The Dublin-headquartered start-up Carbon Collect has raised almost $12 million (just over €10 million) in a funding round for its unique Mechanical Tree technology.
Carbon Collect’s patented tech is designed to capture CO2 emissions directly from the air – technology known as direct air capture (DAC).
Its development was largely based on the work of one of the pioneers of carbon capture, Professor Klaus Lackner.
Professor Lackner is also one of the individual investors in Carbon Collect, which was founded in 2017 and has former taoiseach (prime minister and head of government of Ireland) Enda Kenny as its director.
But aside from individuals, the start-up has received funding from a number of institutional investors, as well, including the Development Bank of Southern Africa and Porticus, a sustainable philanthropic charity.
Government agencies have also shown support for Carbon Collect. At home, Enterprise Ireland backed the company, and last year, the US Department of Energy (DOE) awarded it a $2.5 million grant as part of a program targeting carbon capture and sequestration technologies.
In fact, the grant was awarded to the partnership of Carbon Collect with the Arizona State University (ASU), where Klaus Lackner is an engineering professor.
And it was exactly through this partnership that the Mechanical Tree technology came to be.
The funding went towards the launch of the first prototype, which is expected to take place at the ASU campus, and, if successful, hopes are that the remaining funds will go towards building an even more efficient and less expensive prototype.
In the long-term, Professor Lackner had voiced his vision of large-scale production that may already be a reality in the next year or two.
The ‘trees’ look more like columns that stand 32 feet tall and are 5-feet wide.
Each one will be fitted with an 8-foot wide drum at the bottom, to which the captured CO2 will be sent every 30-60 minutes, after which it can be recycled or permanently stored away.