Chinese cost custs

Plus lots more across climate tech and energy


Happy Sunday. Thanks to those of you who came out on Thursday night. We had a blast & hope you did too.

Before we do today’s content thing, we’ve got an announcement for you → The Keep Cool Talent Collective™ is here.

The Talent Collective is our bespoke recruiting service to connect talented people in our ecosystem (like you) to visionary companies we cover. As of today, submissions are open for you to join the talent database. If you’re interested in deepening your impact with a role at an exceptional climate or energy tech business, submit your info here. After submission, our team will contact you for a chat / call, potentially leading to interviews with our partner companies.

Finally, if y’all want, we’ll start doing a once a month ‘ask Nick’ newsletter here soon too. Got questions about anything and everything under the sun in climate, climate tech, and energy? Respond to these emails anytime with your question(s) and maybe they’ll get featured.

In today’s email:

  • One story in a sentence (and a chart)

  • Climate and energy headlines from the week

  • Climate tech fundraising announcements


One story in a sentence (and a chart)

• More than meets the eye: U.S. electricity prices are up 85% over the past two decades, even as natural gas prices are generally down over the period and despite how cheap electricity generated by renewables can be hour to hour. Link.

Chart courtesy of our friends at EnerWrap

13 headlines

• In probably the biggest news of the week, CATL, the world’s largest battery manufacturer, said it would cut the price of its lithium iron phosphate cells by up to 50% by the middle of this year (to ~$56/kWh). If realized, that could spell a dramatic boon for EVs and battery energy storage deployment. BYD, the world’s second largest EV manufacturer, also launched a new $15,000 model, the Qin EV. For reference, both companies are Chinese. Link. Link.

• Type One Energy, a commercial fusion energy developer, announced it’s building its first prototype at the site of an old coal plant near Knoxville, Tennessee. The company plans to invest $223M, with construction on the stellarator slated to begin next year. Elsewhere in nuclear fusion, a Princeton University-based team used an AI model to predict plasma instabilities during fusion reactions 300 milliseconds before they happen, providing sufficient time to make modifications to control the plasma. Link. Link.

• A British company, Sheffield Forgemasters, completed the weld assembly of four nuclear-grade welds on a full-sized small modular nuclear reactor vessel in less than 24 hours with its Local Electron-Beam Welding technique. That’s work that typically takes a year. Link

• The Indian government is petitioning private investors to allocate $26B towards its nuclear energy sector with a stated goal of bringing 11 GW more nuclear power online by 2040. Link.

• The DOE’s Loans Program Office announced it made a $544M conditional commitment to SK Siltron CSS to expand its manufacturing presence in Bay City, Michigan, and produce more silicon carbide wafers and semiconductors for EV power electronics domestically. Link.

• Arc, an electric boat startup, unveiled its mass-market electric wake boat, which features a 226 kWh battery and a 570 horsepower motor. It notes it will deliver boats to customers by the end of this year. MSRP starts at $258,000. I know what I want for Xmas. Link.

• The SEC has dropped Scope 3 emissions reporting requirements from its draft climate risk disclosure rules. Link (paywall).

• The European Council and Parliament are drafting a new legislative framework that will include carbon removal technologies in the bloc’s net zero plans for 2050. Link.

• Europe continues to ice Russia out of its methane import market. In 2021, piped Russian gas accounted for 40% of European imports. In 2023, that fell to 8%. Now, the E.U. is also eyeing cutting remaining gas imports, specifically those piped from Russia through Ukraine. Link. Link.

• Unfortunately, the coal train keeps on rolling. Indonesia, one of the world’s largest coal exporters, recorded year-to-date seaborne exports that were 24% higher than 2023 values. Indonesia also included coal-fired power used in nickel facilities as part of a ‘green’ investment taxonomy, which seems utterly backward. Link. Link.

• New reporting released last week revealed that an oil and gas field in Kazakhstan saw one of the worst methane leaks ever last year. The well operated by Buzachi Neft lost more than 170,000 tonnes of methane to the atmosphere over months of inaction. While terrible for global warming, what’s exciting here is how satellite imagery can drive data transparency with respect to methane leaks; that wasn’t possible or at least not cheap a decade ago. Link.

• U.S. upscale EV manufacturer Rivian is still struggling to find a way into profit and announced it’s laying off 10% of its salaried staff. Lucent Motors also said it will ship less than 10,000 EVs this year (lol). Elsewhere, publicly traded solar companies at large continue to struggle, and Meati Foods, a plant-based food company, announced it will cut its workforce by 13%. Link. Link. Link. Link.


Larger funding rounds

🔋 Ascend Elements, based out of Westborough, MA, raised $162M in additional Series D funding to build a large-scale battery recycling and processing plant ($700M in total for their Series D). Just Climate, Clearvision Ventures, and Irongrey invested. More here. (U.S., Industry)

♨️ Antora Energy, based out of Sunnyvale, CA, raised $150M in Series B funding to scale production of its thermal battery energy storage technology. Decarbonization Partners, a JV between BlackRock and Temasek, led. More here. (U.S., Industry)

This deal was first announced in December, but no harm in resurfacing it as it was in the news and worth paying attention to: Google is spinning out its Nest Renew business, which will merge OhmConnect to form a new entity called Renew Home. Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners will also add $100M in investment to build a virtual power plant company. More here. (U.S., Energy)

Medium-sized funding rounds.

🧲 Niron Magnetics, based out of Minneapolis, raised $25M in equity funding to make rare-earth-free permanent magnets. Samsung Ventures led. More here. (U.S., Industry)

🐟 Captain Fresh, based out of Bengaluru, India, raised $25M in Series C funding for its sustainable seafood business. British International Investment, Nekkanti Seafoods Group, and others invested. More here. (India, Food & Agriculture)

💵 AtmosZero, based out of Fort Collins, CO, raised $21M in Series A funding to make electric boilers to decarbonize steam for industrial applications. Engine Ventures and 2150 led. More here. (U.S., Industry)

🌱 Trace Genomics, based out of Ames, Iowa, raised $10.5M in Series B funding for its soil testing kits, which test for microbes, nutrients, and pathogens across dozens of crops. S2G Ventures, Ajax Strategies, and Rabo Ventures led. More here. (U.S., Food & Agriculture) 

💸 Vidyut, based out of Bengaluru, India, raised $10M in Series A funding for its EV financing and vehicle management technologies. 3one4 Capital led. More here. (India, Transportation)

Smaller funding rounds

🔋 Altilium, based out of London, raised ~$9.4M in post-Series A funding from SQM Lithium Ventures for its battery recycling startup. More here. (U.K., Industry)

🧑‍🌾 Varhara, based out of Gurugram, India, raised $8.7M in equity funding for its carbon removal business focused on working with farmers in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Kenya across solutions like avoiding burning crop waste and continuously flooding rice paddies (the latter of which is more methane emissions focused work, really). RTP Global led. More here. (India, Carbon Removal)

🌱 WeedOUT, based out of Ness Ziona, Israel, raised $8.1M in Series A funding for its bioherbicide solutions. Fulcrum Global Capital led. More here. (Israel, Food & Agriculture)

🌞 Hohm Energy, based out of Sandton, South Africa, raised $8M in seed funding for its residential solar startup focused on rural communities. E3 Capital and 4DX Ventures co-led. More here. (South Africa, Energy)

♻️ PlantSwitch, based out of Sanford, NC, raised $8M in equity funding from an unnamed investor for its technology that converts cellulosic waste into compostable plastic resin alternatives. More here. (U.S., Industry)

📊 Novity, based out of San Carlos, CA, raised $7.8M for its predictive-maintenance software targeted at industrial sectors, especially energy and chemical applications. WERU Investment led. More here. (U.S. Industry)

💦 Conservation Labs, based out of Pittsburgh, raised $7.5M in Series A funding for its smart water monitor that helps detect leaks in plumbing systems. RET Ventures led. More here. (U.S., Water)

👚 BlockTexx, based out of Loganholme, Australia, raised $7M in Series B funding for its chemical textile recycling business. Fashion for Good, Artesian, and others invested. More here. (Australia, Industry)

🏠 Eli Technologies, based out of Halifax, Canada, raised $6.8M in seed funding for its software that helps consumers access incentives for home electrification and services. Lowercarbon Capital and Spero Ventures led. More here. (Canada, Built Environment)

⚖️ Climate Policy Radar, based out of London, raised $6.8M in equity funding to build a platform to track and decompose climate change policy and law globally. The Environmental Defense Fund,, and a variety of other foundations invested. More here. (U.K., Policy)

⬇️ Clairity Technology, based out of Culver City, CA, raised $6.8M in seed funding for its carbon removal technology. Initialized Capital and Lowercarbon Capital co-led. More here. (U.S., Carbon Removal)

🔌 Evios, based out of Stewartby, U.K., raised ~$5M in Series A funding for its home EV charger installation business. Beringea invested. More here. (U.K., Transportation)

♻️ Sway, based out of San Francisco, raised $5M in seed funding to make biodegradable plastic alternatives from plants and seaweed. Third Nature Investments led. More here. (U.S., Materials)

🌱 Miruku, based out of Palmerston North, New Zealand, raised $5M in pre-Series A funding to reprogram programming plants to grow dairy proteins and fats. Motion Capital led. More here. (New Zealand, Food & Agriculture)

🛥️ EST-Floattech, based out of Badhoevedorp, Netherlands, raised ~$4.3M in funding for its battery systems designed for maritime applications. Energy Transition Fund Rotterdam led. More here. (Netherlands, Transportation)

🦀 Pacifico Biolabs, based out of Berlin, Germany, raised $3.3M in pre-seed funding for its fermentation startup targeting alternative seafoods. Simon Capital and FoodLabs led. More here. (Germany, Food & Agriculture)

Kvasir Technologies, based out of Søborg, Denmark, raised ~$3.2M in extended seed funding for its sustainable biofuel development business. The Footprint Firm and the Export and Investment Fund of Denmark led. More here. (Denmark, Transportation)

💸 Rock Rabbit, based out of San Francisco, raised $3.1M in seed funding for its software to help manage energy rebates and home electrification incentives. Powerhouse Ventures led. More here (paywall). (U.S., Energy)

🌞 Arnergy, based out of Lagos, Nigeria, raised $3M for its solar sales business. All On led. More here. (Nigeria, Energy)

Prefer, based out of Singapore, raised $2M in equity funding to make coffee bean-free coffee by fermenting upcycled ingredients. Forge Ventures led. More here. (Singapore, Food & Agriculture)

Other funding rounds

Arevon Energy, based out of Scottsdale, AZ, raised $1.1B in debt and tax equity financing to build a solar-plus-storage project in California featuring 374MW of solar and 150MW / 600MWh of battery energy storage. More here. (U.S., Energy)

🔋 Strata Clean Energy, based out of Durham, NC, raised $559M in debt financing to build a 1GWh battery storage project in Phoenix, AZ. More here. (U.S., Energy) 

rPlus Energies, based out of Salt Lake City, will raise up to $460M from Sandbrook Capital for its renewables development business. More here. (U.S., Energy)

💦 Geopura, based out of Nottinghamshire, U.K., raised ~$71M in equity funding for its green hydrogen development business. The UK Infrastructure Bank led. More here. (U.K., Industry)

🔌, based out of London, raised $41M in grant funding from the California Energy Commission to deploy smart EV charging programs in low-income communities and create a virtual power plant. More here. (U.S., Transportation / Energy) 

⬇️ Carbominer, based out of Kyiv, Ukraine, received a ~$1.6M grant from the EIC Accelerator Fund for its DAC business. More here. (Ukraine, Carbon Removal)

🔌 Electric Era Technologies, based out of Seattle, received $1M in grant funding from the Washington State Department of Commerce to deploy three more of its PowerNode™ EV fast charging stations across Washington. More here. (U.S., Transportation)

New funds

💵 Equal Ventures, based out of New York City, raised $100M for its second seed fund as well as $75M for an Opportunity Fund for post-seed rounds. More here. (U.S., Funds)

💰 Overture Climate VC, based out of Los Angeles, raised $60M for its debut fund to invest in early-stage climate companies. More here. (U.S., Funds)

💰 Bluestein Ventures, based out of Chicago, raised $45M for its third fund to invest in proprietary food tech, among other verticals. More here. (U.S., Funds)


(*Special edition*) Normally, I push a podcast every two weeks. But our latest episode was too hot to hold onto. In it, Quincy Lee, the CEO of Electric Era, Ramez Naam, a deeply experienced climate tech & energy analyst, investor, and author, and I dove deep into all things energy & electrification. 

Starting with a focus on mobility and the power sector, we touched on topics as far-reaching as geoengineering, the power of narratives, expectations for decarbonization across all sectors, and calls to action on how to plug in. Take a listen here if it calls to ya.

Here’s a shot from our event Thursday night. C u @ the next one.

Have a great week ahead,

– Nick