Carbon Clean Start announced earlier this week that it had raised $150 million in a Series C that provides it with a significant war chest to pursue development of its modular carbon capture system.
Carbon Clean has won its share of admirers, most recently Chevron, which led the round, and BloombergNEF, which named it BNEF Pioneer last month in part because of the startup’s small-scale approach to cleanup. carbon capture and sequestration (CCS).
Typically, technology is a large-scale affair. After all, the world needs to phase out emissions at scale, and technology benefits from scale. This is why CCS is usually envisioned attached to huge coal or gas-fired power plants.
But there are still many smaller sites, from cement kilns to chemical plants, that are currently coupled to fossil fuels but have yet to be decarbonized. These are the kinds of companies Carbon Clean caters to, and the startup says its modular approach can help polluters gradually manage their carbon emissions as regulations intensify.
Basically, Carbon Clean relies on a proven process to remove carbon dioxide from exhaust streams. Exhaust gases containing carbon dioxide are passed through a filter moistened with an amine-based solvent. At lower temperatures (around 50 degrees Celsius or 122 degrees Fahrenheit), carbon dioxide binds to amines. CO2The charged solvent is then pumped to another container, where it is heated to 110–120 degrees C (230–248 degrees F) to release the gas, which is then compressed and sent elsewhere for use or storage. Each company has its own amine solvent with different properties, and the details of the process may vary, but that’s the gist.
Carbon Clean CEO Aniruddha Sharma said his company’s amine solvents can reduce costs compared to a commonly used amine by requiring less energy to heat up and reducing corrosion in the system. Until the company releases more data, such claims will be difficult to judge. But based on the general type of amine it uses, Carbon Clean is likely to see at least a slight improvement in energy consumption.