This week’s Current Climate, which every Saturday brings you the latest news about the business of sustainability. Sign up to get it in your inbox every week.
More than $2.5 billion in the first quarter went to food systems startups, including indoor farming.
NurPhoto via Getty Images
Venture capital firms funneled $9 billion into 273 climate tech startups in the first quarter of this year, according to an analysis released by PitchBook this week. That was $2.2 billion less than the $11.2 billion invested per quarter, on average, in 2021. This was not unexpected, given the first few months of this year saw the start of Russia’s war in Ukraine, and continued market volatility, rising inflation and recession fears mean we could see further declines in the second quarter.
But beyond then, investment could pick up. “In the long term, the attack on Ukraine and resulting calls for energy independence in Europe are likely to accelerate climate tech investment, namely hydrogen, solar, batteries, nuclear, and wind,” the PitchBook report says. Another tailwind: the rule the Securities and Exchange Commission proposed in March to require publicly-traded companies to disclose certain climate-related risks, including greenhouse gas emissions.
More than $2.5 billion in the first quarter went to food systems startups, meaning companies developing alternative proteins, indoor and alternative farming methods and other agtech products. The biggest deal was a $400 million Series E round for indoor vertical farming company Plenty led by One Madison Group and JS Capital, with participation from Walmart and SoftBank Vision Fund 1. Other deals included a $387 million Series C for cultured meat startup UPSIDE Foods, a $136 million Series B for plant-based meat-alternative startup Redefine Meat and a $130 million Series B for cow-less dairy startup Remilk.
The Big Read
Receding floodwaters flow past sections of North Entrance Road washed away at Yellowstone National Park.
Yellowstone Will Stay Closed Through The Weekend Due To Historic Flooding And Mudslides
Yellowstone National Park is closed due to flooding and mudslides that have taken out roads and bridges, and it’s possible northern sections of the park will remain closed for the entire season. Days of unrelenting rain and snowmelt led to a more than 14-foot rise in the Yellowstone River, a historic event that climate experts warn could become more common. A climate assessment report published last year found the temperature of watersheds in the greater Yellowstone area rose 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit from 1950 to 2018. Read more here.
Discoveries And Innovations
Sesame Solar unveiled its renewable mobile nanogrids at a price of $100,000 to $300,000, which the Jackson, Michigan-based company says can start generating power within 15 minutes.
Around 700 companies on the Forbes Global 2000 have net zero emissions targets, up from 417 in 2020, though nearly two-thirds are missing concrete details, according to the latest assessment of climate pledges by the Net Zero Tracker collaboration.
Drought conditions in southern Iraq caused the 3,400-year-old city of Zakhiku to re-emerge from the waters of the Tigris River for several months earlier this year, allowing archaeologists to recover rare items, including cuneiform tablets.
Sustainability Deals Of The Week
Adani Group, led by Indian billionaire Gautam Adani, has struck a deal with TotalEnergies in which the French energy company will acquire a 25% minority interest in Adani New Industries. The companies will invest $50 billion over the next ten years in green hydrogen, with a goal of producing 1 million tons annually by 2030.
Travertine Technologies came out of stealth this week with $3 million in seed financing led by Grantham Environmental Trust and Clean Energy Ventures to commercialize its system to capture carbon dioxide and co-produce sulfuric acid for fertilizer production.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-backed crop health startup Enko has acquired DNA-encoded libraries from the drug discovery company X-Chem that will help train machine learning models and screen billions of molecules for new ways to control pests and diseases that affect crops.
Menlo Park, California has entered into a public-private partnership with climate tech company BlocPower to electrify more than 10,000 homes by 2030, as the city aims to hit its goal of carbon neutrality. The voluntary program will include the installation of heat pumps, electric vehicle charging stations and solar and battery storage.
On The Horizon
The United Nations’ Africa Climate Week will take place from August 29 to September 1 in Libreville, Gabon. It’s an opportunity to discuss regional climate plans with governments, the private sector and NGOs ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference known as COP27 in Egypt in November.
What Else We’re Reading This Week
Green Transportation Update
Tesla Model Y and Model 3 electric vehicles built at the company’s Shanghai plant are loaded up to be shipped to Belgium.
VCG via Getty Images
It just wouldn’t be a normal week in the world of clean transportation without lots of Tesla and Elon Musk news. The leading seller of electric vehicles pushed through some pretty hefty price increases across its lineup, most notably by raising the base price of the Model Y by $3,000. It’s now up to $65,990 from $62,990. Add a color other than Pearl White or Silver Metallic, the company’s controversial “Full Self Driving” option and taxes and customers will be spending more than $80,000. That comes as Elon Musk makes good on his promise to cut about 10% of Tesla’s staff and the company works to get production in China back to normal. All in all, the company is having a turbulent quarter.
The Big Transportation Story
Carbon Revolution wheels for the 2020 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang.
Carbon Fiber Wheels Could Be Next Boost For Electric Vehicle Range
Given the cost and mass of batteries, maximizing energy efficiency is critical for electric vehicles to get the most range from the least amount of battery. Read more here.