ARPA-E Investor Update Vol. 8
Heirloom Carbon Technologies recently announced $53 million in follow-on funding for their direct air capture (DAC) technology raised from investors including Breakthrough Energy Ventures.
Heirloom’s technology leverages carbon mineralization, taking naturally available rocks and minerals with a propensity to absorb CO2 and increasing their speed and ability to do so. This promising method includes a repeated enhanced weathering process, in which a natural reaction between CO2 in air and magnesium- and/or calcium-rich minerals is accelerated to form a solid carbonate that can be processed to regenerate the minerals for reuse and create a captured CO2 stream. Heirloom’s technology combines enhanced weathering innovations with an engineered system that passively exposes these reactive minerals to the air. The approach will significantly reduce the cost of permanent, high-quality carbon removal, and the resulting pure CO2 can be permanently stored or sold for use. The process has the potential to remove 1 gigaton of CO2 from the air around us by 2035, at a cost of $50 per ton of CO2 removed.
The Heirloom team is focused on accelerating their carbonation rate, which is a key driver of cost. Heirloom’s carbonation rates are five times faster than where they started, already needing 5x less contactors for the same CO2 throughput. Heirloom has built scaled prototypes to validate the process. What is their next step? The team plans to work with their partners to deploy their technology at a commercial scale, enabling low-cost carbon capture.
The CEO of Heirloom, Dr. Shashank Samala, discussed their novel carbon removal technology in greater detail with ARPA-E Fellow Dr. Elizabeth Shoenfelt Troein on an episode of ARPA-E’s Energy Briefs.