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Published Mar 01, 2024
4 mins read

February 2024: Funding Round-Up

Here's what we saw in the world of venture and grant funding for the month of February 2024 (if I'm missing anything, or if you have tips / reports for March, drop me a note !):

  1. AtmosZero uses heat pump technology to replace industrial boilers (industrial heat being a large single digit contributor to US greenhouse gases). They closed a $21MM co-led by Engine Ventures and 2150 and were joined by Constellation Technology Ventures ( read more ). As mentioned below, they also received a Department of Energy grant in late January.
  2. Rock Rabbit is a software platform to help incentive program managers, contractors and homeowners manage the incentive and rebate landscape. They announced a $3.1M seed round led by Powerhouse Ventures, Better Ventures, MUUS Climate Partners, and Kailua Ventures (read more on LinkedIn from Emily Kirsch of Powerhouse Ventures ). I've reached out (as a homeowner, via their website) and have a demo scheduled for next week.
  3. Arch is another company trying to make life for HVAC installers easier. They announced a seed round from Coatue, Floodgate, Gigascale Capital, MCJ Collective and ReGen Ventures. Founder & CEO Phil Krinner wrote about the round here. As we continue to ask the question " Why are we so far behind ?" in heat pump adoption, many are pointing to inefficiencies (and recalcitrance) at the installer level and appear to believe that software can help solve the problem. Let's hope they are correct!
  4. London-based Heat Geek announced in February that back in 2023 they closed on a £3.7million Seed funding found. Their platform and community is trying to accelerate the training / education of the next generation of heat pump installers. They report – as many do – that there is a shortage of properly trained installers and that is the biggest impediment to accelerating adoption. A nice writeup of the company is on the Transition.vc website (the round's lead investor). TriplePoint also joined the round.
  5. Finally, it's worth checking out this list of grants announced by the Department of Energy at the end of January. On the list are the following projects/companies doing interesting things to improve the application and performance of heat pumps. Verbatims below are taken from the DoE announcement:
    1. " Echogen Power Systems and partners aim to develop a pilot‐scale heat pump capable of heating air to over 300°C using an ambient temperature heat source. The system will use a supercritical CO2 cycle driven by a low specific speed centrifugal compressor and a novel high temperature CO2-to-air heat exchanger." $3,000,000 grant.
    2. "The University of Cincinnati and partners aim to develop a highly efficient industrial heat pump prototype using phase change material thermal energy storage, intermediate intercooling, and wet compression technology. The integration of phase change materials (PCM) enables efficient heat storage and recovery, while wet compression technology reduces the need for de-superheating of steam after compression." $1,439,408 grant to Nabil Nassif's lab .
    3. "AtmosZero and partners aim to develop a high-efficiency heat pump system capable of producing steam at temperatures up to 200°C while simultaneously providing cooling or refrigeration for industrial processes at less than 0°C." This $3,197,493 grant adds to the $21MM referenced above.
    4. "The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) and its partners aim to develop and demonstrate a super condenser that can effectively harness the waste heat from 125°C vapor generated during the potato chip frying process [HPR Editor's note: yum!]. The frying process is an energy intensive operation within the food industry. Current heat exchangers struggle to efficiently condense the waste heat due to the presence of oil droplets and volatile organic compounds. The proposed technology can recover and utilize the waste heat from the frying process to replace natural gas-burner heating technologies." $3,000,000
    5. "The University of Texas at Austin aims to develop semi-metallic θ-phase tantalum nitride as a high thermal conductivity semi-metal material, which will enable high heat transfer. This semi-metal is anticipated to yield thermal conductivity that is higher than silver. Also, due to its corrosion resistance, the semi-metal aims to replace silicon carbide for use in high temperature heat exchangers, heat pumps, and heating elements." $1,000,000 grant to Li Shi's lab.
    6. "Rice University and its partners aim to enhance the thermal conductivity and reduce the cost of carbon nanotube-based carbon fibers (CNTF) for improved heat transfer. This material aims to replace aluminum and copper as heat exchanger fins." $1,500,000 grant, in collaboration with startup DexMat .

Did I miss anything? Drop me a tip and I'll include in next month's round-up.

Nate Westheimer
Nate Westheimer Editor, Heat Pump Review
Nate Westheimer is the Editor of Heat Pump Review. He as worked in the tech industry for nearly 20 years, including as a Director of Technical Product Management at Amazon, the CEO of Picturelife, and as the Executive Director of the NY Tech Alliance.
Personal Website

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