Brilliant Planet runs algae farms to remove carbon from the air – TechCrunch

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Sure, you can run machines to decarbonize the air, but what’s the fun of inviting Mother Nature to do the work for you? Brilliant Planet does just that: by using seawater and mimicking the perfect growing conditions for algal blooms, it says the company has created the perfect conditions for low-cost carbon capture.

“You may have seen that the IPCC report came out yesterday – if you read the IPCC report, you know that we missed the point where we can just change your behavior and just cut CO2 emissions. We need to get carbon out of the atmosphere, the carbon that we’ve already put in there. It’s going to be critical to have other ways to keep carbon in the atmosphere at a manageable level to limit global warming. Ideally, we’d just change our behavior, we’d go all-electric right away, but it just takes time,” said Adam Taylor, CEO of Brilliant Planet, in a conversation with TechCrunch. “It takes time to change people, governments and businesses. .”

And that’s exactly what Brilliant Planet does: use algae. The company believes that there are many aspects to carbon reduction – protecting forests etc – but there are also challenges; especially around the price. It wants to get the price of a ton of CO2 from the atmosphere to a price of less than $50.

Brilliant Planet unlocks the power of algae as an affordable method to permanently and measurably capture carbon on a gigaton scale. The company’s innovative processes allow massive amounts of microalgae to grow in open-air pond systems on coastal desert land. This is achieved without using fresh water, using a natural process that contributes to the health of the oceans and air.

The process itself essentially runs on solar energy — because the algae is effectively powered by the sun — but also needs to run pumps to move seawater. There are two advantages to the method; unlike some of the other competitors, the CEO is very careful not to name it, the company does not use fresh water in its process, and the process also helps to deacidify the ocean water it uses.

“We have to move very large amounts of seawater and that takes energy, but we did a lot of design work to make the system work extremely energy-efficiently. So gravity flows through most of the system from one pond to another. We have a partnership with Southampton University to optimize every aspect of the paddle wheels and ponds. A lot of time and effort has gone into minimizing those energy costs, but essentially we need to get the water from the ocean to a few meters above sea level,” explains Taylor. “While we do that, we deacidify that ocean water. So for every unit of ocean water we bring in, we deacidify the equivalent of five units of ocean water back to pre-industrial levels.”

After four years of testing at its 3-hectare research facility in Morocco, Brilliant Planet will use the proceeds from the Series A round to prepare for the construction of a 30-hectare commercial demonstration facility while continuing its foundational R&D program in London. .

“By using empty desert and seawater that otherwise would not have surfaced, our solution creates ‘new’ net primary productivity. In other words, we are using underutilized natural resources to grow new biomass and absorb excess carbon dioxide,” said Raffael Jovine, chief scientist and co-founder of Brilliant Planet. “Per unit area, this approach captures up to 30 times more carbon per year than rainforests, while also deacidifying local coastal seawater to pre-industrial levels,”

The company announced today that it has closed a $12 million Series A financing. The round was co-led by Union Square Ventures and Toyota Ventures. Other and follow-up investors include Future Positive Capital, AiiM Partners, S2G Ventures, Hatch and Pegasus Tech Ventures.


This post Brilliant Planet runs algae farms to remove carbon from the air – TechCrunch was original published at “https://techcrunch.com/2022/04/07/brilliant-planet-series-a/”

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