Direct air capture is a technology that deserves a leading place on the table of innovative and efficient carbon removal solutions. What is more compelling is that it can be combined with carbon mineralization technology that can store the captured CO2 in geologic formations practically forever. The approach can provide the durability and reliability of the carbon removal solutions, truly eliminating the CO2 from the atmosphere that is captured for millennia.
Sirona Technologies is a new startup that is developing direct air capture technology. Based in Belgium, it is the first in the country to use DAC to tackle climate change, as reported by Tech.eu. The company’s approach involves the use of solid sorbents as the chemical filter in the DAC machines that capture the CO2.
The sorbents are heated to release the CO2 in a gaseous state. The CO2 is finally compressed and transferred to its partners for permanent storage in geological formations or conversion into other products.
For the heat requirements of the technology, the company will use solar energy combined with heat pumps and thermal storage to generate even more heat while also taking care of the intermittency problem related to solar energy. The approach stands out as Sirona will leverage the exponential growth of solar energy in the country which will be getting cheaper over time.
The abundance of renewable energy is why the company can build simple machines with very low capital expenditure without having to optimize for energy efficiency. It achieves lower costs and simplified project financing. The modular technology is also entirely built in a factory, rather than assembled in the field, which steepens the learning curve and brings costs down quicker.
To achieve fast growth, Sirona Technologies plans to focus on locations where there is strong local government support for DAC in order to quickly deploy its technology at scale.
The company launched on January 2023 with a raised pre-seed funding round of $1.09 million. Investors are Adrien Roose, Alliance for Impact, Benoit Deper, Renaud Visage, Syndicate One, Thibaud Elziere, undisclosed angel investors, VOYAGERS, and XAnge.
The company’s team is comprised of professionals from leading companies and institutions. The founders are former Tesla engineer Thoralf Gutierrez and thermodynamics engineer Dr. Gauthier Limpens, Ph.D. The rest are specialists focusing on particle physics, carbon capture, chemical engineering, and aerospace engineering from CERN, Oxford University, UCLouvain and the USP.
Thanks to its experience in Tesla, leading its big data analytics stack to increase the speed of iteration on the hardware products, and building the engineering team behind it, Sirona’s co-founder Thoralf Gutierrez has managed to scale the company in a record time. The team built its first prototype two months after its launch in January, and six months after that it was testing generation three of its product which has achieved an efficiency increase of 100x over the first version.