Vietnamese battery startup Alternō has successfully secured over $1.5 million in an oversubscribed round co-led by leading impact and venture capital funds The Radical Fund (Singapore) and Touchstone Partners (Vietnam).

Alternō said in a statement on Tuesday that the round also saw participation from Antler (Vietnam), Impact Square (Korea), and Glocalink (Singapore) along with grants from
international organizations, surpassing its initial seed funding target.

“With the upcoming carbon tax (CBAM) by the European Union on imported products, our vision not only contributes to reducing carbon emissions in agriculture but also enhances the competitiveness of Vietnamese companies on the international market with products meeting global green standards,” said Hai Ho, Co-Founder and Chief Commercial Officer of Alternō.

Alternō is a firm provides an innovative thermal energy storage solution utilizing sand battery technology tailored for agricultural applications across drying, warming, or heating needs.

This patented technology comprises insulated sand with custom heat-conducting tubes.

It ensures a seamless transition to low-carbon agricultural practices, while enabling substantial cost savings for customers in a price-sensitive sector, compared to conventional grid energy and lithium-ion batteries currently available in the market.

According to the statement, the increasing demand for thermal energy in agriculture, coupled with extreme climate change, underscores the importance of finding clean, sustainable energy sources to reduce carbon emissions.

Alternō is developing industrial versions of its sand battery systems with current capacities ranging from 250 kWh and up to 1.8 megawatts.

This will significantly save energy and reduce annual carbon emissions for farms and agricultural enterprises worldwide.

“We are very excited to be backing Alterno, who are poised to transform the application of thermal energy through novel battery technology across Southeast Asia, as well as globally – such as potential future markets of Africa, Middle East and Latin America,” said Alina Truhina, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner of The Radical Fund.

“Alterno’s integrated hardware and proprietary software currently decarbonizes Southeast Asia’s agricultural sector, which contributes to 11 percent of the region’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 13 percent of GHG emissions,

“The company is a first-of-a-kind (FOAK) thermal battery and is the only low-duration thermal energy storage (LDTES) startup in Southeast Asia addressing the agricultural sector,” she added.

It is noted that in recent years, green environment, green economy, and green growth have become a priority for global investors.

Cited PwC’s “Global Investor Survey”, the statement highlighted that over 75 percent of investors have identified or decided to invest in businesses focused on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors.

Furthermore, the report highlighted that green startups and businesses are becoming focal points and preferred investment trends among global investors.

“At Touchstone, we are deeply invested in backing ventures that combat climate change in Vietnam,” said Tu Ngo, General Partner at Touchstone Partners.

“By making sustainable heating solutions accessible and affordable through sand battery technology, Alternō is enabling farmers to adopt greener practices, contributing
significantly to Vietnam’s goal of net-zero emissions and, equally important, reducing operational costs in the agricultural sector,

“As the demand for thermal battery storage solutions grows globally, the scalability of this technology underscores its potential to meet increasing needs and contribute to broader sustainability goals,” she added.

It is noted that Alternō was one of the three winning teams of Net Zero Challenge 2023, a climate innovations competition in Vietnam organized by Touchstone Partners and Temasek Foundation.

Previously, the firm received grants from international foundations, including $200,000 from Temasek Foundation, $ 350,000 from P4G and $40,000 from Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Additionally, the company has garnered support from notable organizations such as JETRO, Qualcomm, NUS, Leave A Nest, BSSC, IBP, Hanns Seidel Foundation, Climate Launchpad, CCS, VSV, ASSIST, New Energy Nexus, and Becamex, further bolstering its mission towards sustainable energy solutions.

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