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Food waste, waste water and the troubled UK battery industry • TechCrunch

Welcome back, climate technology readers! Just like last week, we have a full slate again, from food waste to wastewater and more. Let’s dive in.

Food is disposed of in a Mill food waste bin.

Image Credits: mill industries

After selling Nest to Google for $3.2 billion, Matt Rogers is no stranger to rapid scaling. But unlike last time, Rogers isn’t interested in selling so quickly. “These are the next 20 years of my life. This isn’t like, build the company in four or five years and sell it to Google. This is a big, long journey,” he told TechCrunch.

Rogers is looking to end food waste, which accounts for 6% to 8% of all greenhouse gas emissions, and his tool for achieving that is the humble kitchen trash can. The Mill Industries bin is streamlined and technically possible, dehydrating and grinding food until it resembles dried coffee grounds. When it’s full, it automatically asks for a box to send the dried leftover food to one of Mill’s branches where it’s processed into chicken feed. How did it get there? That part surprised Rogers the most.

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heavy metal band Pantera performing at the 'Knotfest Colombia 2022'

Image Credits: Guillermo Legaria Schweizer/Getty Images

Industrial plants, from semiconductor factories to car factories, consume surprising amounts of water. What comes out the other end can be challenging to handle and even more challenging to reuse. That is why Membrion has developed a ceramic membrane that can filter out heavy metals such as lead, arsenic and lithium. The startup is $7 million in a Series B round that it hopes will raise another $3 million.

Britishvolt has always been a bit of a gamble, but the start of battery production seems to have completely missed its mark. This week it announced it was going bankrupt, having made little progress on its planned $4.7 billion gigafactory.

The company’s fall mirrors what happened here in the US a little over a decade ago when A123 Systems stumbled and went bankrupt itself. But the British version of the story may not have a happy ending. With A123, the US had time to cover. With global battery supply chains becoming more robust, the UK’s domestic battery industry may never catch up.

MOXIE instrument will be installed on NASA's Perseverance rover.

Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Space programs pride themselves on developing distant technologies that ultimately prove their worth here on Earth. Apollo helped catapult computers and the Space Shuttle did wonders for avionics and materials science. Now it’s the turn of the Mars rover Perseverance.

The MOXIE experiment was built to prove that carbon dioxide on Mars can be converted to oxygen. Chris Graves, who worked on the instrument, thought it could help to use carbon dioxide on Earth, so he started Noon Energy. The company’s carbon-oxygen battery promises to store electricity for a long time at a relatively low cost. The startup announced a $28 million Series A this week.

HVAC technician installing large modern heat pump

Image Credits: Getty Images

Heat pumps and energy retrofits for homes have received a lot of attention due to incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act. That makes it a good time to be sealed. The company predicts how much energy a retrofit will save and calculates installation costs upfront, billing homeowners based on the savings.

For a company that relies so heavily on data, Sealed’s acquisition of Burlington, Vermont-based InfiSense makes sense. Neither company has disclosed the terms of the deal. Sealed plans to offer, although not required, InfiSense sensors to customers to monitor both energy use and indoor air quality.

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