Published by Todd Bush on May 12, 2022
LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mission Zero Technologies (MZT), a UK-based direct air capture (DAC) technology startup announced today the close of its USD $5M seed financing round with investment from Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) and Anglo American. MZT will use the new investment to expand and accelerate its scale-up R&D activities and business operations, and to support its delivery of both the designed 120 tons/year pilot plant and a subsequent planned first commercial project. As part of the current round, the company welcomes two experienced additions as Board members: Dr Mark Hartney from BEV and Mark Freed from Anglo American to provide expert steering for the company’s rapid growth.
MZT was created in 2020 from a collaboration between global mining company Anglo American and venture creators Deep Science Ventures (DSV), whereby the two partners joined forces as part of a framework dedicated to identifying impactful ideas and creating transformational ventures with the aim to accelerate decarbonization pathways across key industries. Prior capital was provided through pre-seed investment from Anglo American and DSV. MZT has also received a grant from the payments company Stripe for carrying out early-stage R&D, and via non-dilutive funding provided by the UK's Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to design a first pilot plant. Most recently, MZT’s 1000 t/y carbon removal collaboration with carbon sequestration company 44.01 entitled Project Hajar was awarded $1M as one of fifteen Milestone Prize winners for the XPRIZE Carbon Removal, a $100M competition backed by entrepreneur Elon Musk and the Musk Foundation.
“Going from concept to pilot and then to commercial scale in less than half a decade speaks volumes about how the world views our market’s potential as hyper-critical,” said Dr Shiladitya Ghosh, CPO of MZT, armed with prior CCS experience and an MBA background. “This milestone is the first of many in our journey to fulfilling that potential aided with early backing from government, industry, and society.”
Engineered carbon removal approaches such as DAC are critical for meeting global Net Zero ambitions as they can counterbalance industrial emissions that are the most difficult to directly abate, such as those associated with aviation and shipping. To achieve this, the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change - the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - expects that global DAC capacity to the tune of at least 5 gigatonnes/year will be required before 2050, necessitating a multi-trillion-dollar carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) industry. MZT projects that its solution, at scale, will play a major role in this market by capturing atmospheric CO2 at well under $100/ton and delivering it on-site to end users or sequestration facilities.
“It goes without saying that climate change is the existential crisis of our time - anthropogenic emissions are slowly baking us all to death. We need to get really good at capturing and using our own emissions and channel them into a Gigatonne-scale supply chain of CO2 to feed the growing opportunity of CCUS – this is ultimately what is required to decarbonise our lives,” said Dr. Nicholas Chadwick, CEO of MZT, who has previous experience in materials science, carbon capture, and technology development. “We’re thrilled to bring on BEV alongside our existing investors in our shared vision of a world where CO2 emissions are an opportunity not a threat. Fundamentally CO2 must become the carbon backbone of everything we make, do, and consume.”
From a technical perspective, MZT’s brand of electrochemical DAC sets out to eliminate scale-up constraints from the get-go. It is fully electric to leverage growing renewable and low-carbon electricity supply globally, it can continuously provide high-grade CO2 that easily integrates downstream, and it has a highly compact footprint allowing greater utilisation of available land. Their innovations also enable drastically reduced energy footprints, minimise plant complexity by reducing the number of unit operations in their process, and bring in the stability of existing manufacturing supply chains to de-risk the growth of their technology.
“MZT has combined mature technologies with innovative yet simple chemistry to create a heat-free, modular, and energy-efficient DAC process that is economical and works at ambient conditions,” said Dr. Gaël Gobaille-Shaw, CTO of MZT, who has an extensive background in CO2 electrochemistry and has previously helped cofound a green H2 startup. “By making use of existing technology and widely available chemicals, we can rapidly scale-up and deploy our plants to contribute to the large-scale removal required within our tight planetary deadline.”
The onboarding of one of the world’s premier clean energy and climate-aligned funds in BEV puts MZT in the esteemed company of other portfolio members that are also leading the development of parallel carbon removal approaches or building out critical carbon utilisation and sequestration pathways. This is combined with the continuing support from Anglo American's team working specifically to accelerate decarbonization pathways through targeted investments and venture building activities.
“Mission Zero’s solution has the potential for the lowest energy required to capture CO2 since electricity rather than heat is used to recover the CO2. This makes it easy to site anywhere so it’s a very flexible application and its core process is the same at almost any scale,” said Carmichael Roberts of Breakthrough Energy Ventures. “We’re looking forward to working with the Mission Zero team to help add their product to the DAC arsenal of solutions to meet the goal of global net zero emissions.”
“Whether we're thinking about servicing the voluntary market or supplying pure, green commodity CO2; engineered approaches to capture carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere are critical. It's no coincidence that Mission Zero appears to break traditional trade-offs associated with DAC,” said Dominic Falcão, Founding Director at DSV. “The whole company, from team to technology, was designed from first principles to circumvent the critical constraints in these markets specifically, using less heat, using fewer bespoke components, occupying a smaller footprint: built not from a research discovery but specifically designed to fulfil a present and growing market need. We have the greatest respect both for the team and the new investors joining us on the journey.”
MZT welcomes conversations with interested CCUS partners, project developers, and equipment vendors internationally. To support its growth, MZT is also currently recruiting for several open positions. To learn more and join the team, please visit: missionzero.tech/careers-active.
Based in London, UK, Mission Zero is a young and exciting DAC startup with a patent-pending breakthrough technology and is on a mission to close the carbon cycle. Since its incorporation in the summer of 2020 by spinning out from DSV, the company has won various accolades and been featured on multiple shortlists including the 2020 Diamond List. The company is currently developing its first pilot for launch in 2023 in Thetford, UK, in partnership with O.C.O Technology.
Founded by Bill Gates and backed by many of the world’s top business leaders, BEV has raised more than $2 billion in committed capital to support cutting-edge companies that are leading the world to net-zero emissions. BEV is a purpose-built investment firm that is seeking to invest, launch and scale global companies that will eliminate GHG emissions throughout the economy as soon as possible. BEV seeks true breakthroughs and is committed to supporting these entrepreneurs and companies by bringing to bear a unique combination of technical, operational, market and policy expertise.
BEV is a part of Breakthrough Energy, a network of investment vehicles, philanthropic programs, policy advocacy and other activities committed to scaling the technologies we need to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Visit www.breakthroughenergy.org to learn more.
Anglo American is a leading global mining company and our products are the essential ingredients in almost every aspect of modern life. Our portfolio of world-class competitive operations, with a broad range of future development options, provides many of the future-enabling metals and minerals for a cleaner, greener, more sustainable world and that meet the fast growing every day demands of billions of consumers. With our people at the heart of our business, we use innovative practices and the latest technologies to discover new resources and to mine, process, move and market our products to our customers – safely and sustainably.
As a responsible producer of diamonds (through De Beers), copper, platinum group metals, premium quality iron ore and metallurgical coal for steelmaking, and nickel – with crop nutrients in development – we are committed to being carbon neutral across our operations by 2040. More broadly, our Sustainable Mining Plan commits us to a series of stretching goals to ensure we work towards a healthy environment, creating thriving communities and building trust as a corporate leader. We work together with our business partners and diverse stakeholders to unlock enduring value from precious natural resources for the benefit of the communities and countries in which we operate, for society as a whole, and for our shareholders. Anglo American is re-imagining mining to improve people’s lives: https://www.angloamerican.com.
Deep Science Ventures is creating a future where humanity and the planet thrive, combining available scientific knowledge and founder-type scientists into high-impact ventures. Deep Science Ventures operates in 4 sectors: Agriculture, Computation, Energy and Pharmaceuticals, tackling the challenges defining those areas by taking a first-principles approach and partnering with leading institutions. Visit https://deepscienceventures.com to learn more.
Dr Shiladitya Ghosh
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