Cleantech startup Cellfion is celebrating a very happy first anniversary as it secures €1.3 million in new funding. The Swedish company is now planning its first steps towards commercializing a pioneering biobased membrane.
The global transition to renewable, green energy has picked up pace in the last decade, but there’s still lots to do and many surmounting challenges to overcome. Looking at renewable energy sources themselves, different problems arise especially when thinking about energy storage.
Intermittent renewable energy, such as wind and solar, requires a way to store the energy. The sun doesn’t shine every day and the wind isn’t always blowing – it’s one of the natural beauties of the world, but a bit of a task when it comes to wanting to use the power of the sun and the wind every second of every day.
The good thing is that rapidly emerging tech, like Redox Flow Batteries and hydrogen, can provide a perfect solution, enabling energy to be stored and discharged upon demand. Now, enabling these solutions to function to their maximum potential and ensuring sustainability whilst doing so, Cellfion is creating unique biobased membranes.
The Swedish startup, established just last year with young entrepreneur Liam Hardey as CEO, has just picked up €1.3 million.
The seed investment was contributed by Almi Invest Green Tech, Voima Ventures, Klimatet Invest, LiU Invest and KTH Holding.
It’ll enable the startup to continue the development towards being a scalable manufacturer of sustainable membranes. In the coming years, the company plans to expand their team, begin their rapid prototyping by working with customers and partners, and focus on getting its first product to market.
Liam Hardey, CEO of Cellfion: “To the best of our knowledge and extensive research- we are the first company working towards the commercialization of biobased membranes with no toxic substances at all”.
Sustainable bio-based membrane
Cellfion, which stems from a decade of research at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Linköping University and RISE in Sweden, has developed a pioneering biobased membrane. The technology is made from the most abundant biopolymer on the planet, cellulose, derived from wood. By extracting cellulose nanofibrils from wood, and modifying the surfaces, the fibrils can be fabricated into sheets of membranes that can be used as critical components in energy storage and conversion devices, such as Redox Flow Batteries and fuel cells.
The fact that Cellfion’s membranes are made from an abundant forest material makes them not only sustainable but also cost-effective
State-of-the-art commercial membranes are often made from PFAS-based substances that have been classified by the EU Commission as toxic and harmful when exposed to humans. Due to the health risks and toxicity of these substances, the EU is aiming to place restrictions on them by 2023. With these restrictions, the need for alternative membranes is expected to grow massively, and impact start-up Cellfion aims to be at the forefront of this movement.
Jenny Engerfelt, Investment Director at Voima Ventures: “This is what deep tech investing is all about, solving big problems that really matter. There are huge amounts of energy that are being lost from renewable energy sources due to the limitations of energy storage. Membranes are one of the most crucial components to reach high efficiency. With an ambition to replace toxic and fossil-based membranes, the potential for Cellfion is huge. Additionally, the accelerating energy crisis makes the demand for sustainable solutions greater than ever, and Cellfion has the potential of becoming the new market leader.”
Cellfion is now racing ahead with its ambition to create the most innovative, scalable and sustainable materials for green energy devices – for the benefit of the world as a whole.
CEO Liam concluded: “If the clean energy industry is to become sustainable, we need to ensure that the materials we are using are also truly sustainable.”