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Chinese E-bike Maker AIMA Technology Teams up with US-based Juiced Bikes for International Expansion

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Chinese E-bike Maker AIMA Technology Teams up with US-based Juiced Bikes for International Expansion

AIMA Technology (“AIMA”), a leading Chinese e-bike manufacturer and US-based Juiced Bikes, recently entered into a strategic cooperation partnership. Su Yuhang, general manager of AIMA Technology’s international business unit and Tora Harris, founder of Juiced Bikes, inked a strategic cooperation agreement that AIMA will provide high-quality products and technical support to Juiced Bikes in the US.

The collaboration cements a long-term, robust strategic relationship between AIMA and Juiced Bikes. With the agreement signed, the two firms expect to strengthen and deepen their strategic alliance by leveraging their respective advantages in channel resources and technologies in addition to resource sharing, with the ultimate goal of creating a win-win situation for both businesses.

As part of the agreement, AIMA will collaborate with Juiced Bikes not only as an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) but also at the manufacturing, technology and brand levels in a move to create a mutually beneficial relationship, with their future collaborations expected mainly to involve growing their reach in US, China and several other markets across Asia.

“After informative communications with Juiced Bikes, I found that we have shared values,” said Mr. Su when addressing the ceremony. “We are looking forward to working in concert with the US firm in the realms of business and capital in an effort to reduce operating costs and create greater value for both companies.”

Juiced Bikes is a California-based company founded in 2009 by Olympic athlete and Princeton University graduate Tora Harris, which is known for its high-speed, high-power e-bikes. The leader in the US e-bike market has set a new standard by producing the most coveted electric bicycles in terms of several performance indicators, including speed, mileage, power and reliability.

The signing of the agreement marked a significant step in AIMA’s efforts to fully implement its global expansion strategy. Looking forward, the firm plans to further its expansion into the foreign trade sector by virtue of its premium products and technologies while continuing to serve customers globally, with the aim of creating a Chinese e-bike brand with a global reputation. AIMA, has gained increasing recognition among bike riders worldwide with its flagship models, including the Tiger X613, the N600 and the A500.

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Orion Innovation Partners with Africa and Gulf Bank to Provide Innovative Digital-First Financial Products and Services

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Latest Agreement Continues Orion’s Growth in the Middle East and Africa      

Orion Innovation (“Orion”), a leading digital transformation and product development services firm, is excited to announce it has signed a deal with Africa and Gulf Bank (“AGB”) to modernize the bank’s banking products and services. As part of the agreement, Orion will implement Temenos’ cloud-based core banking platform into AGB’s operations, modernizing its product portfolio to bring personalized, digital-first banking solutions to customers.

AGB is a banking and financial services corporation that prides itself on providing customers with tailored and innovative financial solutions backed by cutting-edge technology. Orion’s suite of digital services and technology solutions empowers banks to modernize legacy systems, design innovative products, and tap into new business opportunities. This deal is significant as Orion expands its global footprint into the Middle East and Africa regions (MEA) and follows its recent deal with Philippines-based Cebuana Lhuillier Bank.

From Left to Right: Nadeem Lodhi, CEO at AGB and Anoop Gala, Global Head of Financial Services at Orion Innovation

“We are thrilled to embark on AGB’s core modernization program. Our comprehensive offerings around Temenos, coupled with our regional presence in the MEA, position us well to ensure a successful core banking transformation. This partnership will accelerate AGB’s Digital First initiative and support its strategic growth plans,” said Anoop Gala, Orion’s Global Head of Financial Services.

Africa and Gulf Bank has developed an ambitious roadmap based on innovative retail, digital and wholesale banking products and services which include critical capability enhancements like instant onboarding, automated AI-based approvals, straight-through-processing and digitized workflows. He stated that building up on its ‘Digital and Agency First’ strategy, the introduction of Temenos Transact and Infinity will allow AGB to develop robust banking services for Sudanese people both at home and in the diaspora,” said Nadeem Lodhi, CEO for Africa and Gulf bank.

About Orion Innovation

Orion Innovation (“Orion”) is a leading digital transformation and product development services firm with 12 major delivery centers spread across the Americas, APAC, and EMEA. Rooted in engineering and design thinking, along with a unique combination of agility, scale and maturity, its team of approximately 6,400 associates helps Fortune 1000 companies improve efficiencies, enhance customer experiences, and develop new digital offerings.

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Funding

Tsubame BHB procures 5.3 billion yen through Series C

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First participation by a foreign investor brings green ammonia production to the world

Tsubame BHB Co., Ltd. (Head Office: Yokohama, Kanagawa Pref.; Representative Director and CEO: Koji Nakamura), which strives for the social implementation and commercialization of small, distributed ammonia production plants, has announced that it has undertaken capital procurement on a total scale of approximately 5.3 billion yen in a Series C round of financing through third-party allocation of shares to both new and existing investors worldwide.

In the second round*1 of this Series C funding, capital procurement was undertaken with Heraeus Beteiligungsverwaltungsgesellschaft mbH (Head Office: Germany; “Heraeus”) as the first overseas investor receiving shares, and with Yokogawa Electric Corporation and Energy & Environment Investment, Inc. as new investors receiving shares in Japan. This round of funding resulted in a cumulative capital procurement amount of 7.6 billion yen for Tsubame BHB Co., Ltd.

*1 The first round of funding was procured through convertible equity (CE) subscription warrants in July 2022

Tsubame BHB was established in April 2017 to achieve the social implementation and commercialization of on-site ammonia production at small, distributed ammonia production plants capable of synthesizing ammonia at low temperatures and low pressures, using the world’s first electride catalyst method. The Heraeus Group, based in Hanau, Germany, is a major family-owned technology company with multifaceted global operations. It has approximately 17,200 employees in 40 countries around the world, and boasts a diverse business portfolio that includes fields such as metals and recycling, healthcare, semiconductors and electronics, and industrials. With Heraeus participating as the first overseas investor, Tsubame BHB will develop the ammonia business and strengthen supply chains with a particular focus on Europe.

The EU decided to introduce a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) for the first time in the world, requiring businesses to report on carbon emissions from October 2023. Actual taxation based on these emission volumes is scheduled to begin from 2026. On February 6 of this year, the European Commission announced that CO2 emissions in the EU should be cut to 90% compared to 1990 levels by 2040. Given the need for CO2 reductions and actions to combat climate change in the EU, there is a growing demand for green ammonia, particularly in the chemical, transportation, and agricultural industries.

The synthetic ammonia catalysts offered by Tsubame BHB, which are produced at low temperatures and low pressures using electride catalysts, can be manufactured at small ammonia production plants, and so can be produced and consumed locally. Transport and storage processes are reduced in comparison to current procurement methods involving high-volume production at petrochemical complexes, enabling a substantial reduction in CO2 emissions.

In collaboration with Heraeus, which has a history spanning close to 400 years, Tsubame BHB uses an electride catalyst technology developed in Japan to promote the localization of ammonia production at small, distributed on-site ammonia plants, and the manufacture of green ammonia and hydrogen ammonia using renewable energy.

  • Current status of business/development

The first installation project in Japan, ordered in December 2022, is currently moving ahead steadily with plans for the start of production in August 2025. Detailed design and procurement are already complete. Receipt testing at the main device plant will begin from April 2024, and deliveries to the construction site are scheduled to begin in May.

Tsubame BHB has an R&D Center at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, where R&D targeting catalysts is conducted in collaboration with about 30 researchers. Verification tests of catalysts developed at a pilot plant in Ajinomoto Co., Inc.’s Kawasaki factory began in 2019, and over the course of four years, these tests confirmed that Tsubame BHB’s technologies had transcended the laboratory level, meeting requirements for commercialization. Catalysts suited to on-site ammonia plants are at the commercialization stage. Tests confirmed that formation and increased production on a scale of more than 100,000x could be achieved, and that after four years of uninterrupted catalyst performance operations, there was absolutely no decline in performance.

Applying government subsidies, commercialization of next-generation catalysts is expected to be achieved in a short time, with further cost reductions scheduled for the future.

  • Tsubame BHB receives orders for basic design in Japan and overseas

In December 2023, Tsubame BHB received its first order for the basic design of an overseas unit in Southeast Asia. Production of green ammonia is expected to begin from FY2026. A project order was also received for basic design on a second unit in Japan, with ammonia production similarly scheduled to begin during FY2026.

In December 2023, a letter of intent (LOI) was signed between Agri Laos Co., Ltd. (“Agri Laos“), a business partner in Laos, and the Laotian State Enterprise for Agriculture Service (“SAS”) regarding an offtake agreement for low-carbon fertilizers. Tsubame BHB and Agri Laos have formed a special purpose company (SPC) to promote the development of projects involving the manufacture of green hydrogen and ammonia and low carbon fertilizers using renewable energy and hydroelectric power in Laos. SAS plans to purchase the low-carbon fertilizers produced on this project for sales in Laos and other countries.

Tsubame BHB has received an increasing number of inquiries from overseas companies, and has initiated projects targeting the on-site production of ammonia at small-scale plants in collaboration with companies in various countries in North and South America, Southeast Asia, and Africa.

  • Future developments

The capital procured through this round of financing will go toward R&D targeting further cost reductions at small, distributed ammonia plants and the commercialization of medium-scale plants, as well as technical development costs for next-generation catalysts with a view toward large-scale plants and recruiting/labor costs, which are particularly important in the context of business operations. In this way, Tsubame BHB will contribute to the commercialization of small-scale ammonia production plants originating in Japan.

  • Investors in this round

Along with Tsubame BHB’s first overseas investor, Heraeus Beteiligungsverwaltungsgesellschaft mbH, investors participating in this round of financing will include the following companies:

List of participating investors (no specific order):
New investors: Heraeus Beteiligungsverwaltungsgesellschaft mbH, Yokogawa Electric Corporation, and Energy & Environment Investment, Inc.

  • Comments from investors participating in this round

Heraeus Beteiligungsverwaltungsgesellschaft mbH

“Heraeus has long established itself as a leader in innovation in the field of precious metal-based technologies. The Tsubame BHB technology fits perfectly with the Heraeus scouting criteria supports our efforts to lead the development of cutting-edge sustainable technologies,” said Dr. Philipp Walter, Executive Vice President Business Line Hydrogen Systems at Heraeus. “The technology complements our already broad range of sustainable solutions and helps to strengthen our position in a market that is increasingly focused on energy efficiency and decarbonization.”

Japan is a market where innovation is born – especially in the area of advanced materials. As a globally leading material technology company, Heraeus sees great potential in a stronger collaboration with Japanese companies, universities, and research institutes. Our investment in Tsubame BHB is a great example how Japanese and German companies can profit and grow together in future markets.” added Hideto Yamauchi, Representative Director, President of Heraeus K.K. in Japan.

Yokogawa Electric Corporation

“Various efforts are being made around the world to realize a decarbonized society, and Yokogawa is paying attention to these new energy trends. Like our customers, we believe that there will be a rising need for ammonia as a hydrogen transport medium and fuel. Yokogawa considers that Tsubame BHB’s innovative technology for the production of ammonia at a low temperature and pressure will play a key role in the attainment of a decarbonized society. By utilizing our company’s measurement, control, and information technologies, we will work together with Tsubame BHB to sustain the creation of value and address social issues,” commented Koji Nakaoka, a senior vice president and head of the company’s Energy & Sustainability Business Headquarters and Global Sales Headquarters

Energy & Environment Investment, Inc.

“Amid an urgent demand for decarbonization in various fields, ammonia is expected to be used not only as a hydrogen carrier, but also as a clean fuel in its own right, with applications for single fuel ammonia combustion in large-scale transportation (e.g., ships and aircraft) as well as thermal power generation. It has the potential to be a key driver in decarbonization, but in order to achieve this goal, renewable energy must be used in the manufacturing process as well “said by Member of the Board and Partner: Kenyu Hosoya. “Using Tsubame BHB’s technologies, ammonia can be manufactured at low temperatures and low pressures, enabling small, distributed manufacturing facilities. In this way, in addition to supporting the worldwide use of green ammonia manufactured using renewable energy, these technologies are expected to contribute to decarbonization as well.”

  • Outline of investors participating in this round 

Heraeus Beteiligungsverwaltungsgesellschaft mbH

The Heraeus Group, based in Hanau, Germany, is a global company with about 17,200 employees, operating in 40 countries around the world, and boasting cutting-edge technologies. Founded in 1660, Heraeus has a diverse business portfolio, with activities in fields such as metals and recycling, healthcare, semiconductors and electronics, and industrials.

Yokogawa Electric Corporation

Yokogawa Electric, a major electrical equipment company, is one of Japan’s top manufacturers specializing in industrial instruments and process control systems. Using measurement, control, and information technologies, it contributes to resolving social issues through business in the control, measurement, communications, and life science fields.

Energy & Environment Investment, Inc.

Energy & Environment Investment was established in 2006 as a venture capital company specializing in the energy and environmental fields. It invests in and supports the growth of startup companies with innovative business models and technologies that contribute to the realization of a sustainable society, with a particular focus on decarbonization.

  • About Tsubame BHB

Tsubame BHB’s corporate philosophy is to “resolve issues faced by mankind in the context of environmental and food related issues through the use of original technologies, in order to achieve a sustainable society.” We are a deep tech company that strives for practical applications of on-site ammonia production at small, distributed plants using technologies that dramatically reduce the extraction of CO2 in comparison to conventional methods, by producing ammonia at low temperatures and low pressures. Founded in 2017, we utilize electride catalyst technologies developed by Honorary Professor Hideo Hosono of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, and we are currently strengthening the rollout of overseas business with a focus on regions including North and South America, Australia, and Africa. Last year, we were invited by the Japanese government to attend the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), where we had an exhibit booth.

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Cleantech

Altilium secures USD 9.43 million in funding

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SQM Lithium Ventures announced its follow-on investment of USD 9.43 million in Altilium, a UK-based clean technology group focused on supporting the energy transition to net zero, bringing its total investment to USD 12 million.

The investment completes Altilium’s Series A funding round and marks the largest investment to date for SQM Lithium Ventures, the corporate venture arm of the lithium business of Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (SQM), one of the world’s leading producers of battery-grade lithium.

The additional funding follows a year of strong progress in the scaling up of Altilium’s proprietary battery recycling technology and underscores both companies’ commitment to developing a circular economy for sustainable and low carbon battery materials.

SQM Lithium Ventures made an initial investment of USD 2.57 million in Altilium last year. Since then the company has hit a number of key development milestones, including the expansion of its UK recycling facilities, enhancement of its proprietary EcoCathode™ hydrometallurgical process and strengthening of its senior management team.

Going forward, the additional funding will accelerate the scale-up of Altilium’s UK and European activities, paving the way for the roll-out of the company’s full battery circularity customer offering, encompassing zero-carbon EV battery collection, black mass recycling and chemical refining direct to cathode active material (CAM).

Key developments for 2024 will include:

Construction of Small-Commercial Plant: The 18,000-square-foot facility in Plymouth, Devon is scheduled to begin operations mid 2024, processing significant volumes of battery precursors and cathode active materials for qualification with automakers and cell manufacturers.

Battery Recycling Stations (BRS): The raised capital will be instrumental in building the first Battery Recycling Station to efficiently transform discarded EV batteries into high-quality black mass, a crucial feedstock for Altilium’s chemical refineries.

Commencement of European Hydrometallurgical Refining: Altilium are progressing with the retrofit of an existing plant in Eastern Europe, with plans to process 8,000 metric tons of black mass to EV battery intermediates later in 2024.

Finalisation of plans for the UK’s largest EV battery recycling facility: The planned Teesside plant will have capacity to process battery waste from 150,000 electric vehicles. This facility aims to meet 20% of the UK’s Cathode Active Materials (CAM) requirement by 2030.

Altilium President & COO, Dr Christian Marston, commented:

“We are delighted to continue our relationship with SQM and excited about the journey ahead as we build a UK and European leader in battery recycling. We are immensely grateful for their belief in our business and our shared vision for achieving the lowest carbon footprint in battery raw materials.”

Altilium CEO, Kamran Mahdavi, commented:

“This round of funding with SQM Lithium Venture has been a pivotal achievement for Altilium and reflects the significant strides the business has made over the past 12 months. We look forward to building on these achievements with the support of our partners and our dedicated team.”

Carlos Díaz, CEO of the Lithium-Potasium Division of SQM, commented:

“The investment in Altilium gives SQM the chance to participate in the creation of a new industry: the recovery of critical minerals such as lithium, nickel, and cobalt from recycled batteries. This will allow us to add value to the new battery supply chain, while at the same time maintaining sustainable levels of resource consumption, water use and carbon footprint. SQM’s top priorities include attracting technical talent to the company and associating ourselves with the world’s most innovative startups, allowing us to maximize our impact in the industry.”

David Rousselle, Engineering Manager at SQM and member of Altilium’s board of directors, added:

“Lithium batteries have become an essential component of modern society, as they’re used in electric vehicles and electronic devices. Despite the importance of the circular economy, most lithium-ion batteries are still not recycled. In the US and EU, less than 1% of lithium-ion batteries are recycled, compared to 99% of lead-acid batteries. Given the growth in the electromobility market, lithium-ion battery recycling will be essential in the coming years. The investment in Altilium allows SQM to get ahead of the global recycling curve, doubling down on the company’s commitment to developing solutions for human progress and working toward economic, social, and environmental sustainability.”

In addition to providing capital investment, SQM Lithium Ventures also brings considerable experience in large-scale project delivery and a commitment to innovation and sustainability.

With substantial backing from UK Government Innovation grants, Altilium is leading the charge in the UK’s journey towards establishing a national champion for EV battery recycling. Altilium’s proprietary EcoCathode™ process converts old EV batteries and manufacturing scrap into domestic, sustainable, battery precursors, cathode active materials (CAM) and cathode precursor (p-CAM) for direct reuse in new batteries.

Recovering over 95% of crucial metals from old EV batteries will contribute to a UK domestic and sustainable supply of battery raw materials, reducing carbon emissions by over 50% and reducing the cost of cathode active material by more than 20% compared to conventional virgin mining practices.

About Altilium

Altilium is a UK-based clean tech group that will reshape the UK and European automotive supply chain by offering high volume, low carbon domestic sources of cathode and anode materials from recycling waste streams already in circulation, such as lithium scrap.

The company’s proprietary EcoCathode™ process converts end-of-life EV batteries and manufacturing scrap into domestic, sustainable, battery precursors, cathode active materials (CAM) and cathode precursor (pCAM) for direct reuse in new batteries.

Altilium’s first mini-commercial plant is currently under construction in Plymouth while its planned Teesside plant will be one of the largest EV battery recycling facilities in Europe. The plant will have the capacity to process scrap from over 150,000 EVs per year, producing 30,000 MT of CAM, enough to meet around 20% of the UK’s expected needs by 2030.

About SQM Lithium Ventures

SQM Lithium Ventures, launched in December 2022, seeks to invest in growing companies solving challenges related to lithium, water, and electromobility. The up-to USD 40 million fund invests tickets averaging USD 3 million, plus follow-on investments, in companies across the globe, and also operates an acceleration program based in Antofagasta, Chile, for earlier-stage startups within the same three verticals. Parent company SQM is one of the world’s largest producers of lithium for use in electric vehicle batteries.

The fund has a global presence, with team members in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. After evaluating more than 500 companies and completing four investment committees to date, the fund is advancing rapidly in conversations with several of the most innovative companies in its verticals.

The selection process consisted of several months of diligence and meetings with the Altilium team, culminating with an investment committee with participation of SQM’s CEO, largest shareholders, and key company leaders. SQM plans to add value with its global presence and vast expertise in lithium value chains, as well as a role in the company’s board of directors.

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