Toward the debut of the Green Tech programme at 4YFN24, we invite you to explore the latest trends in carbon capture and meet the hottest startups in this domain.
Carbon Capture Emerges As A Pioneering Technology In The Decarbonisation Process
43.100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide were emitted into the atmosphere in 2019 only from human activities: this is no more and no less than a volume of gas equivalent to filling 10 billion Olympic swimming pools or to what a single car would emit after circling the Earth 9 billion times.
To combat this problem, many companies are working to develop innovative processes that can reduce the rate of greenhouse gas emissions in industrial processes. One such initiative is carbon capture technology, which aims to sequester carbon at the very moment when it would be emitted, thus contributing to the decarbonisation of the atmosphere. It is a process that opens up the possibility that, once captured, carbon can be safely stored (Carbon Capture and Storage, CCS) and even reused to create new materials (Carbon Capture and Use, CCU).
Carbon capture and storage, Records publication by year. Source: Linknovate
Companies employing these technologies can ensure that the captured carbon is suitable for safe storage and pure enough to be efficiently transformed. In the second case, carbon reuse often involves the manufacture of new synthetic fuels (such as methane or synthetic diesel), building materials (such as cement), certain chemicals (such as polymeric material) or food production where the gas itself is used in the form of fertilizer.
Over The Last 10 Years, Carbon Capture Technologies Have Increased Exponentially
However, this is not a technology that has been around for many years, and, in fact, it stands out above all the rest due to the exponential growth it has experienced. Especially from 2019 onwards, publications and other records related to carbon capture and storage increased by 200% compared to the trend of previous years. This reflects the urgency and interest in cutting-edge technologies that support the fight against climate change. In addition, as suggested by data from innovation scouting platform Linknovate, governments are more and more interested in this tech, so that public funding to companies and institutions leading R&D on carbon capture and storage have maintained a positive trend in the last decade both in terms of projects granted and money invested, peaking in 2021 and 2023, driving the sector forward.
Carbon capture and storage, public grants by year and area. Source: Linknovate
Because of the improvement of carbon sequestration processes, the employment of captured carbon to produce new materials is also booming.
Carbon conversion, Records by year. Source: Linknovate
Both carbon capture and carbon conversion technologies are emerging trends that have been moving from academic R&D to the market only in recent years. Exactly for this reason, at 4YFN we believe that it is essential to highlight those private companies that are pioneering the change and implementing capture, storage and transformation processes in their facilities.
5 Start Ups To Halt Climate Change
So, what are some of the top companies that are becoming the main drivers of the carbon capture movement globally? We selected five startups leading carbon capture and carbon transformation that are catching investors’ attention for their innovative solutions
Climate Trade is on top of the list: they are making carbon offsetting accessible to businesses today while advancing carbon capture solutions. They provide effective carbon offsetting options for companies while actively developing and promoting carbon capture technologies, offering an immediate pathway to reduce carbon footprint and contribute to the fight against climate change.
In the transformation and reuse sector, UpCatalyst is a green technology startup focused on converting greenhouse gas CO₂ into carbon and graphene nanomaterials for use in a range of applications from electric car batteries to concrete and biomedicine. The company's main stated goal is to revolutionise the electric car battery industry by enhancing its properties through sustainable practices.
French company Dioxycle is another carbon transformation startup that has developed an innovative process to produce ethylene - a versatile chemical used in a variety of industries, from packaging to car interiors - using recycled carbon emissions. To do this, they have developed their main product, an electrolyser that uses water, CO2 and electricity as inputs to dispose of ethylene and oxygen. While electrolysis is nothing new, Dioxyle's approach is attracting attention from investors because of the energy efficiency and sustainability of their process: in fact, they recently raised a $17 million round of funding co-led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Lowercarbon Capital.
But perhaps one of the companies that has most revolutionised the carbon transformation sector is Arkeon, an Austrian startup that captures CO2 from industry and converts inorganic gasses into organic food. They harness the power of ancient microbes (archaea) to convert CO2 directly into protein ingredients. The resulting alternative proteins are carbon negative, non-genetically engineered, clean label functional ingredients.
CarbonCure, Canadian experts in carbon removal technology, partnered with US companies Heirloom and Central Concrete to extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and use it in the manufacture of cement for construction projects in the California Bay Area. They represent an innovation in the industry, pioneering the transformation into building materials.
Carbon capture is beginning to position itself as a fundamental pillar in the battle against climate change, offering innovative and effective solutions to reduce CO2 emissions and move towards a cleaner future. The role played by companies such as those described above is fundamental not only for their own modernization and success, but also for paving the way towards a greener and more promising future for our planet. We can only hope that they become an example for many other companies that want to minimize their carbon footprint and become part of this new innovative, respectful and sustainable new sector.