Who Could Have Thought?

Yesterday, I sent around a comment on spending money on just what to remediate carbon emissions.  Today, there is a report that Bill Gates and others have spent $80 million on a technology for carbon capture.

According to Bloomberg, a Massachusetts-based startup that captures carbon dioxide directly from the air has raised $80 million from investors, including Bill Gates-led Breakthrough Energy Ventures:

Verdox has a different approach that it claims to be more efficient and therefore cheaper.  The Massachusetts Institute of Technology spinoff has developed a special type of plastic that can selectively pull out CO₂ from a mix of gas—in air or exhaust—when charged with electricity. Once trapped, a change in voltage releases the CO₂.  The startup said its material could cut the total energy used in direct air capture by 70% or more.  The startup will have to rely on low-carbon electricity to power the process.

Most other carbon capture processes use huge amounts of energy per ton of carbon captured for sequestration.

An early version of the material, developed at MIT, worked well at capturing CO₂, but it also ended up capturing oxygen.  Air is composed of 21% oxygen and only 0.04% CO₂.  But in the past year, Verdox has landed on a material that it says is 5,000 times more attractive to CO₂ than oxygen.

It will take years before Verdox can capture millions of tons of CO₂ annually, but it eventually aims to do so at $50 per ton or less.  That would be an attractive price, given carbon permits in the European Union’s Emissions Trading System have traded this year around 80 euros ($90) a ton.