Hot Lime Labs, which is a spin-off from Callaghan Innovation, is developing a technology which can recover clean CO2 from the burning of waste organic material. It uses a limestone-based material as a type of “sponge” to do this. The technology contributes to the improvement of crop yields, by around 20%.
Andy Matheson, Chief Investment Officer of Powerhouse, says the company is excited by the potential for Hot Lime Labs.
“The investment will allow the venture to achieve some critical de-risking milestones around proof of the technology. It will also allow the company to further build its management and technical team as the company progresses.”
There were a dozen co-investors in the investment raising, including Flying Kiwi Angels.
The funding will allow for a pilot Hot Lime system to be built inside a commercial greenhouse, enabling proof of its effectiveness at scale.
The founder and CEO of Hot Lime Labs, Dr Vlatko Materić, says the technology has the potential to increase grower’s revenues by $40-80k per annum, per hectare, compared to using other sources such as natural gas or liquid CO2. The global market opportunity for the technology is estimated at over $800m per annum and is growing rapidly, he said.
The investment round was “exciting news for the team,” Dr Materić said. “We still have a long journey ahead but with the help of our investors and Board we aim to build a successful global business based in Wellington. We’ve already generated a lot of market interest and identified a number of potential early adopters for the technology.”
Last year Dr Materić won an award from the KiwiNet Emerging Innovator Programme to develop proof of concept. The programme delivered $25,000 in funding and support to develop the technology and progress its commercialisation. The programme has provided critical support for Hot Lime Labs, Dr Materić said.