Meet the next wave of climate change fighting startups accelerated by Third Derivative

Updated: Nov 6

Third Derivative, the non-profit technology accelerator co-founded by the clean energy think-tank and consulting firm, Rocky Mountain Institute, and the sustainable startup network and support organization, New Energy Nexus, has just unveiled its latest cohort.

Running the gamut from building material innovations to efficient heating and cooling systems, energy generation, fuel production, and carbon capture, these startups are the next wave of innovation tackling the climate emergency.

Here’s a rundown of what’s next for climate tech.

CleanFiber: The company delivers carbon-negative building insulation that outperforms conventional products, without added costs. Third Derivative thinks the company’s product could lower the embodied carbon footprint of buildings by replacing traditional insulation materials with cellulose-based insulation made from recycled cardboard.

Shimmer Industries: Developing software for commercial scale lighting design that can reduce electricity usage by up to 85% means that if Shimmer Industries is successful, the company could make a huge dent in energy waste from buildings.

Transaera: With a mission to transform air conditioning to make it less destructive to the planet, Transaera is using novel materials developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to build a better air conditioner. The company slashes electricity consumption in air conditioners by using its novel material to filter moisture out of the air.

Compact Membrane Systems: Developing a membrane technology that can capture and reduce greenhouse gas emissions at a lower cost that existing systems is the goal for Compact Membrane. The company estimates that their membranes can enable capture and sequestration at low costs and at gigaton scales.

Project Vesta: This non-profit aims to capture and sequester carbon dioxide by grinding up CO2-capturing minerals and distributing them on coastal beaches. From the project’s own site: the process aims to accelerate the natural chemical weathering of the mineral olivine by spreading large amounts of ground olivine-containing rock onto coastlines where it can dissolve in seawater, thereby increasing the rate of CO2 absorption by the ocean. The organization thinks the technology could also reverse ocean acidification.

Quanterra: The company has developed software and services to provide real-time measurements of carbon sequestration and ecosystem health. It’s a technology that has immediate applications in emerging sequestration markets like soil-based carbon capture, because measuring and verifying sequestered carbon in soil is a huge obstacle to adoption.

BasiGo: This startup, based in Nairobi sells low-cost electric buses to transit company operators in the country. Buses are the main mode of transportation in East Africa, according to Third Derivative, and the current diesel-powered options are a climate problem that needs to be addressed. By combining innovative financing with new bus technology, BasiGo hopes to convert fleets.

Mojo Green: Mojo Green is building charging infrastructure for businesses, homes and fleets throughout India. The company is hoping to address India’s electric vehicle charging bottlenecks and reduce the cost and complexity of battery installations throughout the country.

Gaiascope: Predicting demand for the energy grid is only going to become more important as more variable renewable power comes online. Companies like Gaiascope, which has built analytics software for forecasting wholesale electricity prices to enable better visibility into how to build out and operate low or zero-carbon assets.

Utvyakta Solutions: This Indian company has developed software for monitoring and controlling the operations of air compressors. It’s a tool that could reduce carbon emissions in industrial operations by as much as 15% through reducing energy consumption and maintenance costs.

E️nchi Corp: This Hanover, NH-based company is trying to bring biofuels back thanks to technology salvaged from the sell-off of intellectual property from Mascoma (one of the high flying companies from the first cleantech boom). Enchi’s pitch is a one-pot cellulosic bioethanol technology that simplifies production by avoiding the need for pre-treatment or processing.

Versogen: Put simply, Versogen is driving down the cost of Hydrogen production with commercially proven exchange membranes that can ensure the billions of dollars spent on infrastructure will have inexpensive, green gas flowing through their pipes.

Daanaa Resolution: When it comes to moving power in devices, size matters. That’s why Daanaa is so compelling to Third Derivative. The company’s new wireless power semiconductors can help manufacturers overcome energy challenges that constrained hardware by enabling the safe and efficient transfer of energy. The company’s first applications will be on improving the efficiency and usability of solar photovoltaics, batteries and electric vehicle charging.

Eavor Technologies: Eavor’s got a closed-loop technology to tap geothermal power and make it available to more people in more places as a baseload and dispatchable clean source for energy and heat. The company’s technology solves one of the major problems with the energy transition which is the variability of power production from wind and solar energy.

XL Batteries: Long duration energy storage is another key to unlocking ubiquitous renewable energy development and XL Batteries purportedly has a new way to make sure that key fits. Third Derivative cited the company’s novel chemistry for flow batteries which can reduce the materials costs for things like the electrolytes, membranes, and other cell costs.

Refillable: The company behind India’s zero-waste refill service, Recube, Refillable has a smart packaging distribution system that lowers costs and gets rid of packaging waste for consumer brands. Globally, plastic accounts for 3.8% of emissions, and India generates more than 25,000 tons of plastic waste per-day. Given that plastic will soon overtake coal in the US as a leading source of CO2 anything other countries can do to avoid that fate should likely be supported.