Climate Tech Firm CarbonCapture Closes $35 M Series A Funding

Highlights :

  • The firm will use the funds to establish initial deployments of its renewable energy-powered Direct Air Capture (DAC) systems in locations throughout the U.S.
  • The firm also announced the appointment of Adrian Corless as CEO.

CarbonCapture, a climate tech company that makes machines that remove CO2 directly from the atmosphere, has announced the closing of a $35 million Series A funding round and the appointment of Adrian Corless as CEO.

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CarbonCapture will use the funds to accelerate product development efforts and to establish initial deployments of its renewable energy-powered Direct Air Capture (DAC) systems in locations throughout the U.S. ,starting with the Tamarack Nickel Project in central Minnesota in partnership with Rio Tinto PLC and Talon Metals Corp.

Analyses by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change show that humanity must remove billions of tons of CO2 from the atmosphere in order to keep global warming to less than 2°C. To address this urgent need, CarbonCapture has developed a set of technical innovations that “enable, for the first time, the use of zeolites for capturing CO2 as part of a commercial DAC system.” A class of molecular sieves, zeolites are said to be inorganic, inexpensive, long-lasting, and non-toxic. Moreover, they are already manufactured in very large quantities for multiple industrial applications, eliminating a major barrier to economically scaling DAC to gigaton levels, says the firm.

“I’m incredibly excited about the opportunity to lead CarbonCapture,” said CEO Adrian Corless. “This funding, in combination with our transformative technology, world-class team, and top-tier commercial partners, provides us with all of the necessary ingredients to quickly become the leading DAC company in the U.S.”

Corless was formerly CEO of Canadian DAC company Carbon Engineering, where he successfully piloted the firm’s technology and built the company into a recognized leader in atmospheric carbon capture and synthetic fuels production, according to CarbonCapture.

Prime Movers Lab led the Series A investment. Also participating in the round were international mining and metals companies Rio Tinto, Idealab Studio, Idealab X, Marc Benioff’s TIME Ventures, and several additional VC firms and family offices. Equity financing raised by CarbonCapture since inception now totals more than $43 million.

“By 2050, DAC companies will capture upwards of 5 to 10 gigatons of CO2 from the atmosphere each year. We are honored to participate in the very early stages of a new $500 billion plus industry,” said Brandon Simmons, general partner at Prime Movers Lab. “We identified Carbon Capture Inc. as having the winning tech and team in the field, and we are thrilled to partner with Adrian Corless and Bill Gross and provide the capital to scale this critical enterprise.”

“Removing carbon from our atmosphere is one of the most effective and important ways to fight climate change,” said Marc Benioff. “Carbon Capture Inc. represents the spirit of innovation we need to solve our climate crisis, harnessing next-generation technologies to take carbon out of the atmosphere and avert the worst effects of climate change.”

In addition to being designed to use renewable energy sources, including solar and geothermal, a unique aspect of CarbonCapture’s DAC machines is that they are highly tunable. For example, for each ton of CO2 captured from air, they can be set to also capture between 1 and 5 tons of pure water, which is particularly valuable in arid or drought-affected regions. Further, CO2 output purity can be lowered to align with storage strategies that do not require food-grade purity, such as injection into building materials, mine tailings, or geologic formations that mineralize CO2.

CarbonCapture is partnering with companies that are developing cutting-edge approaches to storing carbon in mineral form through natural chemical reactions. The company’s first deployments will be with Rio Tinto and Talon Metals, with feasibility studies beginning in Q4 2021 at the Tamarack Nickel Project in central Minnesota.

“Our investment in CarbonCapture shows Rio Tinto’s commitment to supporting innovative technologies that can make a meaningful contribution to addressing the climate change challenge,” said Nigel Steward, Chief Scientist at Rio Tinto. “We look forward to working with CarbonCapture to explore the potential for permanently mineralizing and storing CO2 at Rio Tinto’s sites, which may also offer new commercial opportunities.”

CarbonCapture was created at Idealab Studio, the technology incubator founded by serial entrepreneur Bill Gross. Other pioneering companies founded by Bill Gross that aim to make a major impact on global sustainability include Heliogen, a provider of AI-enabled concentrated solar power, and Energy Vault, a provider of gravity-based grid-scale energy storage.

“I’ve made it the purpose of my life’s work to combat climate change by creating technology that will rapidly decarbonize the planet,” said Bill Gross, founder, Idealab Studio and co-founder, CarbonCapture. “Heliogen is replacing fossil fuels with carbon-free energy from sunlight, Energy Vault is deploying cost-effective and sustainable renewable energy storage technology, and now CarbonCapture is cleaning the atmosphere by removing massive amounts of CO2. I’m confident that, with Adrian at the helm and with the support of our investors, CarbonCapture will follow in the footsteps of Heliogen and Energy Vault as it progresses toward large-scale deployments of its technology.”

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