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CarbonCapture Inc. Closes $35 Million Series A Funding

Published on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 | 5:35 pm
Adrian Corless, CEO of Carbon Capture Inc. at company HQ in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by James Manning)

Pasadena-based CarbonCapture Inc., a climate tech company that makes machines that remove carbon dioxide (CO2) directly from the atmosphere, said they have closed a $35 million Series A funding round and appointed a new CEO, in the person of energy systems executive Adrian Corless, a company statement said Tuesday.

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

“I’m incredibly excited about the opportunity to lead CarbonCapture,” Corless said. “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 Carbon Engineering, a Canadian DAC company, where he piloted the firm’s technology and built the company into a recognized leader in atmospheric carbon capture and synthetic fuels production.

The company cites United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change analyses showing that billions of tons of CO2 must be removed from the atmosphere in order to keep global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius.

CarbonCapture said it has developed a set of technical innovations that enable the use of zeolites – a class of inorganic, inexpensive, long-lasting, and non-toxic molecular sieves – to capture CO2. Zeolites, the company said, are already manufactured in very large quantities for multiple industrial applications, eliminating a major barrier to economically scaling DAC to gigaton levels.

“Removing carbon from our atmosphere is one of the most effective and important ways to fight climate change,” said Marc Benioff, owner of Time Ventures, one of the participants in the Series A investment. “CarbonCapture 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.”

The company statement said Prime Movers Lab led the Series A investment. Aside from Time Ventures, other participants include international mining and metals company Rio Tinto, Idealab Studio, Idealab X, and several additional VC firms and family offices. Equity financing raised by CarbonCapture since inception now totals more than $43 million.

CarbonCapture also pointed out that their DAC machines are highly tunable. For each ton of CO2 captured from air, for example, the machines can be set to also capture between one and five tons of pure water.

CO2 output purity can also 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 was created at Idealab Studio in Pasadena, the leading technology incubator founded by Bill Gross. Gross also founded 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,” Gross said. “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.”

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