October 20, 2022
Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Hello, Protocol Climate friends. We hope you’re having a good day. Surely it’s better than Liz Truss’ at least. Today, we’re exploring the EU’s crypto winter and green hydrogen. Then, we’ll look at the methane emissions of rotting lettuce. Sorry, wait. We’re being informed that’s not “tech” enough. Well, anyway, the other stuff is, so dive in!
You thought crypto winter was bad? Try the real, potentially harsh winter about to hit Europe. Officials believe shutting down a key segment of the crypto industry could be one solution to the energy crisis.
A crypto mining crackdown could conserve precious gas supplies. The European Commission suggested that EU members should take that measure to provide relief to residential customers during times of peak energy demand.
Targeting the crypto mining industry could make a lot of sense. The EU needs to cut gas use now, all while not foisting a heavy burden onto residential users. And a crypto mining crackdown could pay immediate returns.
Crypto mining’s energy footprint has been well established. That’s particularly true for proof-of-work mining — which is used by bitcoin, the most popular crypto ecosystem. The European Commission called it “outdated.”
The report also cited the need for retiring proof of work in the long term, pointing to Ethereum’s recent Merge as a path forward. The network moved from proof of work to proof of stake, slashing energy consumption by 99%. The Commission said “we need to go the extra mile for this to happen,” and has a number of moves in place to do so. But first things first could be cutting energy use now so the lights and heat stay on this winter.— Benjamin Pimentel
The war in Ukraine has shifted the cost calculation for hydrogen production. The conflict has resulted in soaring gas prices, accelerating investments in green hydrogen made with renewables. The fledgling industry is now “decades ahead of pre-war projections,” according to a new analysis by the think tank Carbon Tracker.
Governments and investors from 25 countries have committed $73 billion to green hydrogen since the war began. The biggest investments come from the combined public and private sectors of Germany ($10.4 billion), Morocco ($9.7 billion), and the U.S. ($9.5 billion). In comparison, the market was valued at just $1 billion last year.
That’s a game-changer for the industry. Green hydrogen is still a fairly nascent technology, but the uncertain supply of methane gas — which is commonly used to create hydrogen — from Russia could put the green hydrogen industry and technology way ahead of schedule.
Governments can foster an even faster green hydrogen evolution. Money isn’t the only way to give the fuel a boost. With the right incentives in place, Carbon Tracker found the cost of green hydrogen could be “one of the cheapest forms of energy” available by 2030.
Speeding up green hydrogen development doesn’t mean the fuel is a savior. Creating it requires renewable energy, something we don’t have a surplus of right now, as well as copious amounts of freshwater. While industries like steel, cement, and shipping could benefit from green hydrogen given the lack of alternatives outside fossil fuels, governments also need to ensure they don’t overcommit to hydrogen when other carbon-free resources are readily available.
— Lisa Martine Jenkins
Ever since the pandemic put the evolution of everything in hyperdrive, marketers realized the old categories of B2B, B2C, and B2B2C were obsolete. Starting in 2020, our profession embraced the Business to People (B2P) paradigm. Business, fundamentally, is relationships among people. Even in the biggest enterprises, those making momentous decisions are still people.
Nourish Ingredients, which makes synthetic fats and oils for alternative proteins without relying on animal products, raised $28.6 million in series A funding, led by Horizons Ventures.
The German microgrid company Solarizeraised $4.2 million in seed funding, led by Point Nine.
The Miami-based Freebee provides users with free electric rides funded by local businesses and governments. The startup raised $8 million in its series A funding round. BP Ventures (yes, that BP) led the round.
The Indonesian startup Waste4Change aims to reduce how much of the country’s waste ends up in landfills. The company raised $5 million in its series A round, co-led by AC Ventures and PT Barito Mitra Investama.
The corporate sustainability and emissions tracking platform GreenPlacesraised $4 million in its seed funding round, led by Felicis.
In conjunction with its release of a new weather-prediction platform, the AI-for-climate-modeling startup Jua announced that it raised $2.5 million in seed funding, led by Promus Ventures.
The mushroom leather company MycoWorks secured an investment of an undisclosed amount from GM Ventures — the automaker’s investment vehicle — as a part of a collaboration to develop a material that can be used in car interiors.
New VC fund just dropped: Propeller is launching its first $100 million fund, which will invest in companies working at the ocean-climate nexus.
Lowercarbon Capitalannounced that it raised $250 million for a new fusion energy-focused fund, dubbed Lowercarbon Q>1.
Some kinda good news if you squint. Carbon dioxide emissions grew just 1% this year. Which is good and all, but we kind of need them to go in the opposite direction. Fast.
The FTC is asking if you’d like to know how to fix your dryer. No, it’s not just out of the kindness of the agency’s heart. It’s taking comments on whether energy-efficiency labels should come with repair instructions in order to save energy and reduce e-waste.
More and more countries are crossing clean energy tipping points. Bloomberg tallied that there are 87 of them, in fact.
Bill Gates is all-in on sustainable aviation fuel. Breakthrough Energy gave a $50 million grant to LanzaJet to create a plant capable of making SAF that costs the same as jet fuel.
Tide and river power got a boost. The Department of Energy set aside $35 million for two largely untapped sources of renewable energy. That cash is a relative drop in the ocean, though. (Water joke, please clap.)
Björk is climate tech. That’s really all there is to say about that.
The pandemic has been a global event that, somewhat paradoxically, put an intense spotlight on the personal. In a marketing context, it underlined the centrality of supporting customers’ purpose – personal and organizational – and the need to serve the customers’ customer hierarchy of needs as those needs change over time.
Thanks for reading! As ever, you can send any and all feedback and/or pictures of lettuce to firstname.lastname@example.org. See you next week!