We invest in and build companies in markets related to clean energy, new mobility, advanced materials and biomaterials. We’re passionate about disruptive sustainability. At SEP, our focus is on technologies and companies aimed at disrupting high-value segments in the value chains within these markets rather than final devices. Key themes include: less carbon, cost-effective, environmental, new technology, renewable, valuable.
We’re interested in renewable power generation led by solar energy technologies, energy storage systems, alternative fuel vehicles and fueling systems with a bias for natural gas, and energy demand management. Waste materials and heat to energy are also of interest, such as renewable natural gas.
Disruptive components and business models that create a step-change in economics and other factors so that final devices and infrastructure are measurably better are key. For example, new components with disruptive performance and a competitive cost structure for use with solar PV systems.
Connected, autonomous, shared and electric vehicle technologies combine to create a new transportation industry known as “CASE.” We look for new business models, components that improve vehicle operation, software for asset-use efficiency, and new technologies that are needed for the CASE industry to take market share from the huge traditional automotive industry.
This focus area is further characterized by advanced driver assistance systems; big data and analytics that leverage AI, 5G and cyber security; near-term commercial fleet applications; development of new value chains for key technologies such as full battery systems; and, partnering with established industry players to access key market channels.
We look for new materials or composites for use with industrial and consumer products being innovated to reach new performance objectives. Such dynamics are being seen in automotive light-weighting, semiconductor electronics' Moore’s Law, energy storage performance and weight metrics, nano and angstrom scale designs, among others.
Example applications for advanced materials include novel manufacturing methods such as 3D printing/additive manufacturing that can be expanded simply by innovations in the source materials. The materials and techniques for use with such manufacturing methods can result in new types of end products and reduction in manufacturing costs and waste.
Bio-synthetic materials can replace many animal agriculture products with a much lower environmental impact. We’re interested in the necessary innovations such as regenerative medicine, genetic engineering, bioengineering, large-scale bioprocessing technologies, and novel business models. Utilization of stem cells to grow muscle and fat tissues in vitro for human use hold the promise of being healthier, tasty and cost competitive. This sector is now being called “clean meat,” a food-tech analog to clean energy.
Our second biomaterials sector includes biodegradable plastics that are needed to reduce or eliminate the impact that petrochemical consumer plastics have on waterways and marine environments. Chemical engineering processes that use plant based materials or plant-petroleum hybrid materials should deliver cost-effective results and meet future government requirements. As with regulations to phase out incandescent lighting, a similar mandate-driven market may develop for biodegradable plastics.