New Iridium use light-driven chemistry to replace heavy metal catalysts and drive green-chemistry solutions.


  • Reduced cost
  • Reduced energy use
  • Reduced use of heavy metals


  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Chemical manufacturing

UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 7: Affordable & Clean Energy

  • Goal 12: Responsible Production & Consumption

The Challenge

Conventional chemical processes are energy-intensive, often requiring high temperatures and multiple process steps. Globally, the chemical industry consumes about 25% of the energy used across all manufacturing industries and generates significant waste.

Innovation Details

New Iridium has created a suite of organic chemicals that enable photocatalysis, or light-driven chemistry, eliminating the need for heavy metals or heat as s. Their technology dramatically reduces the energy and time required for a wide variety of chemical reactions, lowering costs and paving the way for green chemistry to become industry standard. With products currently being used by pharmaceutical and chemical companies, New Iridium is working toward developing a platform that mimics by using light energy to convert water and CO2 into chemical energy.


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Watch how New Iridium uses light instead of heat or heavy metals to power chemical transformations.

Biological Model

Photosynthesis converts solar energy into chemical energy that plants use to grow. First, light-sensitive loses electrons as it absorbs blue and red wavelengths of light. These freed electrons become mobile forms of chemical energy that two molecules— and NADHP—carry around like energy transport buckets. The energy these buckets cart around forces carbon dioxide to combine with other molecules, forming —the plant’s own food source. When plants have enough sunlight, water, and fertile soil, the photosynthesis cycle churns out more and more glucose, powering continued plant growth.

Ray of Hope Prize

The Ray of Hope Prize celebrates nature-inspired solutions addressing the world’s biggest environmental and sustainability challenges. Created in honor of Ray C. Anderson, founder of Interface, Inc. and a business and sustainability leader, the $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize helps startups cross a critical threshold in becoming viable businesses by amplifying their stories and providing them with equity-free funding. The prize shines a light on the innovative, nature-inspired solutions that we need to build a sustainable and resilient world. New Iridium was selected as a finalist for the 2021 Ray of Hope Prize.