Industry News

Big Tech to Fund Carbon Removal

by | Apr 14, 2022

Meta, Alphabet, McKinsey and Shopify have launched the Frontier Fund to reduce the cost of carbon removal technologies which scientists consider vital in reaching net-zero.

The world’s largest tech companies have joined to launch a groundbreaking multi-billion dollar fund to scale- up carbon capture startups to bring down the cost of carbon sucking technologies.

The Frontier Fund, launched April 12th by Google owner Alphabet, financial services firm Stripe, Shopify, McKinsey and Facebook owner Meta, aims to invest $925 million over the next nine years in companies building technological solutions to extract carbon dioxide from the air.

Kate Brandt, the chief sustainability officer at Google said that increasing demand in the fledgling carbon removal market is vital in driving prices down.

“At Alphabet, we know first-hand from our long-standing history of working to advance new climate solutions that signalling early demand can spur innovation and lower the price for everyone,” she said. “That’s why we are joining this exciting coalition of climate leaders, who jointly see the promise of new carbon removal technologies and the power of sending a clear demand signal to the market.”

Funding Criteria

The plan is to invite nascent carbon removal startups to pitch for funding. According to Bloomberg, Frontier will asses the negative emissions offering based on factors such as:

  • Footprint: the land area per ton the technology will take
  • Permanence: the period the carbon will remian stored
  • Cost: the possibility of the technology reaching below $100 per ton at scale
  • Capacity: capturing at least 500 million tons per annum at scale
  • Justice: the impact on local communities where plants are located

The fund’s experts will negotiate a price per tonne captured with winning firms, committing to spend millions of dollars on tonnes as offsets.

Carbon Removal Doubts

Last week’s UN climate report emphasised the role carbon capture technologies play in achieving net-zero. However, carbon removal remains a contentious issue among some scientists and environmentalists who believe the technology could be unreliable and used to slow down efforts to move away from fossil fuels.

Other carbon removal options include nature-based solutions such as reforestration and blue carbon (carbon stored in oceans and marine eco-systems).

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