detection via email, text message, or in-app notifications. These intelligence data are used for risk assessment and real-time monitoring by clients across six continents, including commercial firms and governmental organisations.

Wildfires are typically discovered via emergency calls and watchtowers, which delays the response. NASA has satellites that can view fires, but they only send this data twice daily. Wildfires have a maximum spread speed of 14 miles per hour after they start.

In December, Series A finance of $16.5 million was secured by OroraTech. The start-up intends to develop its platform into a comprehensive wildfire management tool that would incorporate data, algorithms for fire forecasting, and coaching for firefighters. The business plans to launch 100 nanosatellites with cameras into orbit by 2026.

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