Viridos, Inc. has just secured a $25M Series A equity investment to help fund the company’s research and development efforts. These efforts aim to increase algae oil productivity further to reach commercially deployable levels. Viridos is a leading algae biofuel company aiming to create sustainable, low-carbon, algae-based jet and diesel fuel. With this funding, Viridos is well-positioned to continue its mission of developing scalable and sustainable algae oil production methods. Series A was led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) and joined by Chevron U.S.A. Inc. and United Airlines Ventures.
Viridos has already made significant strides in bioengineering microalgae, achieving seven times the oil productivity of wild algae. This is a significant breakthrough in the industry. It sets the stage for scalable and sustainable algae oil production, poised to become the feedstock of choice for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and renewable diesel (RD). With a 70% reduced carbon footprint, SAF and RD made from Viridos algae oil are expected to be the key to reducing carbon emissions from flying. In addition, the funding demonstrates the growing interest in sustainable fuel alternatives that can reduce carbon emissions from the aviation industry. “By establishing production sites to grow Viridos-engineered microalgae in salt water, we are creating the foundation for a biofuel future that moves away from fossil fuels without competing for precious resources such as fresh water and arable land. We are excited to have support from BEV, the leading energy transition venture capital fund, Chevron, and United Airlines. Together we can build the ecosystem needed to bring algae biofuels to the market,” said Oliver Fetzer, Viridos Chief Executive Officer.
“SAF is proven, scalable, and the best tool we have to reduce our carbon emissions from flying, but we face a significant shortage of available feedstock,” said United Airlines Ventures President Mike Leskinen.
Biofuels: Hype or Hope?
Despite the vast potential applications and total addressable market, many biofuel projects have yet to break even. Recent events have highlighted this, as Exxon Mobil Corp recently walked away from its landmark biofuel project and slashed support for Viridos Inc., leading to significant layoffs. In addition, Bloomberg reported that Exxon had also cut funding for other algae farming projects, such as the Colorado School of Mines, without providing specific reasons. This sudden shift in focus from Exxon raises questions about the future of algae-based biofuels and the industry’s ability to attract investment and support. One major challenge is the cost of production, as current methods are still relatively expensive. Another challenge is the scalability of production, as it can be difficult to maintain large-scale algae farms without compromising efficiency. Additionally, there is still a lack of infrastructure for the distribution and use of algae-based biofuels. Finally, concerns have been raised about the potential environmental impact of large-scale algae farming, such as the potential for algal blooms and other ecosystem disruptions. Despite these challenges, many researchers and companies continue to invest in algae-based biofuels, and progress is being made toward addressing these obstacles and bringing this promising technology to fruition.
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