Munich Re and ERGO continue their support for the Carbon Removal ClimAccelerator

Carbon dioxide removal (CDR), or the activities related to lowering the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, has recently entered the conversation as a means of limiting warming to 1.5C alongside rapid, global decarbonisation. According to the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the large-scale deployment of CDR methods is a must if the world is to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. 

EIT Climate-KIC has responded with Europe’s first dedicated CDR accelerator, delivered in partnership with major German insurers Munich Re and ERGO, as well as Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), and Pannon Pro Innovations

Of the 12 start-ups participating in the 2022 cohort, Munich Re and ERGO have selected five promising climate entrepreneurs 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, climate impact potential and fit to the insurance group.   

Since 2017, Munich Re and ERGO staff have mentored aspiring entrepreneurs in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and scaled 20 start-ups through a dedicated Corporate Innovation Programme with EIT Climate-KIC entrepreneurship programmes.  

Start-ups entering Stage 2 will receive six months of dedicated mentoring from internal experts and €20.000 in grant funding from Munich Re and ERGO to validate and scale innovative solutions that generate long-term carbon removal from the atmosphere and allow for its permanent storage. The start-ups may apply for an additional €20.000 from EIT Climate-KIC in exchange for equity. 

“Successful climate protection needs innovative disruptive ideas. It is great to mentor start-ups on their way to help their business ideas come true,” said Ernst Rauch, Head Climate Change Solutions at Munich Re. 

The start-up selection 

NeoCarbon (Germany) uses existing infrastructure in the form of cooling towers to perform Direct Air Capture (DAC) up to 10 times cheaper and faster, making DAC mass-market ready. Millions of existing cooling towers around Europe continuously circulate massive amounts of air to remove heat from industrial plants and buildings. By efficiently retrofitting those towers, NeoCarbon removes the carbon dioxide from this air at very low additional cost. 

Reverse Carbon (Sweden) locks in carbon with nature and tech and contributes to multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Swedish start-up uses plants to capture CO2 from the atmosphere. Reverse Carbon converts biomass residues into stable and carbon-rich biochar and then buries it deep underground in closed mining sites and establishes a vegetative cover. This creates a deep, artificial permanent biochar repository with CO2 removed permanently from the atmosphere and out of reach from soil erosion, land use change or wildfires. As part of the overall eco-restoration process, the biochar helps rehabilitate contaminated mine sites.

Silicate (Ireland) is a climate solutions company leveraging the power of geochemistry to permanently remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. By accelerating a natural geological process – the weathering of Silicate minerals – Silicate removes excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and stores it over geological timescales. The weathering agent is derived from returned concrete, which is processed and spread on agricultural land as a soil pH amendment. Silicate’s mission is to durably and safely remove 1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by 2040. 

Treeconomy (United Kingdom) uses high-resolution remote sensing and machine learning to quantify and track CO2 storage in woodlands to a higher degree of accuracy than is available today. With that, the team is designing the carbon accounting framework for nature. Treeconomy’s monitoring technology enables nature-based carbon capture to have exact and absolute CO2 storage data over time. Treeconomy monitors sites frequently and dynamically updates project inventory, both tracking increases and periodic losses, which increases accuracy and trust.

Ucaneo Biotech (Germany) has developed the world’s first cell-free Direct Air Capture technology leveraging a biocatalytic membrane to capture CO2 from the air. Ucaneo Biotech aims to capture 0.5 GT of CO2 from the air by 2035 – roughly the same weight as all humans on earth combined!

During Stage 2, start-ups will focus on validating their solutions and identifying routes-to-market before moving on to Stage 3 where further collaboration with prospective investors, customers and the broader carbon removal ecosystem will be facilitated.  

Applications to join the Stage 1 cohort of the Carbon Removal ClimAccelerator are opened until 5 September 2022 (12:00 CET). Find more information here: