Carbon removal tracking platform Carbonfuture has announced two new participants in its Catalyst program — climate solutions company Silicate and the startup Inplanet. Initially launched in May 2022, Catalyst provides innovative carbon removal companies with expert support and guidance to help them enter the carbon removal market.
Per the IPCC, it is acknowledged that humanity is going to need to remove gigatonnes of carbon from the atmosphere annually in order to limit global warming. This means the carbon removal industry has to grow considerably and there is increasing investment being made into the sector. Carbonfuture’s Catalyst program works with carbon removal companies at various stages. It supports new companies in the transition from proof of concept through to formal entry into the carbon removal market, and monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) procedures.
Measurement & Verification Are Key
Silicate: The company takes surplus concrete from construction projects and uses the natural process of weathering of minerals to turn it into an effective carbon removal solution. Under natural conditions, basalt, olivine, and other kinds of rock react with carbonic acid to form bicarbonate and calcite. In the process, CO2 is removed from the atmosphere. The technique developed by Silicate takes this natural weathering of minerals and speeds it up twenty-fold, making it a carbon removal technique with great potential.
Silicate has attracted attention and accolades in its native Ireland, with the company being selected as a finalist for 2022 The Irish Times Innovation Award. A challenge facing the company is that there is currently no consensus on how to measure and verify the amount of carbon that is captured through Silicate’s advanced weathering technique. This is why participation in Catalyst is such a good opportunity for both parties. Carbonfuture gets to flex its expertise in measurement and verification, and Silicate gets to use this information as its gateway to supplying trusted carbon removal credits to the market.
Maurice Bryson, founder of Silicate, is enthused about the partnership and what it can lead to. “By working with Catalyst, we will create a scientifically robust enhanced weathering standard that ERW companies and our customers can have confidence in,” he explained.
Inplanet, which is among Frontier’s recently announced purchases, shares similarities with Silicate. Like Silicate, Inplanet harnesses the power of rocks to sequester carbon. Using a technique known as Enhanced Rock Weathering, Inplanet grinds and spreads rock powder on agricultural fields. This speeds up the natural process whereby rock sequesters the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It also helps improve the soil, and passes on this and other benefits to local farmers.
As with Silicate’s weathering of minerals process, Inplanet is aware of the difficulties it faces, as Niklas Kluger, COO and Co-Founder points out: “Enhanced Weathering is a high-potential carbon removal technology with a range of co-benefits. But it comes with the challenge of reliably quantifying the CO2 sequestered after rock powder application on the field.” This is where the new partnership can really help out. Kluger continues: “Through Catalyst’s pre-purchase and the participation in this program, we get access to valuable resources to kickstart important pilot projects in Brazil and test novel MRV mechanisms.”
Market investment and growth in carbon removal is continuing apace. Carbonfuture recently announced a new multi-year deal with Swiss Re. Other carbon removal companies have also generated large investments in 2022 — in March, direct air capture startup Heirloom raised $53 million, and in April, another direct air capture company, Climeworks, raised $650 million. Anu Khan and Peter Minor also published a CDR Buyers Guide recently.