Bill Gates-founded Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Amazon and other investors are funding green iron company Electra.
The Boulder-based company announced it has raised a total of $85 million with the help of a number of investors, including S2G Ventures, BHP Ventures, Temasek, Lowercarbon Capital and others.
Electra has set out to refine ‘green’ iron ore with no CO2 emissions due to the use of significantly lower temperatures than existing methods and comes at no extra cost (known as green premium).
Thus, with the help of the funding from Breakthrough Energy and co, Electra will also advance the decarbonization of steel production – a sector that is notoriously carbon intensive and hard to abate.
The company was founded by entrepreneurs with a background in complex electrochemical systems and has developed its own unique process of electrochemically refining iron ore into pure iron.
What sets this method apart from traditional iron refining is the substantially lower temperature of only 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit) using clean electricity from renewable energy sources.
In contrast, most of today’s steel making relies on temperatures of around 1,600 degrees Celsius (2,912 degrees Fahrenheit) that are reached with power generated from coal.
Hence, on average, conventional steel making releases about two tons of CO2 into the atmosphere for every ton of steel produced.