Pangaea Blog

Pangaea invests in early stage cleantech companies with world-class advanced materials innovation.

In my opening remarks at the Advanced Materials Commercialization Summit on May 13, 2014, I discussed several “giga goals” facing advanced materials in the energy, electronics, health and sustainability markets.

In energy, batteries are widely seen as the Achilles heel of the electric vehicle. A Tesla replacement battery is $30,000 or about a third of the value of the car. On top of that, the range of an electric car is only about half that of a combustion car. The US DOE has a cost target of $5,000 per battery ($125/kWhr) by 2020 and an energy density target of 250 Wh/kg. The question put forth to the battery producers is how will we achieve these lofty goals? Well, significant work needs to happen. Perhaps this is why Telsa is proposing the largest battery factory in the world. When completed, it will produce batteries for 500,000 Tesla cars representing 35 GWh of energy per year. This one factory will produce more batteries than the current world production capacity. The Tesla Giga factory will reduce cost through scale but won’t alone solve all of the battery issues. There will need to be improvements in energy density by identifying and optimizing new materials. Pangaea has seen a number of companies work on promising technology such as layered chemistry for the cathode and silicon for the anode.

Space: The Final Frontier [for materials innovation]? It's a far-out idea but the notion of manufacturing materials in a microgravity environment is quite intriguing. Without all that pesky force we call gravity holding us back, we can explore lots of unusual phenomena perhaps impossible to replicate on the surface of our blue gravity-producing planet.

“The manufacturing sector comprises establishments engaged in the mechanical, physical, or chemical transformation of materials, substances, or components into new products”.1 From the early days of simplistic tooling to the mechanization approach for textile mills in Britain followed by Henry Ford’s assembly line, manufacturing practices continue to evolve, impacting every aspect of our lives. Advanced manufacturing systems are not only needed to support job creation but also to meet the needs of a growing population. By 2040, it is estimated that there will be around 9 billion people requiring the basic necessities of life! Pangaea Ventures’ focus on advanced materials provides a unique view on emerging manufacturing technologies. We like to see advantaged features, such as, sustainability, low cost, robustness, energy efficiency and scalability.

Please complete the following statement with the most correct answer:

As ____________ as Sugar?

(a) Sweet
(b) Conductive
(c) Energy Dense
(d) All of the above

I don't know about you, but when I think of sugar (particularly at this time of year) it can be bittersweet – especially when I'm trying to zip up those skinny jeans. After a holiday season of indulgence – and a box of Valentines Day chocolates within arms reach it's hard to think of sugar as relating to anything other than confections (or correlated with gym memberships).

Natural gas and natural gas liquids represent advantaged feedstocks for a wide range of high value chemicals and fuels. The growing natural gas abundance coupled with low pricing has spurred companies to take a fresh look at gas to liquid conversion technologies. The timing is just right for a radical change. With a game changing approach in mind, Pangaea completed an investment in Calysta Energy, a company innovating the next generation of GTL technology based on disruptive bioconversion.