French startup Fermat closed a $35 million Series A funding round (€34 million) last month. Carbon fiber that is no longer used needs to be turned into something new that can be used in new products.
Temasek and CNP (Compagnie Nationale à Portefeuille) are leading the round, with Pictet Group, Singular, The Friedkin Group International and others participating. In total, the company has collected 45.5 million dollars (44 million euros) since its establishment.
The idea behind Fermat is very simple. Some high-tech materials, such as carbon fiber composites, have excellent properties. These materials are light, flexible and resistant. This is why you can find carbon fiber composites in wind turbines or airplanes.
As these industrial projects reach end-of-life, Fermat steps in and removes those carbon fiber composites. The startup creates a new type of material that isn’t as complex as carbon fiber composites, but that could be very useful.
You won’t find Fermat’s material in wind turbines, but you can buy items made of this new type in your everyday life. This material is called Fairmat Quest and it can cost 10 times less than new alloys and twice as much as aluminum.
And the company has made some great progress since my first article on Fermat. It has signed partnerships with 15 industrial companies including Hexcel, Tarmac Aerosave, Siemens Gamesa, Dassault Aviation and MerConcept for their carbon fiber waste. Those 15 companies represent more than 35% of carbon fiber composite waste in Europe, so it’s a very concentrated market.
At the other end of the market, some manufacturing companies are working on prototypes with Fermat’s new material. While the startup couldn’t reveal the names behind the 30 contracts, in the near future you’ll find sporting goods, audio products and furniture made by Fermat Kiust.
With today’s round of support, the company plans to progressively upgrade its automated sorting plant’s processing capabilities. Eventually, 100 robots will handle up to 3,500 metric tons of scrap per year.
In the year Fermat plans to expand to the US in 2023. There are currently 80 people working for the company. By 2025, Fermat hopes to work with 400 people.
Recycled materials have a much lower carbon footprint than virgin materials, and this is the main reason why Fermat will easily find customers in the coming years. As carbon accounting rules expand, manufacturers look to new materials like Fermat Quest to reduce the overall impact of their products.