ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 146

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Company extracting CO2 out of air scoops $10 million investment

RepAir Carbon Capture claims that its electrochemical method is cheaper, more energy-efficient, and more scaleable than competitors’

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter

Image of a single RepAir Carbon Capture cell. Atmospheric air enters the cell at the top. Inside the cell, the air is filtered through a separator, with electricity applied to isolate the CO2. Clean air flows back to the atmosphere (represented by green and blue particles at the bottom of the image), while pure CO2 flows out for utilization or storage, represented by red particles. (Courtesy, RepAir Carbon Capture)
Image of a single RepAir Carbon Capture cell. Atmospheric air enters the cell at the top. Inside the cell, the air is filtered through a separator, with electricity applied to isolate the CO2. Clean air flows back to the atmosphere (represented by green and blue particles at the bottom of the image), while pure CO2 flows out for utilization or storage, represented by red particles. (Courtesy, RepAir Carbon Capture)

An Israeli company that is developing a system for capturing air and removing the carbon dioxide from it has raised $10 million in a Series A funding round.

RepAir Carbon Capture is developing an electrochemical device inspired by batteries and fuel cells, the latter more typically associated with hydrogen production.

While fuel cells in the hydrogen industry use electricity to separate hydrogen from oxygen, RepAir says its prototype separates and removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The funding round — which follows the initial seed capital round — was led by Extantia Capital, which supports initiatives that will help take the planet to net zero carbon emissions, with Equinor Ventures, Shell Ventures, and Zero Carbon Capital also taking part.

Net zero means that the amount of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere is balanced out by that same amount being removed.

RepAir Carbon Capture claims that it uses just a third of the energy compared to the average for the direct air capture industry because it runs on renewable energy at ambient temperatures and requires no heating of solvents.

The product is made of any number of combined cell stacks, making it modular and therefore easily scalable, the company said, adding that it is also cost-effective. At scale, it predicts an average cost of around $70 per ton of CO2.

A spokesperson said that the device used nickel and nickel hydroxide, abundant and low-cost materials commonly used in batteries. She added that an early-stage unit the size of a shipping container had the potential to separate around 200 tons of CO2 per year.

“Direct air capture technologies are a trillion-dollar market opportunity by 2050; however, to unlock that potential, solutions must be energy efficient, cost-effective, and scalable,” said Amir Shiner, CEO, and cofounder of RepAir Carbon Capture, established two years ago in the northern city of Yokneam Illit. “On the way to creating DAC at a massive scale, the cost is the main factor.”

“Looking at their numbers and scalability, we are bullish about their technology and what their team can achieve,” said Sebastian Heitmann, partner at Extantia.

At an MIT seminar on direct air capture earlier this year, experts estimated that it would cost anywhere from $300 to $1,000 per net ton of extracted CO2 in 2030.

Climeworks, one of the big players in direct air capture, also known as DAC, estimates that it will cost $500 per ton of carbon dioxide removed by the middle of this decade, dropping to $300 per ton by 2030 and around $200 per ton by the middle of the next decade.

‘Orca,’ Climeworks’ newest plant in Iceland, will capture 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year with support from Accenture. (© Climeworks 2021/Business Wire/AP)

According to an International Energy Agency report in September, there are currently 18 direct air capture plants operating worldwide, capturing almost 10,000 tons of CO2 per year. An annual 1 million-ton capture plant is in advanced development in the US, and there are hopes of reaching 60 million tons of CO2 by 2030.

The CO2 can be permanently stored in deep geological formations, used in beverage carbonation or food processing, or combined with hydrogen to produce synthetic fuels.

All of the existing DAC plants in Europe, the US, and Canada are small-scale, with just two of them storing the captured CO2 in geological formations for removal.

This year, RepAir Carbon Capture was among the winners of the New Energy Challenge

It is one of 14 Israeli companies, at various stages of development, listed in the carbon capture category by Start-Up Nation Central.

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