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Exclusive: Pascal raises $8M to make solid coolant

Illustration of HVAC fan blades overlaid with money.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Pascal, a startup that makes refrigerants, raised an $8 million seed round to replace coolant gas with a solid.

Why it matters: Solid refrigerant eliminates one of the most potent greenhouse gases in the world, while cutting cooling costs as much as 80%.

The big picture: Pascal is working with colorful powders that trap and remove heat more efficiently than coolant gas.

  • The idea of using solid refrigerant has been around since the 1970s. Pascal's breakthrough is figuring out how to do so more cheaply.

Zoom in: The approach hinges on pressure. Conventional fridges and air conditioners use pressure to convert coolant liquid into gas, a process that chills surrounding air.

  • Pascal found a cost-effective way to apply pressure to solids.

Those solids for now can resemble white, purple, and gold coffee grounds. They may end up being closer to a film, coating or some other material as the company develops its tech.

  • The actual molecules go from looking like dry stalks of spaghetti to squiggles of cooked pasta, and then back again.

Driving the news: Engine Ventures led Pascal's all-equity round, which closed April 19.

  • Khosla Ventures and existing investor Blindspot Ventures joined.
  • Engine Ventures general partner Michael Kearney joined the board, alongside CEO Adam Slavney and a yet-to-be-named independent member

Pascal is targeting commercial refrigeration, where products and customer needs tend to be more uniform than home HVAC setups.

  • The Boston-based startup plans to use the seed round to develop what it's calling a commercially relevant prototype.
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