Eindhoven-based RIFT, a startup on a mission towards a sustainable future powered by clean and renewable energy, announced that it has raised €2M in its first round of funding. The startup aims to use iron fuel as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels, thereby reducing CO2 emissions.
RIFT says it will use the funds to further develop its current test systems at Ennatuurlijk, Veolia Nederland and Industriepark Kleefse Waard, and grow its team in order to save 1 gigatonne of CO2 per year by 2050.
Investors in this round
The investment was led by Rubio Impact Ventures and was officially completed before Bill Gates’ climate fund Breakthrough Energy announced it would make funds and support available to RIFT. Besides, Brabantse Ontwikkelings Maatschappij and Energy Transition Fund Rotterdam (ETF-R) also invested in this round.
Helmer Schukken, Managing Partner at Rubio, says, “We invested into RIFT because they are pioneering a new technology which can become the key to decarbonising industrial heat. Even in this early stage, RIFT’s technology is already providing heat towards households through their partnership with Ennatuurlijk. This is a testament to the founding team who are working tirelessly to bring this technology to the market as soon as possible.”
Renewable Iron Fuel Technology
Three friends from the Eindhoven University of Technology, Mark Verhagen, Vincent Seijger, and Lex Scheepers, created RIFT after collaborating on the development of iron fuel technology in the student team SOLID. This student group collaborated closely with Professor Philip de Goey, who developed iron fuel, as a member of the Metal Power Consortium. In order to enable commercial access to this “promising” new clean fuel, Mark, Vincent, and Lex launched RIFT in 2021.
RIFT’s technology will allow heating to be produced using iron powder as a circular fuel with no outright CO2 emissions. This circular fuel is an environmentally friendly substitute for fossil fuels.
When iron powder is burned, heat is produced, and the remaining powder, iron-oxide (also known as rust), is converted back into iron fuel, which may then be used to generate heat once more (and again and again). In order to immediately replace gas-fueled boilers and reduce annual CO2 emissions by thousands of tonnes, RIFT is developing industrial-scale boilers.
Saving 1 gigatonne of CO2/year in 2050
At the Energy Demo Field near Arnhem, RIFT is testing the production of iron fuel, and a boiler is operating at Helmond’s combined heat and power plant. The heating firm Ennatural and the Eindhoven company there utilise the heat network to heat 500 homes. The goal is to adopt these systems everywhere in order to save 1 gigatonne of CO2 annually by 2050.
Mark Verhagen, CEO of RIFT, says, “The new capital injections may help us accelerate the realisation of these ambitious plans. It goes without saying that we are pleased that we are receiving so much support from all corners of the world. This additional capital injection will enable us to develop the current test systems further and grow our team, enabling us to accelerate the energy transition even earlier.”