Carbon-Neutral Company Uses Innovative Method to Drastically Reduce Expenses

An engineer by training, Meyerowitz leans heavily on that concept at Clairity Technology, the direct air capture startup he founded in 2022. The company is currently working on the next size up, which should be able to capture one metric ton per year. Clairity is one of the latest entrants into the direct air capture (DAC) market, where companies compete to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at the lowest cost. He and his team, now eight strong, have designed a box that’s “good enough” to capture carbon dioxide over 80% purity, he said. By using carbon dioxide as an ingredient, “it improves the quality of the concrete.

The “80/20” rule. “Diminishing returns”. The “good enough” principle. These are concepts that engineer Glen Meyerowitz heavily relies on at his direct air capture startup, Clairity Technology. Unlike other companies in the carbon capture market, Meyerowitz believes in finding a balance rather than striving for perfection.

In an exclusive interview with TechCrunch, Meyerowitz explains that most of the competitors in the industry are focused on producing a near-pure stream of carbon dioxide, with a purity of 99% or higher. However, he argues that this level of purity is unnecessary.

“Most folks out there, pretty much everyone else that we’re familiar with, is looking to generate these high-purity CO2 streams, 99-plus-percent pure. That matches, historically, what we as a species have generated, but there doesn’t seem to be a great reason beyond that,” he says.

Clairity recently secured a $6.75 million seed round, led by Initialized Capital and Lowercarbon Capital. The company is currently working on a prototype capable of capturing 1 metric ton per year, with plans to deploy a pilot plant by the end of the year that can capture 100 times that amount.

One of the main advantages of Clairity’s approach is cost-efficiency. By focusing on a lower purity level, Meyerowitz explains that the company can design its technology with lower precision in mind, ultimately saving on costs.

  • Direct air capture (DAC) is an emerging market where companies compete to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at the lowest cost.
  • DAC is crucial to combatting climate change, as acknowledged by experts who predict that we will need some form of direct air capture to rein in carbon dioxide levels and avoid severe consequences.
  • Currently, DAC is considered too expensive, with costs ranging from $600 to $1,000 per metric ton of CO2 – well beyond what experts predict the market can sustain.
  • Meyerowitz believes that the pursuit of purity is a contributing factor to this high cost. He and his team have designed a box that captures over 80% purity, which they believe is “good enough” for many applications.
  • While the impurities present in Clairity’s gas stream may limit its usability, there are still many industries that can benefit from utilizing this captured CO2, such as in the production of concrete.
  • (quote from Meyerowitz about concrete)
  • One of the key advantages of Clairity’s technology is the use of cheaper sorbent materials, such as sodium carbonate or potassium carbonate, which are widely available and can be readily purchased.
  • The company plans to expand its operations by replicating its modular components and building several large facilities in the future.
  • Currently, the biggest challenge for Clairity is the high cost of DAC and finding customers who are willing to pay for carbon credits generated through this process.
  • The Inflation Reduction Act will provide some financial support to companies like Clairity, offering carbon credits for the use and permanent sequestration of captured carbon.
  • DAC is an energy-intensive operation, but Meyerowitz explains that his company’s technology will likely use a similar amount of energy as their competitors. However, with a lower focus on purity and a cap-ex advantage, Clairity hopes to become a leading player in the DAC market.
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Dylan Williams

Dylan Williams is a multimedia storyteller with a background in video production and graphic design. He has a knack for finding and sharing unique and visually striking stories from around the world.

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