Sweetch Energy, a European company that pioneers advanced nanotechnology and eco-material science to harness osmotic energy, has announced that it has secured EUR 5.2 million to initiate its industrialisation phase and develop a first full-scale prototype. Osmotic energy represents a breakthrough in renewable energy as a non-intermittent and abundant source of clean electricity.
The investment round was supported by a group of deeptech and cleantech investors with a strong track record in backing highly disruptive industrial companies such as Ÿnsect, Meatable or McPhy Energy. It was led by new investor Future Positive Capital and co-led by existing investors Demeter and Go Capital. Other investors such as Dominique Gaillard, co-founder of Ardian, and Fabio Ferrari, founder of Symbio, one of Europe’s pioneers in the hydrogen industry, also participated. ADEME, the French environmental and energy management agency, provided additional funding as well.
Osmotic energy represents a revolutionary addition to existing renewable energy technologies. Naturally available from the difference in the salt concentration when river fresh water meets sea water, osmotic power provides a non-intermittent and abundant source of clean energy. Unlike wind or solar energies, and similarly to hydropower, it can deliver electricity continuously, and is easily dispatchable to meet the grid baseload power requirements. With an estimated 27,000 terawatt-hours liberated every year in deltas and estuaries around the world – equivalent to today’s global electricity demand – osmotic energy offers an abundant, but so far untapped, clean energy source.
Sweetch Energy’s proprietary system combines recent breakthroughs in nanofluidic sciences with low-cost eco-friendly materials to create next-generation membranes, coupled with specifically engineered electrodes and innovative cell designs. The technology yields unrivalled performances in the field and can harness osmotic energy with a level of cost-efficiency never achieved before, opening the door to large-scale deployment of osmotic energy as a competitive market solution.
Lyderic Bocquet, CNRS researcher, director of the Institut Pierre-Gilles de Gennes (PSL University) and one of world’s foremost authorities on nanofluidics, is the original inventor of nano osmotic diffusion and one of the company’s co-founders. He states, “Sweetch Energy’s engineering team has managed to convert in a record-time the results of our fundamental research into a complete system ready to be scaled up. This is a clear demonstration of how the alliance of academic research and private entrepreneurship can lead to new solutions to fight climate change.”
Nicolas Heuzé, CEO and co-founder of Sweetch Energy, states, “After 3 years of laboratory research successfully validating our technology, this new funding brings Sweetch Energy the resources necessary to initiate our industrialisation phase. This includes expanding our engineering team, developing manufacturing capacities and building a first full-scale prototype within the next 3 years. We are currently exploring partnerships to identify the ideal location to install our prototype. Our ambition is to pioneer a new era for the osmotic energy industry. Our next-generation membrane technology, based on state-of-the-science nanotechnology, will be its key enabler.”
Leading the investment, Alexandre Terrien, co-founder at Future Positive Capital and newly appointed member of the Sweetch Energy Board, says, “Our mission is to back the sharpest and most ambitious minds that use advanced technologies to bring solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. The Sweetch team is truly exceptional in that regard – led by three complementary co-founders who previously built and sold companies in complex industries, supported by a founding scientist who is globally recognised for his work. This company has the potential to finally make osmotic energy a reality.”
Olivier Bordelanne, Partner at Demeter adds, “We are pleased to continue our support for Sweetch Energy and welcome new investors to our side to help the company industrialise and commercialise its technology, which is one of the most disruptive and most promising we have recently financed in the clean energy sector.”