Racing to Space on Biofuels
Founded in 2014 by Deri, space tech startup company bluShift entered the aerospace business with a unique, environmentally-conscious approach to space travel. The company consists of a small team of engineers with aspirations to create rockets that utilize solid, bio-derived fuel to deliver delicate payloads, such as nanosatellites, to orbit.
"We want to prove that a bio-derived fuel can serve just as well, if not better in some cases, than traditional fuels to power rockets and payloads to space," Deri said. "It actually costs less per kilogram than traditional rocket fuel and it's completely non-toxic. And it's a carbon-neutral fuel which is inherently better for our planet and more responsible."
January’s launch was reported to be “the world's first commercial booster powered by biofuel.” The startup company has a number of prototypes slated for launch in the near future, hopefully built with the help of funds from investors impressed by the successful test.
According to bluShift’s website, the business has previously been funded by $500,000 in investments by the small team behind the startup company. In addition to the aerospace team’s own investments, the business also received grants from NASA and the Maine Technology Institute for the development of rockets powered by the company’s proprietary biofuel.
Space Startups Tune Into a Growing Industry
The private aerospace business is buzzing with startup companies alongside bluShift. Rocket Lab, an aerospace company based out of Huntington Beach, California, has raised $215 million in funding from investors, including Khosla Ventures and Future Fund. SpaceX, founded by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, is speculated to be valued at a minimum of $60 billion after the conclusion of a new funding round for the business in February.
Market research predicts the global space industry to reach a value of $558 billion by 2026, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6% from 2018 to 2026. BluShift’s startup company also taps into the biofuels business with its unique rocket fuel and engine design. The global biofuels market size is projected to grow at a CAGR of 6.9% from 2020 to 2027.
Aerospace startup company bluShift successfully completed the launch of its rocket prototype on January 31. The business is unique in that its booster rocket is powered by a proprietary biofuel, which the company claims is more cost-effective and eco-friendly than traditional fuels. BluShift joins an increasing number of private aerospace companies in the industry, such as Rocket Lab and Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
About the Author
James White is a Michigan State University graduate with a B.S. in Environmental Biology. He is interested in reporting emerging trends in technology, especially with regard to alternative energy and environmental conservation.