Five European start-ups selected to scale carbon removal innovations

Major German insurance group Munich Re and ERGO announce their selection of promising climate entrepreneurs focusing on solutions to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. ClimAccelerator teams now have the opportunity to partner up with and get support from insurance players of global reach and experience in working with impact entrepreneurs.

In partnership with EIT Climate-KIC, Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), the Sustainability in Business Lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), and Pannon Pro Innovations (PPIS) joined forces in the newly launched Carbon Removal ClimAccelerator.   

The one-year accelerator programme aims to scale technological and nature-based solutions such as afforestation, direct air capture, biochar, and bioenergy-based carbon capture and storage. In the first stage, Munich Re and ERGO will support five teams in breaking into the carbon removal industry through funding, exchange of knowledge with their internal experts and dedicated mentoring.  

“To tackle climate change, carbon removal is an extremely important issue. Without these technologies, we will not reach the targets of the Paris Climate Agreement,” explained Michael Menhart, Head of Economics, Sustainability and Public Affairs at Munich Re the motivation for the corporate’s commitment.  

Following an open call, 12 European climate entrepreneurs were invited to pitch their solutions to a panel of sustainability and industry professionals in September. Five of the dozen start-ups were then chosen to participate in the accelerator, based on a range of criteria including market size and business model, and most importantly, climate impact potential. The selected start-ups target solutions for long-term carbon removal from the atmosphere and its permanent storage. 

As part of the ClimAccelerator program, the start-ups will implement the Climate Impact Framework to calculate the amount of carbon emissions that can be removed via their solutions. The framework uses emissions forecasting alongside third-party validations to understand climate impact projections and enables improved selection and support of the most impactful start-ups throughout the different development stages of the EIT Climate-KIC ClimAccelerator.  

The start-up selection 

Cambridge Carbon Capture, UK 

Cambridge Carbon Capture (CCC) is developing a breakthrough, profitable technology solution to industrial CO2 capture and storage, based upon the IP-protected CO2LOC technology. On top of that, CCC’s processes produce a number of valuable by-products such as minerals and metals, which have the potential of more than offsetting the cost of carbon capture. Hence, CO2LOC technology can capture CO2 for a profit. 

Carbogenics – Edinburg, UK 

Carbogenics is an Edinburgh University spin-out that has developed a technology to convert paper (and other) wastes into ‘biochar-like’ carbon products for biocatalytic use. These products increase the efficiency of anaerobic digestion and wastewater treatment. Spent carbons are used for soil enhancement where their inert nature sequesters carbon for centuries. 

Carbon Infinity – London, UK 

Carbon Infinity is developing a modular, highly scalable, direct air capture (DAC) technology to initially facilitate the de-fossilisation of the industrial economy, while also conducting large-scale carbon removal. The technology, enabled by sorbent, manufacturing and supply-chain innovation, provides the infrastructure behind a circular carbon and a true net-zero global economy. 

Carbon Instead – Berlin, Germany 

Carbon Instead is an impact-oriented start-up providing solutions on how to use biochar in innovative products and existing material cycles with the aim to decarbonize construction materials and turn them into carbon sinks. The developed technology enables, for example, a partial replacement of materials with a high CO2 and resource footprint like cement or sand. Furthermore, an optimization of material properties like thermal isolation is possible. 

Climate Farmers – Berlin, Germany 

Climate Farmers mission is to build the infrastructure to scale regenerative agriculture. The potential for regeneration in the agricultural space is immense, but we need the systems to monitor, report and validate regeneration of soil ecosystems in order to scale them fast. Climate Farmers builds the educational and technological groundwork necessary. 

For more information on the EIT Climate-KIC ClimAccelerator Carbon Removal programme, please click here: