UP Catalyst, a pioneer in sustainable carbon material production directly from CO2 emissions, successfully closed a $4.3 million (€4 million) seed investment round to advance its ground-breaking technology.
The funding occurred amidst China’s announcement of graphite export curbs that has added urgency to the quest for local battery raw material alternatives. This is particularly crucial given that Europe currently depends on graphite imports for 99% of its supply. With the funding, the company will build an industrial pilot reactor capable of processing 100 tons of CO2 annually and producing 27 tons of carbon materials, making UP Catalyst the largest provider of green graphite in the world.
The round was led by Berlin-based climate tech VC fund Extantia and supported by Estonia’s state fund SmartCap, along with the continued participation of existing investors Sunly, Little Green Fund, Scottish Baltic Invest and UniTartu Ventures. The investment will be instrumental in UP Catalyst’s quest to scale up its production capabilities. The new reactor will have a production capacity ten times larger than the current setup and marks an important milestone before the construction of a full-scale industrial reactor unit.
Yair Reem, Partner at Extantia, expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership by saying, “UP Catalyst is redefining the conventional approach to graphite production by turning away from environmentally detrimental fossil fuel methods. We perceive China’s export restrictions not as a barrier but as a catalyst for European green innovation. UP Catalyst stands at the forefront, ready to deliver a dependable, price-competitive and sustainable solution to address the growing global demand for battery manufacturing.”
With the global demand for graphite expected to outstrip supply, creating an estimated 700,000-ton annual deficit by 2030, UP Catalyst is positioned to become a transformative force in the European battery landscape. By replacing fossil-based graphite with UP Catalyst green graphite, the battery anodes will become CO2-negative. This shift could contribute to avoiding 118.7 megatons of CO2 emissions annually by the year 2030, marking a substantial environmental impact.
Gary Urb, CEO of UP Catalyst, expressed his excitement about the investment: “We are thrilled to have secured this funding, bringing us one step closer to empowering 4 million car batteries with graphite sourced from CO2 emissions by 2030. This carbon supply can cover approximately 20% of the EV battery market’s yearly carbon need in Europe.”
With the unwavering support of both new and existing investors, UP Catalyst is poised to accelerate its efforts in advancing its technology scale-up, leading toward a more sustainable and locally sourced future for carbon materials and graphite in Europe.