Sierra Energy Corporation announced it has closed a $33 million Series A investment round led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures and joined by Cox Investment Holdings, Inc., BNP Paribas SA, Twynam Investments Pty Ltd, Formica Ventures AB and The March Fund I LP. The funding will help Sierra Energy further develop and commercialize its FastOx gasification technology, which converts waste into clean, renewable energy and fuels without burning.
Sierra Energy's FastOx technology, developed by Sierra Energy and supported by grant funding from the Department of Defense and the California Energy Commission, uses oxygen and steam to heat waste to 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit (2,200 degrees Celsius). At this temperature, waste breaks down at the molecular level, converting organic material into an energy-dense syngas and allowing the recovery of inorganic material as either a non-leaching stone or molten metal.
Sierra Energy's FastOx waste-to-energy (WTE) technology, which is modular and can be scaled to large size, does not produce any process emissions and all outputs are saleable. The company's first commercial-scale demonstration facility is located at U.S. Army Garrison Fort Hunter Liggett in Monterey County, Calif.
"We are very excited to work with partners like Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Cox who invest in innovative technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale," said Mike Hart, Sierra Energy CEO, in a statement. "The world is drowning in trash which, when landfilled, is a leading generator of methane, a greenhouse gas that is 86 times more harmful to our climate than carbon dioxide. Our FastOx gasification technology can efficiently and cost effectively convert this trash into electricity, hydrogen, renewable natural gas, diesel, ammonia and a variety of other valuable end products. When you combine our technology with recycling and other waste diversion strategies, you have the solution to the world's waste problem as well as a valuable source of renewable energy."
"Solid waste landfills are one of the largest producers of methane emissions in the U.S., which are far more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas," said Carmichael Roberts of Breakthrough Energy Ventures in a statement. "Sierra Energy has introduced a transformative and cost-competitive waste-to-value solution for turning municipal garbage into renewable energy. The idea that we can reduce GHGs in a meaningful way while creating renewable energy is incredibly exciting. With this oversubscribed funding round, BEV, along with an impressive syndicate of global investors, is eager to help Sierra transition to its next phase of commercialization."
Cox Enterprises announced it has committed to investing $10 million in Sierra Energy to further develop and commercialize its FastOx technology. One of FastOx gasification's advantages is an ability to handle nearly any type of waste, including municipal solid waste, plastics, medical waste, e-waste, tires, batteries, railroad ties and even hazardous wastes.
"Sierra Energy is a great example of pioneering new technology that can positively impact our communities and our planet," said Alex Taylor, president and CEO of Cox Enterprises, in a statement. "We believe in investing in like-minded businesses that share our vision for a brighter future and leaving things in better shape for the next generation."
Cox Enterprises is a private, family-owned company with a commitment to building businesses that support local communities and the environment. Its investment in Sierra Energy is part of a new strategy to build a business that tackles sustainability challenges, while also driving profitability, topline growth and industry diversification. Cox Enterprises said it seeks to invest in resource efficiency solutions that provide sustainable energy, food and water for the rapidly growing global population.
"We are making strategic investments in the cleantech sector to build a business that drives positive environmental change," said Steve Bradley, assistant vice president of cleantech strategy and investments for Cox Enterprises, in a statement. "We are excited about our partnership with Sierra Energy because they are addressing a massive planetary problem in an innovative way."
Since 2007, Cox Enterprises has invested nearly $400 million in businesses and technologies that offer sustainable solutions. This marks the fourth investment in this space since 2018, including investments in Carbon Lighthouse, Nexus Fuels and Brightfarms.
Cox Enterprises' own sustainability goals include sending zero waste to landfill by 2024 and becoming water and carbon neutral by 2044. Some of its investments include Golden Isles Conservation Center, a facility that is commercializing technology that breaks down tires to their original components without producing harmful emissions, and New River Clean Energy, which captures landfill gas to generate renewable energy and reduce methane emissions.