Zürich, Switzerland / Johannesburg, South Africa: Cleantech venture capital pioneer Emerald Technology Ventures announced today that it will serve as the exclusive investment advisor for Sasol Ventures, the corporate venture capital (CVC) arm of South African chemicals and energy company Sasol. The €50 million partnership, which includes investment into Emerald’s energy transformation fund, is meant to help Sasol advance its transition away from fossil fuels via collaboration with innovative startups. It is Emerald’s first tie-up in Africa and its second “CVC-as-a-service” mandate, under which it manages all of its corporate partner’s CVC activity.
Sasol is a world leader in the synthesis of liquid fuels and chemicals from coal and gas. It is pursuing a transition to non-fossil feedstocks and cleaner processes as part of its mission to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Along the way it intends to reduce its scope 1 and 2 emissions from its energy and chemicals businesses by 30%, by 2030.
Sasol’s significant presence in its home country means that its shift will help South Africa as a whole reach net-zero emissions, a goal its government has set for 2050. It could also help foster the worldwide market for low-carbon alternatives to petroleum-based fuels for hard-to-decarbonize sectors like aviation and shipping.
Emerald counts several of the world’s largest fuels and chemicals companies, including Chevron, SABIC and Mitsubishi Chemical Group, among its limited partners. It will manage the entirety of Sasol’s CVC activity via its unique CVC-as-a-service model, which it pioneered with Japanese industrial firm Nabtesco. In particular, it will hunt for deals appropriate for Sasol in emergent fields like industrial process electrification, renewable hydrogen production and other enabling technologies to sustainably produce chemical and energy products. Relevant startups in which Emerald has invested include Pemeas, HyRadix, Spear Power Systems and Eologix.
“We are very excited at the prospect of Sasol Ventures working with Emerald to play a key role in our decarbonisation ambitions. As the world accelerates its energy systems towards sustainability through emerging and disruptive technologies, Sasol Ventures places us in a position to access technology opportunities that will contribute to transforming our business,” said Fleetwood Grobler, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sasol.
“We applaud Sasol’s commitment to innovation as a major pillar of its decarbonization goals,” says Christoph Frei, Partner at Emerald. “We look forward to working with Sasol on advancing their energy transformation goals and to providing end-to-end investment services, including rich deal flow and ambitious investments into the most promising cutting-edge companies in Sasol’s sectors.”