An epochal transition to clean energy is accelerating. Learn about the drivers, see what past transitions teach us, and explore what comes next.

Amyris: From Antimalarial To Hypergrowth DTC

Amyris may be the first synbio company to have cracked product market fit by selling direct to consumers.

Emerging frontier technologies like synbio are very hard to commercialize. There are no playbooks. Early on, processes are inefficient and expensive.

To come down the cost curve usually requires first hitting product market fit in niche, beachhead markets. I've written about this for solar, lithium ion batteries and historical traction in coal, steel, oil, automobiles, electricity, aluminum and more.

What are the early niche markets for synbio? Therapeutics (bio-based drugs) have strong traction. These are low volume, very high value + margin products where yields don’t matter as much. They often can only be made using bio.

But what other markets help pull demand forward?

Many startups are betting on variety of bio-produced materials, food products, specialty chemicals and more.

Which brings us back to Amyris. It may well have more consumer


Built With Bio Review

For using clean, cheap electrons to build the future, I think electrochemistry and synbio will be really important.

I knew a little about electrochemistry startups and trends, but almost nothing about synbio. So I immersed myself at the BuiltWithBio conference in Oakland.

Here are four short takeaways.

📉 Falling costs to read and write DNA

🎛 Control over material properties vs existing materials/foods

⚙️ Tooling is improving iteration speed

📈 Fermentation capacity is a big bottleneck

Before we dive in to these, first a little context. I had been sleeping on the potential of synbio to produce valuable chemicals, foods and other products from clean inputs. But these pathways enable so many products categories that can be far better than what we have today.

I’m interested mostly in chemical and food applications, but synbio goes way beyond that. As per Drew Endy, one of the leading thinkers, academics and advisors in the


The Clean Energy Transition, A Guide

Powered by solar, wind and lithium-ion batteries, the clean energy transition is reshaping the world.

Just over a year ago, I would not have believed that statement.

Back then, I did not appreciate just how fast these changes were multiplying. I have since learned a ton about energy transitions and climate tech, crunched the data and triangulated insights.

Today, I have no doubt about the clean energy transition and the impact it will have on our lives and societies. The phrase energy transition is also an understatement and few people alive have lived through one before to know any different. Looking at history overcomes our collective amnesia to see how important energy transitions have been, and hints at the path we are on now.

Very simplified view of the shift to clean energy technologies.

This post explains what is driving the transition and explores emerging opportunities. Fairly new to the


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