Industry leading, Halifax-based sustainable coatings company is scaling-up to help the shipping industry to transition towards net zero emissions
April 13, 2023 (Halifax, Canada) – Graphite Innovation & Technologies Inc. (GIT), a leading sustainable coatings company transforming the marine transportation sector, has announced the successful closing of its CAD$10 million Series A financing round. The round was led by BDC Capital’s Climate Tech Fund, in collaboration with a global syndicate of climate, ocean and maritime investors including Seventure Partners’ Blue Forward Fund (France), Stolt Ventures (UK), the investment arm of Stolt-Nielsen, Farvatn Ventures (Norway), Melancthon Capital (Canada), Invest Nova Scotia (Canada), and other new and existing investors.
“The global shipping industry has a dual challenge. It must meet the demand to transport goods and people, while radically reducing its GHG emissions,” said GIT’s CEO, Mo AlGermozi. “GIT is propelling the marine sector forward towards its sustainably goals and this investment will help us reach even more customers around the globe. Our eco-friendly marine coatings increase hull and propeller efficiency, delivering significant fuel savings and GHG emissions reductions relative to existing coatings.”
The International Maritime Organization (IMO), which is responsible for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine and atmospheric pollution by ships, has set a target of significantly reduce GHG emissions by 2040 as the industry contributes ~3% of global GHG emissions. According to a new report by the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, for the global shipping industry to meet its industry targets, it must reduce GHG emissions by 45% in 2030 (vs. 2010 levels) and achieve net zero by 2050. With ~100,000 commercial vessels consuming ~300 million tons of bunker fuel per year, decarbonizing the maritime industry will require systemic industry-wide transformation.
GIT is well-positioned to help propel the marine sector forward and support worldwide sustainability shifts. Its graphene-based, eco-friendly marine coatings help vessel owners and operators increase fuel efficiency, reduce drag, and optimize a vessels’ hydrodynamics and overall performance. It also helps vessel owners score higher on their Carbon Intensity Index (CII), a critical measurement of energy efficiency and emissions per vessel, which recently came into force as of January 2023. GIT’s coatings do not contain any biocides, nor silicone-oils, and therefore do not leach toxins or microplastics into the oceans unlike traditional marine coatings currently available on the market.
“The commitment to sustainable shipping has never been greater. Global shipping companies have set aggressive climate targets, and industry bodies such as IMO, Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, Sustainable Shipping Initiative, and Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels (coZEV) are all working together to raise the collective ambition and drive adoption of climate-friendly shipping solutions,” and GIT’s CEO, Mo AlGermozi. “GIT’s coating technology can act a force multiplier, enhancing the ROI of other energy efficiency and sustainable shipping solutions emerging on the market.”
The Series A funds will be used to expand production capacity of GIT’s sustainable marine coatings, grow its global customer base, invest in the development of next generation coatings, and build strategic partnerships to accelerate commercialization.
“The shipping industry is working to develop and adopt innovations to transition towards net zero emissions and GIT has created an innovative ocean technology that not only meets this need, but also delivers additional benefits to the fragile marine ecosystem,” said Matt Stanley, Partner, BDC Capital’s Climate Tech Fund. “With proven products that deliver an attractive ROI for vessel owners and operators, ambitions to scale, and a commitment to help solve the climate crisis, GIT is exactly the type of company we like to invest in.”
As of last month, companies now have even more incentive to utilize GIT’s sustainable coatings. The UN reached a historic agreement to protect international waters through the High Seas Treaty which aims to protect and better manage marine biodiversity. This is significant for GIT’s customers as its marine coatings do not leach toxins or microplastics into the water, which is critical to a healthier ocean. According to Environmental Action, an estimated 1.9 million tonnes of paint end up in the oceans and waterways every year, representing 58% of all the microplastics entering into water, with ~18% estimated to come from the maintenance and operations of commercial ships and offshore rigs alone. Reducing these harmful toxins and contaminants is fast becoming a top-of-mind issue for national governments, coastal cities, regulators, and environmental action groups. Global shipping companies need to respond.
In addition to the fuel efficiency benefits, GIT’s coatings absorb underwater radiant noise, which can reduce stress on sensitive marine life and ecosystems that are rich in biodiversity, thereby improving “Life Below Water” (SDG 14). They can also unlock operational benefits for dry docks as its durable coating system requires fewer layers, thereby reducing the application time in dry dock. GIT’s graphene-based coatings can be applied across a wider temperature range (-5 to 40°C) compared to traditional marine coatings, thereby increasing the length of the coating season. These coating technology advantages can help to further speed up the decarbonization of the shipping industry and deliver on sustainability goals sooner than projected.
Isabelle de Cremoux, CEO & Managing Partner of Seventure Partners said, “GIT is bringing to market a suite of science-based marine coatings able to make a valuable difference on both the energy efficiency of vessels and the conservation of marine ecosystems. Blue Forward Fund™ is delighted to combine impact and financial performance and to support GIT who is bringing an immediately actionable solution towards a more efficient and sustainable shipping industry.”
“The GIT team has done an impressive job of navigating the start-up journey to bring a new class of marine coatings to a large market in need of their innovation. This investment round brings valuable new partners to the company and marks the transition from R&D phase to commercialization and growth stage. We are happy to play a part in GIT’s success.” said Lidija Marusic, Vice President of Investment, Invest Nova Scotia
About BDC Capital
BDC Capital is the investment arm of BDC, Canada’s Business Development Bank. With over $6 billion under management, BDC Capital serves as a strategic partner to the country’s most innovative firms. It offers businesses a full spectrum of capital, from seed investments to growth equity, supporting Canadian entrepreneurs who have the ambition to stand out on the world stage. Visit bdc.ca/capital.
About Stolt-Nielsen Limited
Stolt-Nielsen Limited (SNL), a long-term investor and manager of businesses focused on opportunities in logistics, distribution, and aquaculture. The Stolt-Nielsen portfolio consists of its three global bulk liquid and chemicals logistics businesses – Stolt Tankers, Stolthaven Terminals, and Stolt Tank Containers – Stolt Sea Farm and various investments. Stolt-Nielsen Limited is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange (Oslo Børs: SNI).
About Seventure Partners
Seventure Partners is a long-term equity investor that actively supports innovative companies aiming at generating positive impacts on Humankind, Society, Sustainability, and the Planet. With €950m under management as of the end of 2022, Seventure is a leading venture capital firm in Europe investing since 1997 in two main areas: (i) Life sciences (Biotech, Health & digital Health, Nutrition, Foodtech, Blue Economy, Aquaculture, Animal & Agriculture, Sport) with a specific interest for microbiome-related innovations across Europe, Israel, Asia and North America and (ii) Digital technologies in Western Europe. Blue Forward Fund™, launched in 2022 is investing in the Blue Economy.
About Invest Nova Scotia
Invest Nova Scotia offers programs, services, advice, and other resources that Nova Scotia companies need to grow. Start-ups are a key focus area for the organization, supporting them through venture capital, incubation facilities, expert advice, and other acceleration initiatives. Invest Nova Scotia’s venture capital fund targets high-growth deep technology start-ups.