FreeWire Technologies raises $15 Million Series A funding for EV expansion
FreeWire Technologies, the provider of power solutions for the grid edge, has announced the successful closing of its $15 million Series A financing.
The funding round was led by BP Ventures, with participation from Volvo Cars Tech Fund, Stanley Ventures, Blue Bear Capital, Oski Clean Energy Partners, Strawberry Creek Ventures, Spike Ventures, TRIREC, and others.
The financing will support the commercialisation of FreeWire’s ultrafast EV charging and mobile on-site power technologies, along with expansion of the company’s operations and sales teams. These solutions are described by the company as “designed to overcome the inefficiencies of today’s grid infrastructure to meet customers’ growing demand for rapid, cost-efficient power – all without the added costs of construction, hardware installation, or peak surges”.
In October 2018, Volvo Cars Tech Fund announced an investment in the Bay Area-based startup to support the automaker’s long-term electrification strategy. “To support wider consumer adoption of electric cars, society needs to make charging an electric car as simple as filling up your tank,” said Zaki Fasihuddin, CEO of the Volvo Cars Tech Fund. “Our investment in FreeWire is a firm endorsement of the company’s ambitions in this area.”
At the start of 2018, BP Ventures announced an investment in conjunction with the launch of a pilot program to deploy FreeWire’s infrastructure-light EV fast chargers at BP retail sites in the UK.
The closing of the Series A round follows the previous announcement of Stanley Ventures as an investor and the appointment of both Michael Mahan, Investment Manager at Stanley Ventures, and Chad Bown, Investment Principal at BP Ventures, to FreeWire’s Board of Directors.
Arcady Sosinov, CEO of FreeWire said: “It is important that our initial group of investors hail from such a diverse set of industries - they collectively reflect a wide range of the energy challenges we are now in a better position to tackle. Their backing at this pivotal stage is rooted in a shared vision of a future with widespread transition to flexible, sustainable electrification.”
“FreeWire was one of BP’s first investments in the advanced mobility space and we remain excited by their expertise and technologies,” said David Gilmour, Vice President of BP Ventures. “Mobility continues to evolve, and BP is committed to remaining the fuel retailer of choice. We see FreeWire playing an important role in our varied offering and helping ensure we are well positioned to meet future demand.”
Trafigura and Yara International explore clean ammonia usage
Reducing shipping emissions is a vital component of the fight against global climate change, yet Greenhouse Gas emissions from the global maritime sector are increasing - and at odds with the IMO's strategy to cut absolute emissions by at least 50% by 2050.
How more than 70,000 ships can decrease their reliance on carbon-based sources is one of transport's most pressing decarbonisation challenges.
Yara and Trafigura intend to collaborate on initiatives that will establish themselves in the clean ammonia value chain. Under the MoU announced today, Trafigura and Yara intend to work together in the following areas:
- The supply of clean ammonia by Yara to Trafigura Group companies
- Exploration of joint R&D initiatives for clean ammonia application as a marine fuel
- Development of new clean ammonia assets including marine fuel infrastructure and market opportunities
Magnus Krogh Ankarstrand, President of Yara Clean Ammonia, said the agreement is a good example of cross-industry collaboration to develop and promote zero-emission fuel in the form of clean ammonia for the shipping industry. "Building clean ammonia value chains is critical to facilitate the transition to zero emission fuels by enabling the hydrogen economy – not least within trade and distribution where both Yara and Trafigura have leading capabilities. Demand and supply of clean ammonia need to be developed in tandem," he said.
There is a growing consensus that hydrogen-based fuels will ultimately be the shipping fuels of the future, but clear and comprehensive regulation is essential, according to Jose Maria Larocca, Executive Director and Co-Head of Oil Trading for Trafigura.
Ammonia has a number of properties that require "further investigation," according to Wartsila. "It ignites and burns poorly compared to other fuels and is toxic and corrosive, making safe handling and storage important. Burning ammonia could also lead to higher NOx emissions unless controlled either by aftertreatment or by optimising the combustion process," it notes.
Trafigura has co-sponsored the R&D of MAN Energy Solutions’ ammonia-fuelled engine for maritime vessels, has performed in-depth studies of transport fuels with reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and has published a white paper on the need for a global carbon levy for shipping fuels to be introduced by International Maritime Organization.
Oslo-based Yara produces roughly 8.5 million tonnes of ammonia annually and employs a fleet of 11 ammonia carriers, including 5 fully owned ships, and owns 18 marine ammonia terminals with 580 kt of storage capacity – enabling it to produce and deliver ammonia across the globe.
It recently established a new clean ammonia unit to capture growth opportunities in emission-free fuel for shipping and power, carbon-free fertilizer and ammonia for industrial applications.