CARY, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sustaera, a direct air capture (DAC) carbon dioxide removal company spun-out of Susteon Inc., announced the closing of its $10M Series A financing round led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Grantham Trust’s Neglected Climate Opportunities LLC. Seed R&D funding was provided by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and North Carolina’s Department of Commerce through multiple grants including one in partnership with Columbia University over the past several years. Sustaera will use the investment to accelerate its research and development program and build its first pilot plant.
Limiting global temperatures between 1.5°C and 2°C will require significant and rapid scaling of carbon dioxide removal technologies. IPCC’s scenarios call for ~10 Gt/y of negative emissions by 2050 to achieve 1.5°C pathway of which DAC is to contribute up to 6 Gt/y. Sustaera’s low-cost DAC technology has the potential to provide a real pathway to meet these global carbon dioxide removal targets. At scale, Sustaera projects it will capture a ton of CO2 for less than $100/ton, serving the significant emerging Carbon Removal market projected to be >$ 1Trillion by 2030.
Sustaera’s DAC system is uniquely powered by carbon-free energy and differentiated by use of abundantly available natural minerals repurposed as carbon dioxide capture sorbents, as well as use of a modular component design to allow Sustaera to rapidly scale this technology using existing supply chains and manufacturing infrastructure. These benefits combined with significantly lower land requirements than land-based or natural CO2 capture methods, makes Sustaera a true pioneer of DAC 2.0.
“Sustaera plans to offer commercial DAC systems starting at 10 tons per day that can be multiplied to create facilities capable of capturing thousands of tons of carbon dioxide per day, with a goal of removing 500 million tons cumulatively over the next 20 years,” said Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Shantanu Agarwal.
The Sustaera team is comprised of engineers who have experience building both small and commercial scale carbon capture plants in the past. Sustaera’s sorbent can be regenerated with renewable electricity at lower temperatures, thus significantly reducing the amount of energy required which often represents more than half of the total capture cost. Sustaera plans to initially sell credits in the voluntary market with Stripe as its first customer, and is in early discussions with several interested stakeholders.
“Sustaera’s Direct Air Capture technology is based on more than 100 person-years of R&D and technology scaleup experience in material science, sorbent chemistry, process design and engineering, and sorbent manufacturing,“ said Dr. Raghubir Gupta, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, who has worked on the development and commercialization of several carbon capture and utilization technologies over the last 30 years. “We are excited to play an impactful role in capturing atmospheric carbon dioxide at scale to restore the planet’s temperature.”
Carmichael Roberts, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, said, “Sustaera's technology is positioned to accelerate the deployment of cost-efficient DAC globally using existing supply chains. This is the type of solution we look for, designed to scale quickly and provide a viable economic negative emission pathway.”
Kevin Tidwell, managing director at Grantham Environmental Trust, said in the announcement that, “We operate with a ‘Race of our Lives’ mindset where every small fraction of a degree will really matter. The Sustaera team, with their daily obsessions to find ways to cost-effectively reach a scale, as soon as possible, gives us great hope. We are grateful for their partnership.”
“We applaud Sustaera’s important work on carbon dioxide removal,” said Dr. Jennifer Wilcox, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management. “And we’re excited that DOE’s seed investment is helping to advance their innovative DAC system, which has the potential to ultimately capture millions of tons of carbon dioxide.”
Sustaera is currently recruiting mechanical, electrical, chemical, process engineers, material scientists, chemists, and entrepreneurial business majors to support its growth. To learn more about job openings and the company, visit www.sustaera.com.
Based in Cary, North Carolina, Sustaera is a Direct Air Capture technology startup with deep expertise in carbon capture, separations chemistry and process scale-up. Sustaera’s mission is to deliver low-cost, scalable, carbon removal systems to the world to “Restore the Carbon Balance”. Sustaera’s core technology is based on several breakthroughs in material science, process design, and modular manufacturing. The company is building its first demonstration unit in North Carolina in 2022. More information at www.sustaera.com
About Breakthrough Energy Ventures
Backed by many of the world’s top business leaders, Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) invests in cutting-edge companies that will lead the world to net-zero emissions. BEV has more than $2 billion in committed capital to support bold entrepreneurs building companies that can significantly reduce emissions from agriculture, buildings, electricity, manufacturing, and transportation. BEV’s strategy links government-funded research and patient, risk-tolerant capital to bring transformative clean energy innovations to market as quickly as possible.
The first fund was created in 2016 as part of the Breakthrough Energy network of initiatives and entities, which include investment funds, non-profit and philanthropic programs, and policy efforts linked by a shared commitment to scale the technologies needed to address climate change and achieve a path to net zero emissions by 2050. Visit www.breakthroughenergy.org to learn more.
About Grantham Trust’s Neglected Climate Opportunities
Neglected Climate Opportunities LLC is a climate-focused venture capital vehicle that is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust. NCO invests to redesign energy systems, improve soil health, spare the ocean from acidification, and directly recapture carbon from the atmosphere. The Grantham Environmental Trust and its affiliate, the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, believe that innovation and technology are the best hope for an enduring future. The Grantham Trust and Foundation have, for over 15 years, focused almost exclusively on climate change mitigation and currently support over eighty grantees and forty portfolio companies around the world.