A Los Angeles startup has raised more than $80 million to commercialize a technology that would cut the energy consumption of direct air capture in half, according to the company.
On July 13, Avnos Inc. announced it signed strategic partnerships with oil and gas producer ConocoPhillips and the venture capital divisions of Shell PLC and JetBlue Airways Corp. to bring the decarbonization tool to market by the end of 2025.
Direct air capture is a nascent technology that pulls carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, either for permanent underground storage or to be sold as a commodity. While industry watchers say direct air capture could be pivotal in combatting climate change, the technology has yet to scale due in part to its massive energy consumption.
Avnos said in a news release that its proprietary technology produces water rather than consuming it by absorbing water vapor from ambient air, in addition to CO2. The system does not involve heat, thus requiring only half the energy of competing direct air capture technologies, the company said.
Avnos' technology could also "play an important role in e-fuels production," Jim Lockheed, investment principal at JetBlue Ventures, said in a July 13 statement. E-fuels are a type of synthetic fuel made of captured CO2 and hydrogen, with a lower carbon footprint than conventional jet fuel.
The US Energy Department has set a goal to reduce the cost of technologies like direct air capture to less than $100 per metric ton of CO2 stored in hopes of making them commercially viable. The agency is currently reviewing applications for a $3.5 billion grant program, funded by the bipartisan infrastructure law, to build out infrastructure for direct air capture.
By the end of the decade, Avnos expects its technology to be able to remove CO2 for less than $250 per metric ton, a company spokesperson said in an email. Avnos sees a viable pathway to dropping that price below $100 early next decade, when there are regular and steady supply chain operations, the spokesperson added.
S&P Global Commodity Insights produces content for distribution on S&P Capital IQ Pro.