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Found Energy: Decarbonizing Heavy Industry Using Scrap Aluminum as Fuel

Image Credits: Found Energy
By: Headliners News / May 3, 2024

The journey of Found Energy from “self-cannibalizing robots” to pioneering sustainable energy solutions for heavy industry exemplifies innovation born out of unexpected origins. Conceived from a concept to power space probes using recycled aluminum, the startup has pivoted its focus towards addressing pressing Earth-bound challenges, leveraging the unique properties of aluminum to revolutionize industrial energy consumption.

Peter Godart, co-founder and CEO, initially explored the idea of utilizing aluminum’s energy potential while working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. His vision was to create robots capable of consuming their aluminum components for fuel, a concept dubbed the “self-cannibalizing robot lab.” However, recognizing the broader implications of his research, Godart redirected his efforts towards solving terrestrial energy problems.

Aluminum’s abundance, energy density, and recyclability sparked Godart’s imagination, leading him to develop a groundbreaking process for harnessing its energy. By employing a proprietary catalyst, Found Energy can rapidly release the energy stored in aluminum through a controlled oxidation reaction. This innovative approach not only yields heat and hydrogen gas but also leaves behind aluminum trihydrate powder, which can be recycled to produce metallic aluminum.

The versatility of Found Energy’s technology offers a scalable solution for decarbonizing heat-intensive industrial processes. With the ability to recover energy across a wide temperature range, from 80 to 1000 degrees Celsius, the company aims to revolutionize sectors such as aluminum smelting, long-haul shipping, and marine transportation.

Found Energy’s recent $12 million seed funding round, led by a diverse group of investors, underscores the industry’s recognition of its transformative potential. By leveraging scrap aluminum as its primary feedstock, the company’s process becomes carbon negative, further enhancing its environmental credentials.

Looking ahead, Found Energy envisions a future where its sustainable energy solutions power a wide range of industrial applications, from manufacturing plants to maritime fleets. Through continued innovation and strategic partnerships, the company is poised to redefine the overall business landscape of heavy industry, driving towards a more sustainable and efficient future.

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