Bill Gates-backed Startup to Remove 5,000 Tons Carbon Dioxide by This Year

Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures just supported the launch of a technology by Graphyte that could remove a significant number of greenhouse gases (GHG). Graphyte, the startup backed by Bill Gates, has just engineered a hybrid technology that combines engineering with natural photosynthesis processes to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it underground.

They aimed to combat climate change by inventing those technologies. The startup’s project will remove 5,000 tons of carbon dioxide by this year and 50,000 by July 2024.

“It’s important to understand that carbon removal is not an excuse to keep emitting or to slow down our transition to a clean energy economy—we need to keep innovating as fast as we can,” Gates wrote in his firm’s “State of the Transition 2023” report, released two days ago. “But it’s become clear that carbon removal will be a necessary tool to have in our toolkit.”

Graphyte’s technology has its own unique approach that blends engineering with natural photosynthesis. It begins by collecting waste biomass, like wood residue or rice hulls, which is then dried and sterilized to prevent decomposition. After that, it is converted into carbon blocks, wrapped in a special polymer barrier, and stored underground, effectively locking the carbon away. This prevents carbon dioxide from being re-released.

Carbon dioxide that has converted into carbon blocks (Image: Graphyte)

Graphyte called the carbon removal process “carbon casting,” which was first conceived by BEV partner Chris Rivest, who brought in co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Barclay Rogers to commercialize the technology and helm the startup.

Their technological efficiency and affordability are unlike those of other existing technologies. Graphyte claimed that its production cost only under $100 (RM 471) per ton of carbon dioxide, CO2, which is a portion of what current methods require. The benefit of these carbon blocks is that they are projected to last over a thousand years.

Graphyte also faces hurdles while on this journey, namely securing enough buyers for carbon removal services. Other than that, they also have to maintain the durability of the carbon blocks, gaining regulatory and community support. Hence, Graphyte intends to use advanced monitoring systems, such as sensors and proprietary tracer systems, to overcome these obstacles and guarantee the efficiency and safety of carbon storage.

With as its carbon registry, Graphyte is taking steps towards independent verification of its carbon removal claims. This groundbreaking approach to carbon removal could mark a significant milestone in our fight against climate change. Graphyte transforms waste into a resource, effectively storing carbon and reducing atmospheric CO2, paving the way for a cleaner, more sustainable future.

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