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Bill Gates’ climate fund invests €12M in this France-born pulsed-power startup transforming mining

Bill Gates
Image credits: vitanovski/Deposit Photos

I-ROX, which uses its unique expertise in electrical energy to power disruptive industrial solutions, has received €12 million in funding. The investment came from Breakthrough Energy Venters – Europe (BEV-E), the climate fund founded by Bill Gates. The fund has already backed California-based startups Terabase Energy and Weavegrid in the past.

BEV-E’s investment validates I-ROX‘s approach to driving reduction in particle size for a range of industries, especially mining and raw materials processing. It uses surges of electricity to shatter rocks and mineral ores, which will reduce energy usage and carbon emissions at mines.

I-Pulse Chairman Robert Friedland commented, “For the mining industry to move to carbon neutrality and beyond, it has to re-invent the entire mining process, and especially how it generates and consumes energy. A significant element needed to meet that goal is to reduce energy consumption in the grinding and crushing circuit, which represents over half of the total energy usage of a mine. I-ROX’s application of pulse power technology holds the potential to achieve exactly that while also being far cheaper and faster than today’s conventional grinding processes.”

“Minerals such as copper, nickel, and cobalt are essential for the energy transition,” said Carmichael Roberts of Breakthrough Energy Ventures. “In I-ROX, we see a rare opportunity to dramatically reduce the energy demand related to the actual processing of such mineral ores. The company’s technology, led by a deep and experienced team, offers a low energy solution that should help reduce any green premium around these materials and ultimately help the world achieve its broader climate objectives.”

New appointment!

In addition to the investment, I-ROX also announced that Dr. Mahadevan Krishnan will serve as its Head of Technology and Innovation. Dr. Krishnan is a plasma physicist who has extensive experience with pulsed power, having contributed to the building and operation of a multi-terawatt (trillion watts) flash X-ray and other generators for the United States Defense Department.

Dr. Mahadevan Krishnan, Head of Technology and Innovation at I-ROX commented, “Our proposed disruptive pulsed-power comminution solution aims to drastically reduce electricity consumption and carbon emissions, paving the way for tomorrow’s new mines.”

What does I-ROX do?

I-ROX is a collaborative effort between BEV-E and I-Pulse, a private American company and a global leader and developer of pulsed-power technology with its research facilities based in Toulouse, France. Founded by Robert Friedland and Laurent Frescaline in 2005, I-Pulse Inc., is a private U.S. company headquartered in France.

I-ROX is a startup in the mining industry that aims to provide a new, more efficient grinding process to extract valuable minerals from ores. With an ever-increasing demand for metals such as copper, the consumption of electricity dedicated to grinding already represents 4% of the electricity produced in the world. The company aims to reduce this amount significantly, thereby contributing to the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Picture credits: ChinaImages/Depositphotos

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