Closing the loop – why we invested in Antec Biogas

Green energy and resource efficiency reinvented - why we invested in Antec Biogas?

If we are to reach carbon neutrality and reduce GHG emissions by 70% in the next 30 years, we must optimise energy and resource systems along multiple axes, not just technology, but also, for example, access and value chain implementation. The impact of breakthrough technologies on resource conversion (to yield more per unit of input) is compounded with business model innovation (democratising access to “green” solutions). Maximum systemic benefits stem from the confluence of such factors and Antec Biogas is a fantastic example of how this is possible. Founded in 2014 in Norway, Antec “changes the rules of the game” in biogas, away from the large, expensive units that have dominated the value chain so far, instead offering a solution that enables local installation, consumption and resource circularity.  Antec’s solutions allow rapid deployment and huge capex savings (over 80%), faster production cycles (again over 80%) and increased yield from input volume (over 20% higher), transforming the economics and practicalities of biogas production.

Built on a decade of deep technology R&D, brothers Egil and Uno Anderson, along with co-founder Eirik Gundersen, are transforming this outdated segment of renewable energy and fuel production as it continues to grow towards a €100bn annual opportunity in Europe alone. Antec Biogas fits squarely in our vision of driving significant and measurable climate impact, here, by enabling greener and more efficient energy value chains and accelerating the transition towards circularity. 

Biogas is an untapped resource 

Biogas is a green, renewable fuel increasingly seen as critical to energy systems, being a storable and dispatchable source for heating, electricity generation and the transport sector. A direct substitute for almost all end-uses of natural gas and relying on biological waste as inputs (such as agri and food waste) biogas represents a vast opportunity, with output expected to double in the next decade. These reactors also give us the opportunity to redirect waste that is ending in landfill or other polluting and GHG generating systems and to tap into its sustainable potential which, by some estimates could amount to 20% of global gas demand (a 15-fold increase from where we are today). Both biogas and biomethane have multi-layered and meaningful effects on GHG emission reductions, across end-uses of heating, energy and gaseous fuel within the bioenergy portion of the energy mix.

Existing technologies do not equip us for the road ahead

Biogas is not a new resource, but is generated today through large-scale digesters (think, multi-storey concrete tanks), a brute-force approach that ultimately does not extract the full energy potential of inputs (low conversion efficiency), is expensive to build and run and has many negative externalities. Inherent to the scale of these operations is the cost (and emissions) of transporting inputs, where they come from (e.g., “energy crops”) and unattractive unit economics that depend on policy frameworks and subsidies. The system just doesn’t make sense – we see farmers using land much needed for food output, to produce crops used entirely for biogas! Antec’s technology optimises for capital cost, installation simplicity and scale. Layered on this is vastly superior conversion, meaning they can produce more with less, at better quality and faster per unit output – thus transforming the equation.

Business model builds optionality and access 

As Europe transitions from energy crop input / feed-in tariff orientated biogas production, the need for major upfront investment, specialist construction manpower and significant volumes of input transported over long distances highlight a system that is broken. Antec’s technology and market approach is one of democratisation and access at the point of waste production coupled with optionality of output supply (as heat, electricity or gas) in grids or off-grid closed loops. For this to work, the process needs to be simple, cost-effective in both production and scale-up, highly efficient in producing superior quality gas and critically, tailored to the needs of those producing the waste e.g., local communities and businesses generating organic waste. Antec meets those needs.

We are thrilled to be working with Antec and our fellow investors Norselab and Project Sandwater to unlock the potential of the bioeconomy in energy transition and build a landmark circular economy platform. Next for Antec is continuing to expand its partnership and customer base across Europe and beyond and using its technology leadership to accelerate the biogas revolution. 

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