Energy transition technology startups raise record funds


Australian clean energy tech companies Infravision, Sicona, and Renewable Metals have each attracted multi-million dollar early-stage capital to assist in the testing, research, and development of energy transition solutions.

Each are alumni of climate tech startup accelerator EnergyLab programs which connects participants to a collective of startup and founder alumni, mentors, and angel investors who play a role in propelling the growth of climate tech startups.

Queensland-headquartered Infravision, which also has offices in United States and was a participant in EnergyLab’s 2020 Scaleup and 2021 Climate Solutions Accelerator programs, raised more than $36 million (USD 23 million) from investors to develop drone-enabled line stringing services for transmission, distribution, and emergency response.

Infravision Chief Executive Officer Cameron Van Der Bert said it is estimated that 16 million kilometres of new power lines are required globally by 2030 to reach net-zero targets and funding helps the company service electric utilities and their construction partners to build grid capacity and accelerate the transition to a clean, secure energy future.

“Startups represent the heart of innovation, and accelerators play an important role in fostering growth by providing opportunities for research and development and the continuous improvements of technology solutions, and we’re grateful for the support from EnergyLab which has helped us get to where we are today,” he said.

Wollongong-based Battery designer Sicona was a participant in EnergyLab’s 2023 Supercharge Australia Innovation Challenge, then secured $22 million in Series A funding to help grow capacity in the US over 2023-24 where demand for anode materials is estimated to exceed 1,200 GWh by 2030.

A company statement said Sicona is advancing engineering studies, site selection and customer qualification for a 20 ktpa (~200 GWh) silicon-carbon production plant starting with 5 kpta (~50 GWh) in phase 1.

The commercial-scale plant will be built in the US to serve customers in that market with Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) compliant materials supply.

West Australian battery recycling company Renewable Metals attracted an $8 million Climate Tech Fund through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, managed by Virescent Ventures and backed by Investible and the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment.

The investment supports the development of a pilot plant in Perth and a larger-scale demonstration plant capable of processing up to 1,500 tonnes of battery waste annually.

CSIRO estimates the battery recycling industry could help recover up to $3.1 billion of valuable battery materials and metals, which Renewable Metals technology recovers, including lithium, nickel, cobalt, copper, and manganese for reuse,

EnergyLab said access to early-stage capital is a major challenge for climate tech startups, but its support and networks offer crucial steps toward connecting with investors and receiving funding.

It’s Australian and international climate tech startups collectively, raised a record-breaking $289 million in 2023.

EnergyLab Chief Executive Megan Fisher said in the aim is to support even more high-potential founders and startups on their journey to launch and scale global climate tech companies.

“Our ongoing mission is to foster an innovation ecosystem centred on the climate tech revolution and one that prioritises startup and business success, building economic opportunities and environmental stewardship.”

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