Monday, April 28, 2014

Climeworks AG Closes Series B Financing Round

Climeworks_Portrait_07_025 (2)

(c) Climeworks AG

The ETH Spin-off company and VEC finalists Climeworks AG recently announced the closing of their CHF 3 million series B financing round to further industrialize Climeworks’ CO2 product and build their first commercial scale CO2 capture plant.

Climeworks was founded end of 2009 and has since then developed its proprietary technology from laboratory to industrial scale to become Europe’s leading provider of solutions for efficiently capturing CO2 out of ambient air.

At the end of 2012 Climeworks announced the commissioning of its demonstration plant with a capacity of 1 ton CO2 per year which has since gone on to prove successful continuous operation. Currently, Climeworks is finalising the construction of an industrial scale CO2 capture unit with a capacity to produce an almost pure stream of 50 tons of CO2 per year. This unit represents the final scale-up step of Climeworks’ technology; commercial plants will be built from units of the same size in a modular way to meet individual needs of each application.

One of a handful of world-leading Direct Air Capture (“DAC”) companies, Climeworks was founded on a vision of industrially closing the carbon cycle in the energy sector. Today, Direct Air Capture systems are targeting niche applications such as the carbonation of drinks, fertilisation of greenhouses, and the packaging of fresh food – collectively a CHF 300 million market in Europe today.

As the technology matures and the impacts of climate change begin to bite harder, the direct capture and storage of CO2 from the atmosphere has the potential to be a scalable and sustainable greenhouse gas removal activity.

And ultimately, DAC’s ability to operate at scale as a renewable industrial CO2 vector may be a corner stone of a truly renewable hydrocarbon sector in the future. As one finds in nature, why go to all the trouble of mining your raw carbon materials from the ground if you can take extract them out of the atmosphere?

With air captured CO2 from plants like Climeworks’, renewable energy can be efficiently stored by producing synthetic fuels using Power-to-Gas or Power-to-Liquids technology. These fuels produced from atmospheric CO2 are carbon-neutral and do not compete with food production for agricultural crop land. There is an ever increasing market demand for such fuels in the context of increasing the share of renewables in our energy mix. In early 2014, Audi announced a collaboration with Climeworks on the road to CO2 neutral mobility. One day hopefully it will be net-CO2-negative!

The round was funded by a group of renowned private investors and the Zürcher Kantonalbank (ZKB).

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