Posted November 6, 2023

Variable speed motor maker Infinitum receives funding injection, partners with Rockwell Automation

Infinitum, creator of the sustainable air-core motor, announced $185 million in recent funding that will be used to expand the company and increase production to meet customer demand and drive decarbonization in the industrial sector, one of the largest and hardest-to-abate emitters of greenhouse gases.

Infinitum Aircore EC motorInfinitum’s advanced motors solve the challenge of wasted energy that occurs in single-speed motors – they've deveoped a built-in variable frequency drive (VFD) that reduces energy usage by running the motor at lower speeds when possible. 

The Series E funding was led by Just Climate with participation from Galvanize Climate Solutions and NGP.

With existing investors including Rockwell Automation, Alliance Resource Partners, Riverstone Holdings, Chevron Technology Ventures, Cottonwood Technology Fund, and Ajax Strategies participated, total funding to-date is $350 million.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), motors are the largest single end-user of energy, consuming 53% of electricity globally. In the U.S. industrial sector, motors alone consume nearly 70% of total electricity used to power numerous core industrial applications, such as compressors, pumps, fans and material processing and handling equipment.

However, the majority of motors today waste energy because they operate at a single speed. Since 30% of the growth in global electricity demand by 2040 is expected to come from industrial motors as the sector expands and shifts to electrification, according to Deloitte, adoption of higher-efficiency, variable speed motors in industrial applications is therefore critical for reducing energy and emissions.

Infinitum’s motor is 50% smaller and lighter, uses 66% less copper and no iron in the stator, and consumes 10% less energy than traditional motors. Infinitum’s air-core motors, so named because the stator does not have an iron core, replace the copper-wound iron core found in traditional motors with a lightweight printed circuit board stator that is 10x more reliable. Manufacturing and servicing Infinitum motors is less carbon intensive than traditional motors and the motor’s modular design allows components to be reused multiple times.

“We believe replacing millions of outdated, single-speed motors with higher-efficiency, variable speed motors is key to helping the industrial sector meet sustainability objectives and solving the net zero challenge,” said Benoit Grobon, a director at Just Climate. “Infinitum’s motors are a disruptive, high-impact solution that can be produced at scale and easily implemented to benefit industry through reduced energy consumption and waste. We’re pleased to welcome Infinitum’s team to our portfolio of climate-focused companies and be a part of their growth journey.”

The implementation of advanced motor technology in the U.S. industrial and commercial sectors has the potential to save 127 terawatt-hours per year (TWh/yr), translating into cost savings of $14.7 billion and reductions of 90.2 MMT of CO2, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. This is equivalent to the annual electricity use of all households in California and North Carolina combined.

To accelerate the adoption of high-efficiency, variable speed motors across the global industrial sector, Rockwell Automation and Infinitum are jointly developing a motor system that is compatible with Rockwell’s market-leading industrial automation solutions. The resulting motor and low-voltage drive solution will be distributed through Rockwell, expanding the opportunity for global industrial sector clients to easily deploy a sustainable motor system and cut energy consumption, operating costs and material waste.

“We recognize the vast opportunity that Infinitum’s motors can have across numerous applications to make the industrial sector more productive and sustainable,” said Barry Elliot, vice president & general manager, power control, Rockwell Automation. “The ease and benefits offered by Infinitum’s combined motor and VFD system can serve as a catalyst for industrial companies to easily transition to using VFDs and save on energy costs. We’re excited to expand our partnership with Infinitum and look forward to the impact it will have on decarbonizing the sector.”

“Partnering with Just Climate, Galvanize Climate Solutions, NGP, Alliance Resource Partners, Rockwell Automation and our existing investors in this investment round is an exciting milestone, and will allow us to make a bigger impact,” said Ben Schuler, founder and CEO, Infinitum. “Our talented team has worked to deliver an award-winning motor that can power the world’s industrial applications with less energy, material and waste to make a positive impact on our planet today and serve generations of the future.”