Seth Norat, the founding Chief Development Officer of agricultural technology company AppHarvest, announced on July 21 the launch of startup Valiidun, which will rapidly build large-scale facilities to help decarbonize the industry.
Valiidun will use advanced carbon capture tech to bring down the cost per ton of decarbonization by almost half. The startup will focus on building large-scale direct air capture (DAC) sites, and on helping decrease operating expenditures through economies of scale. Valiidun will rely almost entirely on renewable energy to generate power.
The climate problem is real, and the needs to meet net-zero targets are significant,” said Valiidun Founder Seth Norat. “Our team has experience building big and building fast, and we plan to make significant contributions to make the IEA targets a reality.”
Valiidun startup has already closed an angel round, and is supported by unicorn founders that have together built 8 million square feet of facilities and raised over $1.5 billion in capital.
“In 3 years at AppHarvest, we developed four facilities costing more than $400 million including a 2.76-million-square-foot indoor farm that is among the world’s 20 largest buildings, and we did it during the onset of the pandemic,” Norat said. “With proven carbon-capture technologies and experienced technology partners, it’s time to build big and build fast to prevent further damage to our planet and, over time, begin to even roll back what’s been done.”
Less than 20 DAC plants operate globally and only two of those are in the U.S. The net-zero targets for 2050 as per the Paris Agreement will require much more facilities and significant investments.
The U.S. Congress recently passed an infrastructure bill for $3.5 billion to create DAC hubs that can capture at least 1 million metric tons of CO2 annually.
Valiidun is looking to obtain a grant to build a DAC facility in Appalachia, a region that needs to strengthen its economy from a long-term dependency on the high-emitting coal mining industry. Center Appalachia is a preferred location because it is at a day-drive distance for 70% of the people in the U.S. and because of its legacy in the energy industry.