Munich Re and ERGO advance carbon removal solutions of European start-ups

Major German corporate group Munich Re and ERGO has selected three promising climate entrepreneurs with CO2-removal solutions to support in the second stage of the Carbon Removal ClimAccelerator. Several criteria were used in the selection process including market size and business model, but most importantly climate impact potential. 

Humans have increased atmospheric CO2 concentration by over a third since the Industrial Revolution began. These emissions have already increased global temperatures by around 1°C since pre-industrial times. The process of Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) encompasses a range of solutions through which existing CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and sequestered safely for long periods of time.

In 2021, the insurance group joined forces with EIT Climate-KIC, Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), and Pannon Pro Innovations to launch Europe’s first CDR accelerator to support start-ups on their journey to maximise climate and business impact.

After supporting five start-ups in the first phase of the Carbon Removal ClimAccelerator last fall, three of the most promising teams have continued to the next round which kicked off in January. Stage 2 consists of six months of dedicated mentoring from internal experts and a € 20.000 grant to validate and scale their innovative solutions that generate long-term carbon removal from the atmosphere and allow for its permanent storage. 

The start-up selection 

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 simultaneously performing large-scale carbon removal. The technology – enabled by innovations targeting computational sorbent materials discovery, manufacturing and supply-chains – provides the infrastructure for a circular, net-zero economy. 

Made of Air (Berlin, Germany) – Made of Air takes low-value wood waste and transforms it into high-value, carbon-negative thermoplastics. These thermoplastics can be formed with all traditional heat-forming methods and used for a wide variety of applications, turning manufactured goods into engineered carbon sinks Made of Air has already run several and is currently partnered with Audi, BMW, and H&M.

Space4Good (The Hague, Netherlands) – Space4Good is developing earth observation-based monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) products and services that are applied to social and environmental impact initiatives. Carbometrica is such a product, providing scalable, accurate and affordable biomass assessments for project developers and marketplaces to enable premium carbon credits of high integrity.

On the horizon

The teams hand-picked by Munich Re and ERGO join 11 other start-ups in Stage 2 With a validated problem and solution, the CDR start-ups will have the chance to apply for Stage 3 of the programme focused on identifying routes-to-market and scale. Teams will be groomed for the fundraising process and have access to prospective customers and investors, and service and technology providers of the deep CDR ecosystem.

The Carbon Removal ClimAccelerator is one of many EIT Climate-KIC initiatives contributing to the vision of creating a prosperous, inclusive, climate-resilient society with a circular, zero-carbon economy. We believe that innovation will achieve the deep decarbonisation required, and strengthen climate resilience.