Sure you can run a machine to decarbonize the air, but where’s the fun when you can invite mother nature to do the work for you? Brilliant planet does it: By using seawater and recreating the perfect growing conditions for algae to bloom, the company has created what it believes are the perfect conditions for low-cost carbon capture.
“You may have seen the IPCC report published yesterday – if you read the IPCC report, you know we missed the point where we could change your behavior and just reduce CO2 output. We have to remove carbon from the atmosphere, the carbon that we put in there. It will be important to have other ways to keep atmospheric carbon at manageable levels to limit global warming. Ideally we would just change our behavior, we would completely electrify everything in no time, but it just takes time,” lamented Adam Taylor, CEO at Brilliant Planet during the chat. Talk to TechCrunch“It takes time to change people, governments and companies, We have to do something about it. “
And that’s exactly what Brilliant Planet is doing – using algae. The company believes that there are many parts to reducing carbon – protecting forests, etc. – but around that there are also challenges; especially around the price. It wants to bring the price of a ton of CO2 removed from the atmosphere to less than $50.
Brilliant Planet is unlocking the power of algae as an affordable method for permanent and quantifiable carbon sequestration at the gigaton scale. The company’s innovative processes allow large numbers of microalgae to grow in outdoor pond systems on coastal desert soils. This is achieved without the use of freshwater, by harnessing a natural process that contributes to the health of the oceans and the air.
The process itself is essentially solar powered – since the algae are efficiently powered by the sun – but also requires running a pump to move the seawater around. There are two perks to its method; Unlike some of its competitors, the CEO is very careful not to put his name on the records, the company doesn’t use any fresh water in its process and in addition, it helps to de-acidify the seawater. used by the company.
“We have to move large amounts of seawater around, and that uses energy, but we did a lot of the design work around running the system extremely efficiently. So gravity travels down much of the system from one pond to another. We partner with the University of Southampton to optimize every aspect of paddle wheels and ponds. It takes a lot of time and effort to reduce that energy cost, Taylor explains, but essentially we need to raise the water from sea level a few meters above sea level. “In this process, we de-acidify that ocean water. So for every unit of seawater that we put in, we deacidify the equivalent of five units of ocean water back to pre-industrial levels. “
After four years of testing at its 3-hectare research facility in Morocco, Brilliant Planet will use Series A proceeds to prepare for the construction of a 30-hectare commercial demonstration facility while continuing to basic R&D program based in London.
“By using empty desert and seawater that would not otherwise come to the surface, our solution creates a ‘new’ Net Primary Productivity. In other words, we use underutilized natural resources to grow new biomass and absorb excess carbon dioxide,” said Raffael Jovine, Chief Scientist and Co-Founder at Brilliant Planet said. “Per unit area, this approach absorbs up to 30 times more carbon per year than rainforests, while de-acidifying local coastal seawater back to pre-industrial levels.”
The company today announced it has closed a $12 million Series A funding round. The round was co-led by Union Square Ventures and Toyota Ventures. Further and additional investors include Future Positive Capital, AiiM Partners, S2G Ventures, Hatch and Pegasus Tech Ventures.