Boston Metal raises $20M to deliver industrial-scale electrolysis solution for high-volume ferroalloys production

In the news, Press releases Published: January 10, 2019

BOSTON – Boston Metal announced today that it has raised $20M in a Series A funding round led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures with participation from Prelude Ventures and The Engine. This funding accelerates the first industrial-scale deployments of Boston Metal’s molten oxide electrolysis (MOE) technology for the production of ferroalloys. The new funding also supports the continued scale-up of MOE for the production of emissions-free steel.

“The company is poised to create significant value with an unrivaled environmental impact in the metallurgy space. BEV is fully behind Tadeu and the Boston Metal team.”

“We are excited to enter this next phase in Boston Metal’s development with investors that share our vision of tackling the globe’s most important challenges. Molten oxide electrolysis is a platform technology that can produce a wide array of metals and alloys, but our first industrial deployments will target the ferroalloys on the path to our ultimate goal of steel. Boston Metal’s MOE technology will offer the steel industry a modular, low-cost, and zero-emissions solution for the production of high tonnage steel,” said Tadeu Carneiro, CEO of Boston Metal. “Steel is and will remain one of the staples of modern society, but the production of steel today produces over two gigatons of CO2. The same fundamental method for producing steel has been used for millennia, but Boston Metal is breaking that paradigm by replacing coal with electrons.”

Boston Metal’s molten oxide electrolysis process uses electricity to transform metals from their raw oxide form into molten metal products. The MOE process was invented at the lab-scale at MIT and Boston Metal has since scaled the technology over 1,000x. At the heart of the MOE cell is a soup of molten oxides tailored for a specific feedstock and product. Electrons act to melt this soup and selectively reduce the targeted oxide. The resulting metal pools at the bottom of the cell and is tapped by drilling into the cell in a process adapted from the blast furnace. The tap hole is then plugged and the process continues. The inherent modularity of these MOE cells provides the metal industry with a capital-efficient means of adding production capacity.

“Steel manufacturing is one of the largest single industrial emitters of greenhouse gases in the world, contributing roughly eight percent of total GHG emissions. With its unique molten oxide electrolysis technology, Boston Metal has the potential to decarbonize the massive steel manufacturing industry, and economically deliver a set of high-quality products on a global scale,” said Carmichael Roberts of Breakthrough Energy Ventures. “The company is poised to create significant value with an unrivaled environmental impact in the metallurgy space. BEV is fully behind Tadeu and the Boston Metal team.”

“Boston Metal has developed a platform solution that will have far reaching impacts across the metal industry,” said Mark Cupta of Prelude Ventures. “They capitalize on the modularity of that technology solution with a business model that allows them to rapidly expand their impact from the ferroalloys to steel and beyond. We are excited to join BEV and The Engine in supporting the global vision of the Boston Metal team.”

“Clean energy is one of the thorniest Tough Tech challenges of the century. A critical piece to achieving a carbon-free world is the decarbonization of steel production,” said Katie Rae, managing partner and CEO of The Engine. “Boston Metal has spent years developing its groundbreaking technology and is incredibly close to bringing it to market. We feel privileged to help them take those next meaningful steps in bringing us closer to a zero emission future.”

The Boston Metal team operates a fleet of semi-industrial MOE systems at their headquarters outside of Boston and will be commissioning its first industrial systems at this same facility. Boston Metal works closely with customers and partners to tailor the MOE platform for their specific feedstocks and products.

About Boston Metal

Boston Metal is a provider of industrial-scale, metals production solutions utilizing its Molten Oxide Electrolysis (MOE) process. MOE provides the metals industry with a more efficient, lower cost, and greener solution for the production of a wide array of metals and alloys from a wide variety of feedstocks. Boston Metal was spun-out of MIT in 2012 with an investment from Ingo Wender and has since scaled the technology 1,000x and produced thousands of kilograms of metal. Boston Metal’s headquarters and industrial development center are located in Woburn, MA.

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About Breakthrough Energy Ventures

Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) is a for-profit, investor-led fund created to accelerate the world’s transition to clean energy. BEV has more than $1 billion in committed capital to fund scientific breakthroughs with the potential to deliver affordable, reliable clean energy. The fund prioritizes investments across the five grand challenges that contribute most to greenhouse gas emissions: electricity, transportation, agriculture, manufacturing and buildings. BEV was created by the Breakthrough Energy Coalition in 2016 and is backed by an investor group that includes many of the world’s top business leaders.

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About Prelude Ventures

Prelude Ventures is a venture capital firm dedicated to advancing the low-carbon economy. The firm invests in exceptional entrepreneurs across a range of sectors including energy & energy storage, transportation, industrial efficiency, food & agriculture, chemicals & materials, advanced manufacturing, and the built environment. Prelude Ventures was founded in 2013 and is based in San Francisco.

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About The Engine

The Engine is a Cambridge, MA-based venture capital firm that invests in early-stage Tough Tech companies. The organization helps accelerate the path between discovery and commercialization for companies tackling urgent, world-changing problems through breakthrough science and technology. The Engine empowers founders and leaders in the Tough Tech ecosystem by giving them access to the capital, the infrastructure and the connections they need to be successful. The Engine was launched by MIT in 2016.

About Boston Metal

Boston Metal is commercializing Molten Oxide Electrolysis (MOE), a tonnage metals technology platform powered by electricity, to decarbonize steelmaking and transform how metals are made. MOE provides the metals industry with a scalable, cost-competitive and green solution for the production of steel and high-value metals from a variety of feedstocks and iron ore grades. Backed by visionary investors and led by a world-class team, Boston Metal is headquartered in Woburn, Massachusetts and has a wholly owned subsidiary in Brazil.

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