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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Danish startup NitroVolt raises €750K pre-seed to drive green ammonia production

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NitroVolt, a Danish startup, has raised a pre-seed round of €750K led by Swedish venture firm BackingMinds. The funding will support the development of their “Nitrolyzer” unit, enabling cheaper and local production of ammonia using only air, water, and electricity. NitroVolt aims to eliminate the carbon footprint from ammonia production, which currently emits large amounts of CO2. The company plans to scale production by a factor of 1,000 and expand into new markets. BackingMinds invested in NitroVolt due to the company’s innovative approach to addressing a critical concern in agriculture and its potential to significantly reduce carbon emissions globally.

Ammonia is one of the most important chemicals for modern society. 50% of the world’s food production relies on it and without ammonia, half the world’s population – 4bn people – would not be alive. However, current ammonia production methods emit 500 Mt CO2 / year, eq. of 2% of global CO2 emission, which is on par with the entire aviation industry and 18.5x larger than the entire yearly CO2 emission of all Nordic countries.

The ammonia industry cannot keep polluting, and the whole industry is under huge pressure to transition towards greener production methods. The industry must reduce its emissions by 37% by 2030 and by 96% by 2050. Add in a three-fold demand increase for low-emission ammonia by 2050, the industry will require large investments in terms of capacity and CO2 handling infrastructure, estimated at $2.6 trillion, equivalent to $36bn annually.

Russia is today the world’s largest exporter of ammonia, followed by China and the Middle East, which in today’s geopolitical environment creates a demand for local + green ammonia production. Countries are creating incentives for local production in order to ensure food security. Food security was challenged during the Ukraine/Russia conflict, where price of ammonia saw an increase with 650%, putting pressure on food prices and making the global food supply insecure.

This is where NitroVolt comes in and where the company is showing very promising results. In an industry where green alternatives are needed and very few solutions have proven viable, the NitroVolt team is working towards a solution that will produce green ammonia directly at the point-of-use; at the farm. The product will be a container-sized system, combining only air, water, and renewable electricity. NitroVolt’s solution totally removes fossil fuels from the production process, making their ammonia 100% renewable, carbon-free, and competitive with current black ammonia prices on the market.

“Our technology makes it possible to produce ammonia locally and puts the end user in control of the production. This means that the production becomes resilient to supply chain volatility and green at the same time – something that doesn’t exist on the market today”, says Suzanne Zamany Andersen, CEO & Co-founder of NitroVolt.

“With the new funding, we’re moving out of the university and hiring the competencies we need to scale our technology. During 2024, we expect to increase our green ammonia output production by a factor of 1,000!”, says Mattia Saccoccio, CTO & Co-founder of NitroVolt.

“NitroVolt caught our attention as we’ve been actively seeking green alternatives for fertilisers for over two years. Their groundbreaking solution targets 100% renewable, carbon-free ammonia, addressing a critical concern in agriculture. We seek companies like NitroVolt that tackle global challenges head-on, aligning perfectly with our mission for significant carbon emission reduction globally “, says Susanne Najafi, Founding Partner at BackingMinds.

“As the world transitions away from fossil fuels, ammonia production is set to go through a tectonic shift. NitroVolt’s unique technology is in a great position to take advantage of the opportunity and we’re incredibly excited to partner up with Suzanne and Mattia on this journey”, says Jasenko Hadzic, Principal at BackingMinds.

Suzanne Zamany Andersen (CEO) and Mattia Saccoccio (CTO) officially spun-out their technology from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) in July 2023 after seeing consistent positive results in the process of scaling their system, built upon 7 years of extensive research within the field of electrochemical ammonia synthesis. The original research project started at the department of Physics, DTU, where Suzanne was hired as a Ph.D. student in 2017, and together with the scientific team, was involved in the discovery of the process. Her extensive scientific experience led to various breakthroughs and patents for the process.

Mattia joined the project as a Postdoc in 2019, with a focus on upscaling, and has engineered the flow system necessary for commercial application. Suzanne and Mattia joined the Breakthrough Energy Fellows program as part of the third cohort in September 2023 to receive support to take their technology to the next level, which includes moving into their own laboratories and building a pilot unit electrochemical stack. The program supports innovators at the earliest stages of climate tech development as ideas transition to technologies and projects become companies.

Click to read more funding news.

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Nurcin Metingil
Nurcin Metingil
A permanent student, a passionate first reader and nowadays doing master’s degree in Publishing Management. Beside these, I am up for games! I have been playing games since I was 6. Now, I am whispering "Business. Business. Numbers. Is this working?"

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