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StartGreen Capital’s Energiefonds Overijssel invests in sustainable alternative to pasteurisation

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Published: 13 April 2023

The fund has increased its investment in PEF Technologies, a tech firm developing a more sustainable, less energy-demanding alternative to traditional pasteurisation.

Traditional pasteurisation techniques (pictured) are very energy-intensive. PEF Technologies is developing alternative processes which could save 50% of energy | DuxX on iStock

Energiefonds Overijssel, one of six funds managed by Dutch impact fund manager StartGreen Capital, has invested an additional €1.5 million in PEF Technologies, which is developing a sustainable alternative technology to energy-consuming pasteurisation.

Last summer, Energiefonds Overijssel joined Icos Capital and Oost NL with its first investment in PEF Technologies, which is working on an innovative technology that can preserve liquids at lower temperatures, without loss of taste, colour and nutritional value. The company claims this process uses 50% less energy than pasteurisation.

The latest investment round will allow PEF Technologies to “further develop and market this energy-efficient and non-thermal technology”, according to StartGreen Capital. The extra funding will also create approximately 15 full-time jobs in the eastern Dutch province of Overijssel.

“We have developed a machine that can send an electrical pulse of very high intensity for an extremely short duration – nanoseconds – through products,” said Yulia Mitko, director of operations at PEF Technologies. “We use this to kill the bacteria in milk, for example. The processing temperature does not exceed 65 degrees.”

The new solution, dubbed NanoPEF, manages to make one-month old milk “just as tasty and healthy as on the day the cow was milked,” StartGreen Capital said.

Radboud Dood, investment manager at Energiefonds Overijssel, described NanoPEF as a “game-changing sustainable technology for the food industry.” He added the PEF Technologies team are “fully committed to executing the plan to make NanoPEF the next pasteurisation standard, resulting in food with better taste, better quality and in a better environment.”

StartGreen Capital

StartGreen Capital, one of the biggest impact fund managers in the Netherlands with €450m in assets under management, invests in projects and manages funds that are accelerating the transition to sustainable energy in the Netherlands.

In order to achieve a government target of making 70% of all energy renewable by 2030, tens of billions of euros of investment are needed.

StartGreen Capital has managed Energiefonds Overijssel, the biggest regional energy fund in the Netherlands, since in 2012. Other funds include the Participation Fund Sustainable Economy North Holland, the Borski Fund, the StartGreen Sustainable Innovation Fund and StartGreen Consumer Products Fund and the Next Women Crowd Fund.

StartGreen also founded Dutch sustainable crowdfunding platform Oneplanetcrowd, in 2012. Last year, the platform merged with Invesdor Group to create one of the largest financing platforms in Europe.

In February, the firm announced the StartGreen Transition Fund (SGTF) which aims to close the gap in financing local energy projects, and hopes to raise €200m from investors.

Due to inflation and the scaling back of sustainable energy subsidies Dutch banks “now often only finance a limited share of sustainable energy projects,” Anouk Blüm, managing partner of StartGreen Capital, said at the time of the fund launch. “Previously, this share could be as high as 95%. We want to help meet this financing demand, so that project developers and local energy cooperatives can still realise their projects.”

‘Linking institutional investors to local entrepreneurs’

The new fund will be operating as a debt fund, providing junior loans to regional energy projects focused on the generation, storage and saving of energy, charging stations, and making buildings more sustainable.

“With the StartGreen Transition Fund we make a major, tangible impact on a local level,” said Yildiz. “We want to link local institutional investors to local entrepreneurs to enable the transition to a sustainable future together. The need now seems greater than ever given the amount of projects we see looking for a financing solution.”

“Consumers are becoming more and more assertive,” said Welage. “This also applies to members of pension funds and endowment insurance: they want to see that their retirement savings are invested usefully, so that their children and grandchildren can also look forward to a bright, green future.”

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