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Sweetch Energy

Providing fully renewable baseload energy

Sweetch Energy pushes the frontiers of science to develop truly renewable, baseload and competitive electricity.

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Their mission
Apply nanotechnology breakthroughs to to combat climate change.
Accelerating Sustainable Energy
Rennes, France

Their UVP

Sweetch Energy developed groundbreaking membranes to produce osmotic energy – the energy available from the natural difference in the salt concentration between seawater and freshwater. Their technology efficiently harnesses this chemical potential by converting the ionic current into electrons. True continuous (i.e. baseload), predictable, low footprint electricity, with none of the rare earth requirements.
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Grand challenge

Accelerating Sustainable Energy

of global greenhouse gas emissions result from burning fossil fuels for energy
demand for energy could double or triple by 2050 as the global population increases to 9.7 billion and more people move into the middle class

75% of global greenhouse gas emissions result from burning fossil fuels for energy. As the global population increases to 9.7 billion and more people move into the middle class, energy demand is set to increase. It could double or triple by 2050, all while we attempt to decarbonize our grid and industrial processes. In that context, it’s clear that the single most important thing we must do to prevent a climate emergency is how to power our world with reliable low-carbon (or no-carbon!) sources of energy.

While decades of investment have led the price of solar and wind energy to plummet, these sources have well-known shortcomings. Seasonal intermittency combined with prohibitively expensive storage means a reliable grid could always require another form of base-load production. Geographical weather constraints prevent many countries from reaping their benefits. Where there’s abundant wind and sun, installation of utility-level parks is often far from cities requiring additional expensive transmission and distribution lines. Centralized and outdated grid infrastructure means we cannot make the most of the renewables we produce.

As we seek to reach our climate goals and build a more sustainable world, developing new renewable energy sources is necessary.

Why did we invest?

20x more powerful, 10x cheaper

Sweetch founders
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Nicolas Heuzé, CEO
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Bruno Mottet, CTO
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Pascal Le Melinaire, Chairman

We have long been curious about the unexplored potential of oceans. When we were introduced to Sweetch Energy, we saw this line of inquiry intersect with water’s immense potential as a renewable power source.

We have seen a handful of companies trying to harness the ocean’s mechanical energy through ocean, tidal, or underwater turbines. Still, very few have attempted to collect the ocean’s “osmotic energy” – the energy that is naturally available from the difference in the salt concentration when fresh river water meets sea water.

Unlike other renewable energy sources, osmotic energy can be considered base-load – it’s continuous and predictable. In short, it’s potentially a groundbreaking addition to our global energy mix. Although tests in labs around the world had proved promising, none of the commercial experiments had succeeded. The power density of membranes — the core of the system — was insufficient to generate electricity at a competitive price.

Sweetch Energy leveraged breakthroughs in nanotechnologies to develop what they call “nano-osmotic diffusion” — whereby immense osmotically-induced electrical currents are generated by salinity gradients at the nanometric scale, exceeding incumbent technologies by two orders of magnitude. After spending a few years refining the technology in the lab – producing a membrane that is 20x more powerful and 10x cheaper than existing technologies – Sweetch Energy could project building osmotic energy systems that are cost-competitive with other sources of renewable energy.

This was made possible by their team of deeply complementary, driven, and experienced leaders, who together bring decades of experience operating in complex and regulated industries, and have successfully built and exited companies.

Sweetch Energy has now moved from the lab to the real world, and has signed commercial agreements with some of the world’s largest energy producers to locate and develop the world’s first osmotic power plants.

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