A new era of tech
Why Planet A Ventures partners with Ineratec
To meet international climate targets we need rapid and comprehensive emission reductions across the energy, industry, and transport sector. Green hydrogen and other synthetic energy carriers will play a role in this transition. That is why we are happy to partner with INERATEC.
INERATEC, a spin-off company from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), develops, builds, and delivers chemical plants equipped with innovative chemical reactor technology for Gas-to-Liquid, Power-to-Liquid, and Power-to-Gas applications. INERATEC’s technology and know-how are based on compact and microstructured chemical reactors for decentralized and demanding applications, such as Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, Methanol synthesis, methanation, and synthesis gas generation via catalytic partial oxidation and reverse water gas shift.
– Production of renewable fuels from biogas
– Decentralized production of chemicals
– SNG from H2 and CO2
– Methanation of gasification products
– Storage of renewable energy
– Efficient storage of excess electricity
– Production of CO2 neutral fuels for mobility
– Decentralized production of chemicals
With INERATEC’s chemical reactor technology, entire chemical processes can be realized in transportable shipping containers or in skid-mounted units. Additionally, they allow the safe and efficient operation of highly exothermic and endothermic chemical reactions. Gas conversion on a decentralized scale is now technically and economically viable.
INERATEC plans an industrial pioneer plant for the production of sustainable synthetic fuels starting in 2022. Up to 3,500 tons or 4.6 million liters of INERATEC e-fuels will be produced annually from up to 10,000 tons of biogenic CO2 and renewable electricity.
Why did we invest?
- Ineratec´s technology solves several challenges of the energy transition: management of a fluctuating supply of renewable energy, large and long-term energy storage as well as sustainable mobility and climate neutrality. In the medium and long term, green hydrogen and electricity-based fuels and base materials, also referred to as PtX (power-to-X), will make a significant contribution to climate mitigation and the decarbonisation of economies on the national and international level. Unlike biofuels, e-fuels do not compete with food (food-versus-fuel discussion).
- Ineratec generates significant impact in key environmental categories important to Planet A, in this case climate mitigation and resource savings. E-products are a viable option for the decarbonization of hard to decarbonize industries currently depending on fossil resources. They also are a suitable replacement in areas of the transport sector in which the direct use of electricity is unlikely to be technically feasible even in the future — for example aviation and long-distance shipping. Life cycle assessments of PtX technologies demonstrate these positive effects. Critical factors are the use of renewable energies, closing the carbon cycle (avoiding leakage) or the sound management of water and land resources. Reliable regulatory frameworks for green hydrogen (H2) and PtX products, processes and policies are only just evolving. One noteworthy example is the EESG framework by the International PtX Hub Berlin.
- Ineratec operates in an environment that experiences strong regulatory and political tailwinds. Under the EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) Member States must require fuel suppliers to supply a minimum of 14% of the energy consumed in road and rail transport by 2030 as renewable energy. Fuels used in the aviation and maritime sectors can be opted in to contribute to the target. A lot is happening on the national level in the EU — take Germany, Ineratecs home base: Germany has set out to become a global leader in the production, transport and use of green hydrogen as an energy source, and the government has penned a National Hydrogen Strategy in 2020. Billions of government money will be invested. Based on RED II, Germany passed a law in May 2021 to increase the emissions reduction targets in its transport sector. To fulfil the ambitions, a roadmap for market ramp-up of climate-friendly electricity-based aviation fuel was signed in May 2021. The German government decided to prescribe a fixed quota for blended kerosene: “The goal is to increase the PtL (Power-to-Liquid) kerosene quota from 0.5 percent in 2026 to two percent in 2030…. The aim is to produce at least 200,000 tonnes of sustainable kerosene per year for the German aviation industry.” The progressively rising binding minimum quota for electricity-based kerosene planned by the Federal Government will massively advance industrial-scale production. The government’s legal provisions create the investment certainty needed for the further development of climate friendly technologies and plant construction.
- In line with this evolving regulatory framework the market for Ineratec is growing massively: Companies from the fossil fuel industry, chemicals as well as transportation show great interest in the development of e-fuels. Decarbonization is a major challenge for these industries. The German energy agency (dena) foresees a radical growth of e-fuel demand in any scenario. A study by the World Energy Council shows that global demand for synthetic fuels can easily rise up to 20,000 TWh in the long term (by 2050 and beyond), including all Power-to-X technologies such as PtL and PtG. This corresponds to around 50% of today’s global demand for crude oil.The aviation sector alone emits more than 900 million tons of CO2 per year. Assuming industry growth of 3 to 4 percent p.a. and efficiency improvement of 2 percent p.a., emissions would more than double by 2050. In the same time period, the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) committed to 50 percent CO2 emission reduction (compared to 2005) and the EU set with the Green Deal a target to become carbon neutral.
- Ineratec has the potential to become a major player in this market: Ineratec is well positioned as it not only delivers the technologies for the production of e-fuels but is a producer of e-fuels itself. Ineratec’s modular approach decreases the investment risk for the buyers of the plants. Ineratec is a tech lead in its field, having an advantage of roughly 1–2 years in comparison to its competitors. The team has an impressive scientific, engineering and business skill set and is able to develop and scale the company . The founders and managing directors of INERATEC GmbH, Dr.-Ing. Tim Böltken, Philipp Engelkamp and Dr.-Ing. Paolo Piermartini, together with Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Pfeifer from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), started INERATEC in 2014. They are driven by the motto “ „Let’s get something meaningful done!“. The team is a diverse, experienced group of project managers, designers, engineers, economists, and marketing professionals.
- With Ineratec we consciously invest in hardware as a way to tackle climate mitigation. VC in general is keen on software start-ups, which often have quicker returns and less development risk. But countering the climate and ecosystem crisis cannot be done by software alone. Hardware has been getting more attention recently, which is to be welcomed. We urgently need to support hard tech and, hardware innovation, too, especially in the energy sector. Electricity-based fuels need to find their pathway from laboratory to industrial production as quickly as possible. By investing in Ineratec we directly support this transition.
Planet A invested alongside the HTGF, FO Holding and Extantia (former Beyond Black) who bring in substantial experience in digital tech, industrial technology, life sciences, chemistry and biotechnology.
Authors: Lena Thiede und Tobias Seikel, Co-Founders and Partners at www.planet-a.com
ABOUT PLANET A VENTURES
Founded in 2020, Planet A is an impact investment fund targeting for-profit start-ups that have a measurable positive impact on our planet while building scalable businesses. Planet A partners with European early-stage green tech companies that have the potential to scale globally. The start-ups have to contribute to significant positive change in at least one of four key areas: climate mitigation, waste reduction, resource savings and/or biodiversity protection. For its portfolio companies, Planet A offers support with / as:
- Impact measurement: scientific impact assessment, forecasting and visualization,
- The Planet A Network: a diverse network of experienced German and European entrepreneurs,
- Long-term funding partner: early-stage investments with interest in follow-on rounds.
Planet A’s vision is to make impact investment the new normal.