Climeworks AG, a Swiss climate startup, raised 73 million Swiss francs ($76 million) in a private funding round.
Climeworks builds machines that catch carbon dioxide from the air and store it in solid state underground. It also takes the CO2 and delivers it to industrial clients, such as The Coca-Cola Co., who can then use it to put bubbles in drinks.
The fundraising marks the biggest private investment in a direct air capture firm to date, the company said Tuesday.
Big polluters are under mounting pressure to help prevent a damaging rise in temperatures, and carbon capture is increasingly luring investors as a tool to curb emissions. Whether pulled from the exhaust of smokestacks or from the open air, the CO2 can be buried underground or used to extract oil.
Apart from Climeworks, Canadian startup Carbon Engineering and U.S. startup Global Thermostat are looking to scale up direct air capture technology. Like with most technologies at early stages, it’s expensive -- often costing more than $250 per metric ton of carbon dioxide captured.
Climeworks offers offset subscriptions to individuals at 1 euro ($1.12) per kilogram of carbon dioxide captured, which works out to about $1,100 per metric ton.
No pathway to limit global warming to safe levels exists that doesn’t envision some use of the technology. Companies, like Occidental Petroleum Corp and ExxonMobil Corp., are considering direct air capture to provide CO2 for enhanced oil recovery at remote sites.
“We’re planning to further develop our technology and make it accessible to even more clients, including individuals,” said Christoph Gebald, co-chief executive officer of Climeworks. “We will use the proceeds to build a new plant with a capacity of about 100,000 tons.” The operations could start as early as 2022.
The firm employs over 100 people in Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands, where it bought direct air capture technology developer Antecy BV last year.
“Private investors and family offices from Switzerland and neighboring German-speaking countries took part in the funding round,” Gebald said, without disclosing names of the investors. An initial public offering is an option for Climeworks in the future, according to Gebald.
Swiss lender Zuercher Kantonalbank also took part in an earlier funding round and holds a stake in Climeworks. The total sum invested in Climeworks comes to 120 million francs.
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