Looking to decarbonize the metal industry, Bill Gates-backed Boston Metal raises $50 million – TechCrunch

Steel production accounts for about 8 percent of emissions contributing to global climate change. It is one of the industries that sits at the foundation of the modern economy and is the most resistant to decarbonization.

As countries around the world found a way to remove carbon from the metals business, reducing its environmental footprint and adopting more sustainable methods of production would be the most significant contribution to that effort.

A startup that is developing a new technology to solve this problem Boston metal. Earlier Bill Gates supported the Breakthrough Energy Ventures Fund, the new company raised nearly $ 50 million in a $ 60 million financing round to expand its operations, According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The global steel industry may be at risk of about 14 percent of its potential value if the business cannot reduce its environmental impact, According to studies cited by consulting firm McKinsey & Company

Boston metal, Which previously raised $ 20 million back in 2019, uses a process called molten oxide electrolysis (“MOE”) to make steel alloys – and ultimately emission-free steel. The first close of funding actually came in December 2018 – two years before the most recent financing round, according to the company’s chief executive officer, Tedu Carneiro.

Over the years as the company raised its final round, Boston Metal has grown from 8 employees to one employee, now close to 50 in number. The Woburn, Mass.-based company is also able to continuously operate its three pilot lines making metal alloys. A month for more than a month.

And while the steel program remains the ultimate goal, the company is rapidly moving towards commercialization with its alloy program, as it does not rely on traditional infrastructure according to Carneiro.

Boston Metal’s technology fundamentally identifies an industry whose technology hasn’t changed much since the Iron Age in 1200 BCE, Carneiro said.

Ultimately the goal is to serve as a technology developer licensing its technology and selling components to steel manufacturers or engineering companies that will eventually make steel.

For Boston Metal, the next steps on the product roadmap are clear. The company expressed a desire to operate a semi-industrial cell line in Woburn, Mass. By the end of 2022 and hope to own and run its first demonstration plant by 2024 or 2025. “At that point we’ll be able to commercialize the technology,” Carneiro said.

Previous investors of the company include Breakthrough Energy Enterprise, Skip Ventures, and the MIT-backed “hard-tech” investment firm, The engine. All to invest in the latest infusion of cash in the company with Devonshire Investors, a financial services giant, a private investment firm affiliated with Fidelity’s parent company FMR, which is co-leading the deal with Shiva Capital. Came back , Unknown investor.

As a result of its investment, Shyam Kamadoloi will take a seat on the company’s board, according to filings with the SEC.

MOE takes metals in their crude oxide form and turns them into molten metal products. Invented at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and based on research by MIT Professor Donald Sadowe, Boston Metal makes molten oxide that is tailored to a specific feedstock and product. Electrons are used to melt the soup and reduce the target oxide. The bottom of a cell is tapped by drilling into the cell using a process adapted from a pure metal pool and a blast furnace. The tap hole is plugged and then the process continues.

One of the benefits of technology, according to the company, is its scalability. As producers need to make more alloys, they can increase production capacity.

“Molten oxide electrolysis is a platform technology that can produce a wide range of metals and alloys, but our first industrial deployment will target ferraloys on the route to our ultimate goal of steel,” said Carneiro, the company Chief Executive Officer, iNa announced a $ 20 million financing of the company in 2019. “Steel is one of the major sectors of modern society, but steel production today produces more than two gigatons of CO2. The same fundamental method for the production of steel has been used for millennia, but Boston Metal is breaking that paradigm by replacing it with electrons. “

Nothing short of technology Bill Gates Himself underlined the importance of decarbonization of the metal business.

Boston metal Is working to make steel using electricity instead of coal, and is working to make it equally strong and cheap, “Gates wrote in his blog, GatesNotes. Although Gates had a warning. “Of course, electrification only helps reduce emissions if it uses clean power, which is another reason why achieving it is so important Zero carbon power,” She wrote.