CO2 is a major factor in global warming. And new technologies are being developed around the world to either avoid generating CO2, or to capture the CO2 that’s being generated.
But what can you do with CO2, once you’ve captured it?
There are a number of companies working on this. They make concrete and cement from CO2, jet fuel, textiles, plastics, lenses, laundry detergents, and other materials.
For this article, I used our tech discovery software here at Mergeflow to find and get some context on some of these companies. I did this by searching for converting CO2, CO2 upcycling, and CO2 or carbon recycling. Below, for example, is a data snapshot on converting CO2. You can click on the image to see the data.
Overview: Which company makes what?
The table below shows you which of the companies I looked at makes what material (click on the table to see it in full size):
This is not meant to be complete (as in “these are all the companies that exist that make things from CO2”) or exclusive (as in “Company X only makes the materials marked in the table”). It’s what I could determine from taking a quick initial look.
Below, I’ll describe each company in turn.
Carbon Upcycling Technologies
Carbon Upcycling Technologies makes concrete and plastics from CO2. In addition to concrete, they also make plastics from CO2. The plastics are used to make consumer products, via OCO.
And there is art too, at Captured Carbon Studio. Captured Carbon Studio was started by Annalee Levin, who was the first Artist in Residence at Carbon Upcycling.
In April 2022, Carbon Upcycling Technologies raised $6M from Clean Energy Ventures, CEMEX Ventures, Amplify Capital, Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, Zero Carbon Partners, Purpose ESG, Clean Energy Venture Group, Fund for Sustainability and Energy, Prithvi Ventures, and others.
Twelve has developed a new CO2 electrocatalysis technology. They use their technology to make materials for jet fuel, lenses, laundry detergents, and (plastics) car parts.
Twelve was called Opus 12 before. And under this name, they had a grant from the SBIR program, a US federally funded program to support science- and technology-enabled SMEs:
Utilization of Waste CO2 to Make Renewable Chemicals and Fuels
The principal investigator on the project, Sara Hunegnaw, also has a central role in Twelve’s inventors network. The screenshot below shows Twelve’s co-inventor network, extracted by Mergeflow from patents:
In July 2021, Twelve raised $57M Series A from Capricorn Technology Impact Fund, Carbon Direct Capital Management, DCVC, Munich Re Ventures, Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund, Breakout Ventures, and Evok Innovations.
Rubi Laboratories makes textiles from CO2. Their technology is patented, for example:
COMPOSITIONS, SYSTEMS, AND METHODS FOR ARTIFICIAL CARBON FIXATION, CHEMICAL SYNTHESIS, AND/OR PRODUCTION OF USEFUL PRODUCTS
And according to this article, one of their first products will be viscose, a.k.a. Rayon, which can be used as a silk substitute.
In February 2022, Rubi Laboratories raised $4.5M from Talis Capital, Necessary Ventures, Climactic, Collaborative Fund, Plug and Play, Incite Ventures, Darco Capital, Cayuse Partners, Axial VC, Climate Capital Collective, CapitalX, and others.
Rubi Laboratories’ work has received a $250,000 grant from the National Science Foundation as well.
CarbonCure Technologies and CarbonBuilt
CarbonCure Technologies and CarbonBuilt have both received XPrize awards. Both companies have developed technologies for injecting CO2 into concrete. This not only addresses the “what to do with CO2” problem but also makes the concrete stronger.
Here is a video by CarbonCure that shows how their process works (click on the image below to get to CarbonCure’s page where the video is hosted; on the page, scroll down a bit to see the video):
And for CarbonBuilt, the following image shows the traditional concrete production process (“OPC” stands for “Ordinary Portland Cement”)…
…vs. the new one developed by CarbonBuilt:
I wrote about LanzaTech in a previous article already, about bioreactors. So I’ll keep it short here. LanzaTech makes solvents, cleaning agents, and jet fuel from CO2. LanzaTech launched LanzaJet, which focuses on the jet fuel technology and business. LanzaJet plans to go public via a SPAC in the third quarter of 2022.
In 2021, LanzaJet closed a deal with British Airways to supply them with jet fuel.
LanzaTech has a substantial patent portfolio. One of the most prolific inventors in this portfolio is Michael Koepke, who is Vice President Synthetic Biology at LanzaTech. Here is a part of his co-inventor network, as extracted from patents by Mergeflow (click on the image to see a bigger version):
Perstorp, partnering with Fortum and Uniper
Perstorp is a Swedish specialty chemicals company, and Fortum is a Finnish electric power generation company, and Uniper is a Fortum subsidiary company.
Perstorp makes a range of chemicals products. One of these products is methanol. According to Perstorp’s website, “Methanol is a component in motor fuels and anti-freeze agents, also as a carbon source in the reduction of nitrogen at water treatment plants. It is also used as solvent and diluent and as raw material in the synthesis of formaldehyde and methyl acetate.”
In June 2021, Perstorp, together with project partners Fortum and Uniper, received €30M in funding from the Swedish Energy Agency, for a project that aims to produce sustainable methanol. It is called Project Air, and the goal is to start producing methanol from CO2 in 2025.
RenewCO2 has developed new catalysts for making various chemicals from CO2. Specifically, they make monoethylene glycol, methylglyoxal and furandiol. Here is an overview from their website (click on the image to see it in full size):
RenewCO2 has had two grants from the SBIR funding program:
Upcycling Carbon Dioxide: Ethylene Glycol from Cleaned Fossil Carbon Power Production CO2 and Renewable Electricity
STTR Phase I: Scalable CO2 electrolyzers for the production of ethylene glycol and chlorine