ImpactAlpha, March 21 — Direct air capture technology is needed to remove the billions of tons of carbon from the atmosphere required to achieve net-zero emissions by mid-century. But the nascent technology is expensive.
San Francisco-based Heirloom Carbon Technologies has raised $53 million from Microsoft’s Climate Innovation Fund, Breakthrough Energy Ventures and other investors to build a pilot plant to capture a few tons of carbon daily and demonstrate reduced costs for its novel carbon removal technology.
“Utilizing low-cost, earth-abundant minerals as a sponge for CO2 is key to making the economics work,” said Heirloom’s Shashank Samala. Heirloom’s carbon mineralization technology uses limestone, which can absorb carbon in days rather than years, and more cheaply than other approaches to direct-air capture.
New rules to be proposed today by the Securities and Exchange Commission are expected to mandate public company reporting on greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks. Enhanced disclosure is expected to drive demand for new approaches to directly reduce carbon emissions, in addition to carbon offsets.
Catalytic climate capital
“Our catalytic investments in durable direct air capture technologies aim to drive mainstream adoption by bringing down the green premium through large-scale deployment,” said Microsoft’s Mark Kroese. Carbon Direct Capital and Ahren Innovation Capital also led the round.
Partners, such as Stripe, Shopify, Klarna Bank and Wise Plc, already have paid for carbon Heirloom will capture in the future. Stripe says it paid more than $2,000 a ton for its share. Heirloom aims to bring down the cost to as little as $50 a ton.