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Vertus Energy Raises $1.2m To Boost Biofuel Production

Climate tech startup Vertus Energy has raised $1.2 million in a pre-seed funding round led by Icehouse Ventures with support from Outset Ventures, Startmate, and NOAB Ventures, to expand its green fuel production technology.

Vertus Energy’s technology turbocharges the production of green fuel from waste, making the de-fossilisation of heavy pollutant industries that is urgently needed to fight climate change more achievable and affordable.

The company’s BRIO™ technology processes waste three times faster and produces 60% more energy than any other system on the market. The technology sits inside an anaerobic digester, which converts the methane released from sludge, manure and other organic waste into renewable energy.

To date, there have been marginal improvements with anaerobic digester systems, with their slow processing times, low methane yield (50%), and high operating costs limiting their potential for replacing fossil gas at scale. Vertus’ breakthrough BRIO™ technology represents a major advance in biofuel production, with a 80% methane yield, resulting in a considerably more powerful energy source. The technology is also adaptable to multiple waste streams, and highly resistant to contaminants.

The new funds will enable Vertus Energy to expand its field pilots, with its first BRIO™ demonstration plant scheduled to be operational on a South Auckland farm early next year. An independent research institute will be engaged to review and validate the BRIO™ technology ahead of securing local customers.

Co-founder Benjamin Howard says early discussions with some of the largest anaerobic digester operators in the United States, Latin America and Europe have been promising, with feedback indicating BRIO™ solves a unique problem and is at the forefront of the green fuel industry.

“Our aim is to be one of the biggest contributors to the world’s transition to green energy and conquering climate change,” says Mr Howard, who serves as the company's Chief Operating Officer. “We want to play an active role in making fossil gas extinct.”

He says the team is proud to be backed by prominent investors at this early stage of the journey: “Icehouse Ventures instantly believed in what we were doing and in our vision for the future. Their connections allowed us to bring together a number of highly valuable investors such as Startmate and NOAB Ventures’ John Wood, who brings 30+ years of experience in stewarding high growth companies in the energy sector.”

Icehouse Ventures Partner Barnaby Marshall says: “Vertus is poised to make a huge impact on the climate fight. The founders demonstrate outstanding courage and commitment to transitioning the planet to biofuels and we are proud to be backing them.”

The four Vertus Energy co-founders are recent alumni of the Startmate accelerator programme and include Howard; entrepreneur Santiago de los Reyes; mechanical engineer Freddy Gonzales, who has a background in hydrogen reactors; and biotechnology engineer Dr Danilo Perez, who’s been at the forefront of methane microbial research for over a decade.

The company will move into the purpose-based workshop and laboratory facilities at Outset Ventures once Auckland lockdown restrictions ease.

Research from Fortune Business Insights suggests that the global BioEnergy market is likely to reach $642 billion by 2027.

About Vertus Energy
Vertus Energy is accelerating the world’s transition to green energy. Its BRIO™ technology turbocharges the production of green fuel from waste and generates a more powerful biofuel, producing 60% more energy from the same amount of waste while also processing three times the amount of waste than any other system on the market. Vertusenergy.com

About Icehouse Ventures

Investing as a group since 2003, Icehouse Ventures is a venture fund backing brave Kiwi founders. They’ve collectively invested more than $190m into 240 startups. See https://www.icehouseventures.co.nz/

About Outset Ventures

Outset Ventures is the largest and fastest growing hub for deep tech startups in New Zealand. The company offers commercial laboratory and workshop facilities, incubation programmes and investment for early stage ventures founded on science and engineering breakthroughs. See https://outset.ventures

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