23 episodes

Discussions about climate change, energy, sustainability, innovation from a chemistry perspective

Activation Energy Selma Duhovic

    • Science
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

Discussions about climate change, energy, sustainability, innovation from a chemistry perspective

    19. Ginger Rothrock (HG Ventures) on investing in industrial tech

    19. Ginger Rothrock (HG Ventures) on investing in industrial tech

    I speak with Ginger Rothrock of HG Ventures about investing in industrial technologies.


    (0:00) Introduction
    (0:43) Industrial tech defined
    (1:33) Examples of current innovations with industrial use cases
    (3:07) How novel industrial tech will impact existing value chain/ecosystem
    (4:49) The promise and potential of industrial tech in averting the climate crisis and achieving sustainability
    (7:26) Regulatory environment (EPA, SEC)
    (9:28) Investing in industrial tech, flow and allocation of capital
    (11:44) Investment landscape
    (13:24) How VCs make money by investing in industrial tech
    (15:44) Risks and challenges when investing in industrial tech
    (17:58) Current state of economy and impact on early-stage investment activities
    (18:59) What investors look for
    (20:50) HG Ventures – mission, investment thesis, value-add
    (23:50) Advice for entrepreneurs when pitching to investors and building companies

    • 25 min
    18. Mitch Krauss on sustainability in apparel, semiconductor, and beverage industries

    18. Mitch Krauss on sustainability in apparel, semiconductor, and beverage industries

    I speak with Mitch Krauss about sustainability, circularity, environmental and health safety in textiles, semiconductor, and beverage industries.

    (0:00) Introduction
    (0:39) Apparel and textile industry
    (1:32) UN Project
    (2:42) Apparel industry value chain
    (4:29) Perfluorochemicals
    (7:45) Sustainability in apparel industry
    (9:47) Apparel production’s impact on environment
    (14:24) Semiconductor industry
    (15:42) RoHS Directive
    (18:53) How semiconductors are made
    (21:43) Use of water in semiconductor manufacturing
    (27:05) Beer industry and brewing beer
    (29:41) Norfork Brewing

    • 34 min
    17. Gabriel Thoumi (Responsible Alpha) on plastics and sustainability

    17. Gabriel Thoumi (Responsible Alpha) on plastics and sustainability

    I speak with Gabriel Thoumi of Responsible Alpha, a consultancy whose mission is to support businesses and communities in securing a low-carbon, sustainable, and equitable future.


    (1:24) Production and consumption of plastic
    (2:53) Plastic industry’s carbon budget
    (3:59) Reconciling fact that plastic is useful in our society and economy with the fact that it is damaging to the environment
    (8:35) What the plastic industry is doing to mitigate the plastic problem and the pressure companies feel to change their behavior
    (11:58) The role of investors
    (15:40) The role of governments
    (20:25) Ramification of projected increase in demand for plastic
    (25:43) New technologies
    (31:11) Circularity and points of intervention
    (36:51) Barriers to transitioning from linear to circular economy
    (40:28) How transitioning to circular economy creates opportunities
    (42:03) Short-term vs. long-term thinking

    • 45 min
    16. Tina Tosukhowong (TDK Ventures) on investing in deep tech startups

    16. Tina Tosukhowong (TDK Ventures) on investing in deep tech startups

    I speak with Tina Tosukhowong of TDK Ventures about investing in deep tech startups.


    (0:00) Introduction
    (0:49) Defining deep tech
    (1:21) Distinction from clean tech
    (3:00) What drives investment in deep tech
    (5:35) Risks in deep tech ventures and their investors
    (9:07) Challenges faced by startups and investors
    (12:36) Characteristics of successful deep tech startups
    (15:53) Deep tech ecosystem
    (18:27) Traditional vs. Corporate venture capital
    (21:32) TDK Ventures

    • 26 min
    15. Rajiv Banavali (WestRock) on innovation and sustainability

    15. Rajiv Banavali (WestRock) on innovation and sustainability

    I speak with Rajiv Banavali, the senior vice president of science and innovation at WestRock, the second largest American packaging company.


    (0:00) Introduction
    (0:44) Definition of innovation
    (1:28) Distinction between breakthrough and incremental innovation
    (3:53) Identifying opportunities for innovation
    (5:32) Figuring out what customers and their customer want
    (8:10) Predicting which products will be successful and which ones will fail
    (10:27) Setting an innovation strategy
    (12:42) Role of science at WestRock and drivers of new ideas
    (17:51) Designing products for sustainability
    (20:25) Resources needed for innovation
    (23:37) Creating a culture of innovation
    (26:23) Innovation killers
    (28:38) Sustainability as a value driver
    (30:29) What drivers sustainability
    (34:56) Circular economy in packaging industry
    (37:03) Innovation in packaging industry
    (38:37) Exciting development in packaging
    (41:14) Innovation at WestRock
    (44:21) Regulation
    (46:18) Government’s role in creating and supporting innovation

    • 48 min
    14. John Warner (Zymergen) on sustainability

    14. John Warner (Zymergen) on sustainability

    I speak with Dr. John Warner of Zymergen and Beyond Benign about sustainability in the chemical industry.


    (0:00) Introduction
    (1:03) Chemical industry as an actor in society and economy
    (4:31) Green chemistry
    (5:54) Teaching chemistry skills
    (10:50) Beyond Benign
    (20:11) Marketing and public relations in the chemical industry
    (22:24) Communication
    (24:03) Financing sustainability efforts
    (30:59) Numbers and narratives in startups

    • 38 min

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