Surge in Investment in Carbon Removal Startups
The urgent need to address the surplus of carbon in the atmosphere has led to a surge in innovative approaches aimed at finding stable and contained storage solutions. Startups in the carbon removal sector have attracted substantial investor interest, receiving hundreds of millions in funding this year, according to data from Crunchbase. These startups have developed strategies that go beyond concepts to provide viable carbon removal solutions.
Recent funding trends have shown a notable increase in financing activities related to carbon removal initiatives. This surge in investment signifies a growing recognition of the need to explore alternative solutions, considering the slow uptake of clean energy sources. It also highlights the pressing need to fast-track the deployment of effective carbon reduction measures alongside existing clean energy efforts.
Here are some startups with interesting carbon removal technologies, categorized by the places where they store the carbon.
Stowing Carbon in Soil
One common place to store carbon is in the soil. While capturing carbon through soil won’t be enough to remove what’s already in the air, it does help reduce emissions. Loam Bio, an Australian startup, aims to improve the quality and quantity of soil carbon capture through its unique microbial technology. The company closed a $73 million Series B round in February and claims that its carbon-sucking technology can turn croplands into giant carbon sinks.
Sucking-in Carbon Through the Ocean
Another trending way to store carbon is through the ocean. Two startups, Ebb Carbon and Captura, are developing technologies to capture and store carbon in this body of water. Ebb Carbon, based in California and founded by former executives of Google X and Tesla, secured a $20 million Series A funding. The ocean-based carbon removal company offers a solution to remove carbon at a gigaton scale. They use an electrochemical ocean alkalinity enhancement technology, which speeds up the natural process of ocean alkalization while safely sucking in CO2 from the atmosphere.
Captura, also based in California, is developing direct ocean capture (DOC) technology that filters CO2 out of seawater, enabling oceans to remove more carbon. Their process uses only renewable electricity and seawater to remove CO2 from the air, with no by-products and no absorbents. Captura attracted $12 million from investors.
Locking Away Carbon in Concrete
Buildings, particularly those made from concrete, are major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. Several startups are creating ways to make low-carbon concrete and even carbon-negative concrete. CarbonCure Technologies, a Nova Scotia-based company backed by Amazon and Microsoft, is a leader in carbon removal for the concrete industry. Each ton of removed CO2 generates a credit. The startup injects captured carbon into fresh concrete, locking it up so it doesn’t return to the atmosphere. CarbonCure Technologies attracted $80 million in a new equity round led by Blue Earth Capital in July.
C-Crete Technologies is another significant player in this field. The startup innovates carbon sequestration for its patented cast-in-place concrete. Its technology captures CO2 and uses it as an ingredient for a cement-free, carbon-negative concrete. Each ton of C-Crete’s cement-free binder can prevent 1 ton of carbon emissions. The company received funding support from the U.S. Department of Energy, totaling almost $3 million.
While these startups have demonstrated that their technologies work in capturing and removing carbon from the atmosphere, scaling them up remains unproven and carries a major risk, as noted by climate experts. However, the significant investments flowing into these ventures indicate confidence in their technology deployment and scalability.
In summary, the surge of innovative startups in the carbon removal sector reflects a growing commitment to combat climate change by deploying practical solutions to store carbon across diverse environments. Although the scalability of these technologies remains a concern, the significant investments in these ventures underscore a growing confidence in their pivotal role in mitigating the effects of excessive carbon in the air.