Danish methanol fuel cell (MFC) technology developer and manufacturer, Blue World Technologies ApS has announced that the Bill Gates-founded Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) enters as an investor thereby completing the firm's EUR 37 million series B funding round.
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The investment, the value of which has not been disclosed, is from both Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) and Breakthrough Energy Ventures-Europe (BEV-E).
Breakthrough Energy Ventures-Europe was established by the European Commission, the European Investment Bank (EIB), and Breakthrough Energy Ventures to “invest in innovative European companies and bring radically new clean energy technologies to the market.”
BEV-E was established to support Europe’s best clean energy entrepreneurs whose solutions can deliver “significant and lasting” reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
To solve the climate crisis, we need new innovative technologies in all areas of the economy, said Christian Kettel Thomsen, VP of EIB.
In conjunction with the investment, Allegra Kowalewski-Ferreira, a “highly skilled and experienced investment professional”, joins the Blue World Technologies Board of Directors.
Breakthrough Energy Ventures joins Vaekstfonden (The Sovereign Investment Fund of Denmark), DEUTZ AG, and existing investors who invested back in December 2021.
Being one of the early investors in Blue World Technologies, Vaekstfonden, is delighted to welcome one of the world’s leading climate impact investors – Breakthrough Energy Ventures – as a co-investor, commented Christian Winther, Partner in Vaekstfonden and Board Member in Blue World Technologies.
They will strengthen the global perspectives of climate impact even further. And we look forward to seeing our collaboration unfold in the years to come, Christian Winther added.
Scale production capacity
The series B funds will be used for scaling fuel cell production as well as investing in the development of methanol-driven fuel cell applications for the maritime sector.
We welcome the investment by Breakthrough Energy Ventures-Europe in Blue World Technologies to develop methanol-driven fuel cell applications for the maritime sector. Decarbonizing maritime transport is an important part of bringing global emissions down and for the EIB this is a key priority under its new Transport Lending Policy which was announced last month, Christian Kettel Thomsen said.
In late 2021, the company insourced all the production of the core fuel cell components and is currently in pre-series production.
Later this year, Blue World Technologies will launch series production and with further scaling, the company expects to reach a production capacity of 500 MW within a couple of years.
Being a world-leading venture fund within innovation and green technologies, we are honoured to bring Breakthrough Energy Ventures on board as a shareholder. It is in the DNA of both of us to set ambitious goals to make a difference in the world and we look forward to pursuing these goals together, commented Anders Korsgaard Co-founder and CEO of Blue World Technologies.
A versatile methanol technology
In 2018, Anders Korsgaard, Mads Bang, and Mads Friis Jensen founded Blue World Technologies, and since then, the company has worked determinedly on industrializing the methanol fuel cell technology through R&D and large-scale production.
The fuel cells act as an alternative to fossil-based combustion engines, and with high energy conversion, the methanol fuel cells enable a cost-efficient utilization of renewable e-fuels such as methanol.
On the quest to reach net-zero CO2 emissions, one of our greatest contributions will be within the maritime sector, where our fuel cells can play a significant role. Initially as a replacement of fossil-based auxiliary power units, and in longer-term, also for driving the propulsion, said Anders Korsgaard.
Focus on marine applications
One of the largest challenges in ensuring a net-zero future lies within the maritime sector, where direct electrification is not an option due to operational requirements.
From the very beginning, the maritime sector has been a central topic in our dialogue with Breakthrough Energy Ventures, which goes well in hand with the sector’s growing interest in methanol as a fuel, and therefore we also see a huge potential in entering the market, Anders Korsgaard revealed.
Maritime shipping is a critical component of our global economy, but it contributes 1 billion metric tonnes of carbon emissions each year, said Carmichael Roberts of Breakthrough Energy Ventures.
With an annual carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction potential of 1.8 Gt in 2050, new technologies and fuels are essential.
Maritime transport is considered one of the hard to abate sectors and represents 3-4 percent of the EU’s total CO2 emissions. This investment by Breakthrough Energy Ventures-Europe represents a significant step in realizing the emission reduction potential and is fully in line with the EU’s policy of boosting marine renewable and low-carbon fuels, said Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education, and Youth.
Especially within the last year, the use of renewable methanol as shipping fuel has turned into a global trend, with methanol-driven vessels, cruise ships, and large ocean-going container ships currently being built.
I’m glad to see Commission’s pilot investment in Breakthrough Energy Ventures-Europe bearing fruit and I welcome further innovative, ground-breaking investments in the near future, Commissioner Mariya Gabriel said.
The fuel cell systems from Blue World Technologies enable a green, CO2-neutral operation with zero particle outlet.
As a flexible power solution, the system can be used for auxiliary power, for smaller gensets or larger power units in the megawatt range, or for propulsion depending on ship type and customer needs.
We see a real opportunity in bringing methanol fuel cells to the maritime sector as a very promising avenue for reaching net-zero CO2 emissions quickly. Blue World Technologies has found a unique way to offer marine transportation operators a climate-friendly solution with an attractive total cost of ownership, ended Carmichael Roberts.