A startup backed and incubated by Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures has engineered a hybrid technology that combines engineering with natural photosynthesis processes to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it underground.
“It’s important to understand that carbon removal is not an excuse to keep emitting, or to slow down our transition to a clean energy economy — we need to keep innovating as fast as we can,” Gates wrote in his firm’s “State of the Transition 2023” report, released today. “But it’s become clear that carbon removal will be a necessary tool to have in our toolkit.
Plants naturally pull CO2 from the atmosphere and store it in their tissue, but that CO2 is released back into the atmosphere when the plant decomposes. Launching today, startup Graphyte takes waste biomass like discarded wood residue or rice hulls, dries and sterilizes it to prevent decomposition. It then condenses it into dense carbon blocks, wraps it in a proprietary polymer barrier and stores it underground in an engineered storage site. The carbon within will be locked away and prevented from being re-released.
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