Kärnfull Next receives investment from climate tech fund

07 July 2023

Danish climate tech fund Climentum Capital and Swedish social developer Granitor Growth Management are investing EUR2 million (USD2.2 million) into Swedish small modular reactor (SMR) project development company Kärnfull Next AB.

A rendering of a plant based on the BWRX-300 (Image: GEH)

"This breakthrough signifies one of the first instances of a European dark green climate fund investing in nuclear energy, marking a major milestone in climate-oriented investments," Gothenburg-based Kärnfull Next said.

It said the funding will strengthen its ongoing pre-feasibility and feasibility studies while helping accelerate the identification of potential new nuclear build sites across Sweden. "Managing multiple projects concurrently is crucial, given the strong demand for SMRs in Sweden. Representatives from Climentum Capital and Granitor Growth Management will join Kärnfull Next's board, providing strategic direction."

Kärnfull Next - a fully-owned subsidiary of Kärnfull Future AB - said its projects are aligned with both the EU Taxonomy and Sweden's energy needs, providing clean, dispatchable and reliable power. "Leading energy experts, TSOs, and government affirm the country's need for this kind of energy solution, from the perspectives of security of supply, economy and climate," it noted.

On 20 June, Sweden's parliament adopted a change to its energy targets, changing the aim to achieve "100% fossil-free" electricity by 2045, instead of "100% renewable". Changing the target is key to the government's plan to meet an expected doubling of electricity demand to around 300 TWh by 2040 and reach net-zero emissions by 2045. It means that nuclear generation can count towards the government's energy targets.

Kärnfull Next aims to have the first commercial SMR operational at a new nuclear site in Sweden by the early 2030s.

"We share the International Atomic Energy Agency view that there is no route to a net-zero scenario without a significant contribution of electricity from nuclear technology," said Malin Carlström, General Partner at Climentum Capital. "The cleanest and safest baseload source we have available today and for the next couple of decades is fission power - we need to acknowledge that, and we need to urgently build out our reactor fleets with the best available technologies".

Granitor Growth Management CEO Göran Linder added: "We see tremendous potential in Kärnfull Next's strategy to decarbonise sectors traditionally seen as challenging. This investment reaffirms our conviction that nuclear energy is a key part of a sustainable future."

"Being backed by progressive investors like Climentum Capital and Granitor Growth Management empowers us to meet Sweden's energy demands with clean, reliable and efficient solutions," said Kärnfull Next CEO and founder Christian Sjölander. "The strong support we have received accelerates our mission to revolutionise the energy sector and contribute significantly to a more sustainable future."

The issue of including nuclear energy as a sustainable investment for countries' green taxonomies has been a key one in recent years as governments seek to target spending and investment in areas that can help meet net-zero goals. The European Union included nuclear energy - with conditions and only on a transitionary basis - within its green taxonomy last year.

In March 2022, Kärnfull Next signed a memorandum of understanding with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy on the deployment of the BWRX-300 in Sweden.

The announcement of the investment in Kärnfull Next came as a study by Columbia University's Center on Global Energy Policy of the 30 global "systemically important banks" found that none explicitly includes nuclear energy in their sustainable finance taxonomies. Of those banks, 17 had explicitly excluded nuclear energy from their green financing frameworks, while 12 had frameworks that were silent on nuclear, and one had no such framework.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News