Green ammonia agtech startup Jupiter Ionics plants $9 million raise

- March 5, 2024 2 MIN READ
Dr Amrutha Vijayakumar and Dr Jacinta Bakker
Dr Amrutha Vijayakumar and Dr Jacinta Bakker from Jupiter Ionics with a MacFarlane Simonov Ammonia Cell
A Victorian startup based at Monash University has raised $9 million to develop carbon-neutral “green” ammonia for the agriculture sector.

Jupiter Ionics is the result of research by scientists at the university’s School of Chemistry, Prof Doug Macfarlane, and Assoc Prof Alexandr Simonov.

The electrochemical technologies they’ve developed has resulted in modular ammonia production systems that combines nitrogen from the air with hydrogen produced via water electrolysis to make ammonia, a critical agriculture fertiliser. Their solution opens the door for regional production, overcoming the price volatility of conventional fertilisers and providing a reliable and short supply chain.

Jupiter Ionics CEO Dr Charlie Day said three new investors joined original backers Tenacious Ventures, Monash Investment Holdings, JCVC and Olabella in the raise: Wesfarmers Chemicals, CIMIC Group, and Breakthrough Victoria, the state government’s impact investment fund, which tipped in $4 million.

“Jupiter Ionics is proud of its origins in one of Victoria’s world-class universities, and energised by the impact we can deliver both within Australia and globally. We are therefore delighted that Breakthrough Victoria has decided to support our ongoing mission to accelerate the transition to a net-zero future,” Dr Day said.

“We’ve made great strides over our first few years as a company, and this investment will help us integrate our technology into larger prototypes and accelerate our path to market.”

Traditional ammonia production is very carbon intensive. The Jupiter Ionics using electrolysis to make ammonia production more environmentally sustainable as the electrolytic cells can operate with renewable electricity, water and air, rather than fossil fuels.

It also addresses an economic challenge in agriculture, enabling farmers and regional communities to benefit from a stable and cost-effective source of green ammonia for fertiliser. It also has potential in ammonia-fuelled transport.

Breakthrough Victoria CEO Grant Dooley said Jupiter Ionics would help decarbonise agricultural production systems.

“This investment aligns with our commitment to supporting innovative solutions that address both environmental and economic challenges and represents an important sovereign capability for Australian agriculture,” he said.

Monash University CCO and Jupiter board member Alastair Hick said accelerating the scaling up of green ammonia production with innovating technologies has never been more critical.

“Jupiter Ionics is making great progress towards achieving a significant global impact and we’re delighted to be part of that,” he said.