Green companies across the U.S. have developed innovations geared toward minimizing humanity’s carbon dioxide emissions. While carbon dioxide is naturally released from events like volcanic eruptions and wildfires, it’s also the primary greenhouse gas released by transportation, electricity, industrial processes and other activities, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Carbon dioxide existing in the earth’s atmosphere isn’t inherently a bad thing. Since the gas absorbs heat, it’s largely responsible for ensuring our planet’s surface temperature stays above freezing, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA. Humanity’s carbon emissions, however, have risen by 50 percent since the industrial revolution took place in the 1800s, as found by NASA. Coupled with the earth’s natural atmospheric greenhouse effect, this rise in carbon emissions has led to a drastic increase in surface temperature, as mentioned by the NOAA, otherwise known as global warming.
As we constantly see more climate change-induced environmental damage, companies across the globe are searching for ways to limit humanity’s detriment to the natural world around us. Minimizing the impact of greenhouse gases is one of the main ways we can begin to repair the earth, and many climate tech businesses are hard at work developing solutions to shrink our carbon footprint.
Carbon Capture and Storage
One approach to dealing with our excessive carbon emissions is by trapping the emitted gas and storing it away. While the carbon capture and storage method has been around for decades, companies have been building the tech that powers it with renewed fervor as we collectively strive to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
While some of Earth’s ecosystems like forests, oceans, grasslands and wetlands naturally work to sequester atmospheric carbon, humans have developed solutions to help expedite the process. Today, technology exists that can draw in carbon directly from the air, pass it through a chemical solvent and store the carbon in places like rock formations or empty oil reservoirs.
The global carbon capture and sequestration industry is projected to be valued at $7 billion by 2028, a significant increase from its $1.96 billion value in 2020. This growing market potential likely stems from the vast array of carbon capture methods and platforms greentech companies have engineered in recent years.
Lithos, a company headquartered in Seattle, is a carbon capture innovator focused on the agriculture industry. The company’s rock weathering solution is based on a biogeochemical process that uses volcanic basalt rock dust to decompose carbon in fields, as well as nourish growing crops. Once the basalt captures the carbon in the soil, Lithos tracks that carbon as it ultimately gets sequestered in the ocean.
Oceans are an example of a carbon sink. These are ecosystems that naturally absorb more carbon than they release, as described by National Geographic. When bicarbonate dissolved by Lithos’ solution is transferred to the coastal ocean, it remains stable for thousands of years, according to Lithos’ website. The company pulled in a $6.29 million seed round in October to scale its solution.
Austin-based company Funga also takes a down-to-earth approach to capturing carbon. It leverages microscopic organisms called mycorrhizal fungi to fuel forest growth and remove carbon from the atmosphere. Funga raised $4 million in February to implement its solution in a forest in Georgia.
Carbon Emission Reduction Tech
Carbon capture and storage is one of many ways to tackle humanity’s emission issue. Several green companies have developed solutions that exercise their own creative take on reducing our atmosphere’s carbon content. Furthermore, those solutions have gained traction with investors and even other companies.
Headquartered near Chicago, LanzaTech is a biotech company that uses gas fermentation to recycle carbon into materials like fuels, fabrics and packaging. The company serves enterprise customers and helps them reduce their carbon footprint while giving end consumers a greener option for various products. Last March, LanzaTech announced plans to go public via SPAC merger and currently trades stocks on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol LNZA.
Over on the East Coast, Boston Metal engineered a way to reduce carbon emissions from steel production. The company raised $120 million in January to convert iron ore into steel using renewable energy.
Another Boston-based company called Sublime Systems secured $40 million in January to decarbonize cement production through electrolyzing ingredients instead of heating cement using fossil fuels.
Greenhouse Gas Initiatives
While carbon may be the primary gas emitted from human activities, it’s far from being the only substance of concern. Many greentech companies work to keep copious amounts of other natural gases from being released into the environment.
Methane gas, in particular, is a pollutant that can potentially warm the earth with more potency than carbon dioxide, according to the United Nations Environment Programme.
Project Canary wants to help oil and natural gas companies keep an eye on their methane emissions and equips them with data regarding their footprint. The Denver-based company pulled in $111 million early last year for its sensor-based monitoring tech.
Another methane-focused business growing its monitoring solution is Kuva Systems, a climate tech company based in the Boston metro. With the $11.3 million round it raised in January, Kuva plans to scale its autonomous infrared camera tech.
Numerous solutions focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions have seen consistent growth over the past couple of years. Backed by substantial venture capital already, climate tech companies in this space are seeing continued investments as climate change remains a globally pressing matter.
As carbon-capture tech and other solutions continue to emerge, the greenhouse gas mitigation industry will have no shortage of innovations to help us near our climate goals.