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Breakthrough Energy Ventures Backs Blue World Technologies

Blue World Technologies and Breakthrough Energy Ventures

Published Aug 30, 2022 12:21 PM by The Maritime Executive

Today Blue World Technologies announced that the Bill Gates-founded Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) enters as an investor in Blue World Technologies alongside Vaekstfonden (The Sovereign Investment Fund of Denmark), DEUTZ AG, and existing investors who invested back in December 2021 to complete the company’s €37 million series B round. In connection with the investment from Breakthrough Energy Ventures – partly funded by Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Breakthrough Energy Ventures-Europe (BEV-E) – Blue World Technologies welcomes Allegra Kowalewski-Ferreira, a highly skilled and experienced investment professional to their Board of Directors.

The series B funds will be used for scaling the fuel cell production as well as investing in the development of methanol-driven fuel cell applications for the maritime sector. 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”, says Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Anders Korsgaard, from Blue World Technologies.

We are facing a global climate crisis, and the only way out is to reach net-zero CO2 emissions. In 2018, Anders Korsgaard, Mads Bang, and Mads Friis Jensen founded Blue World Technologies to contribute to this mission, and since then, the company has worked determinedly on industrialising 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 utilisation of renewable e-fuels such as methanol.

“Maritime shipping is a critical component of our global economy, but it contributes 1 billion metric tons of carbon emissions each year,” said Carmichael Roberts of Breakthrough Energy Ventures. “We see a real opportunity in bringing methanol fuel cells to the maritime sector as a very promising avenue for reaching net-zero CO2 emission 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.”

“On the quest to reaching 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”, explains Anders Korsgaard and continues: “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 for methanol as a fuel, and therefore we also see a huge potential in entering the market.”

"Maritime transport is considered one of the hard to abate sectors and represents 3-4% of EU’s total CO2 emissions,” said Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. “This investment by Breakthrough Energy Ventures-Europe represents a significant step in realising the emission reduction potential and is fully in line with EU’s policy of boosting marine renewable and low-carbon fuels. 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.”

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. It was established to support Europe's best clean energy entrepreneurs whose solutions can deliver significant and lasting reductions in greenhouse gas emissions – Blue World Technologies and this investment in the company is an example of that.

European Investment Bank Vice-President Christian Kettel Thomsen said: “To solve the climate crisis, we need new innovative technologies in all areas of the economy. We welcome the investment by Breakthrough Energy Ventures-Europe in Blue World Technologies to develop methanol-driven fuel cell applications for the maritime sector. Decarbonising 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.” 

One of the early investors Vaekstfonden is delighted to welcome Breakthrough Energy Ventures:

”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 co-investor”, says Christian Winther, Partner in Vaekstfonden and board member in Blue World Technologies and continues: “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.”

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. With an annual CO2 reduction potential of 1.8 Gt in 2050, new technologies and fuels are essential. 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. 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.

The products and services herein described in this press release are not endorsed by The Maritime Executive.