CarbonCapture Inc.

CarbonCapture uses a swappable sorbent cartridge to remove CO₂ from the air.

Direct air capture
Contracted tons
Offtake - 2023
Total contract value
Los Angeles, CA, US
Delivery timeline
2025 – 2028
Splash image for CarbonCapture Inc.

The approach

CarbonCapture uses a temperature-vacuum swing adsorption (TVSA) direct air capture process. In capture mode, a fan blows air over an amine-based sorbent. After CO₂ has adsorbed on the surface of the sorbent, a shutter closes at the front of the reactor and a vacuum is applied to remove residual air. Steam is then added to heat the sorbent to ~100 C, thereby releasing the CO₂. The resulting CO₂ stream is then ready for compression, transport, and storage.

CarbonCapture has built a modular and upgradeable capture system that allows them to swap in best-in-class sorbents as they become available. In parallel, they’re actively cultivating a pipeline of new sorbents through external partners.

Project diagram

The case for CarbonCapture Inc.

  • DAC offers a promising path to permanent CDR that, in principle, meets the majority of Frontier’s target criteria—it’s highly durable, relatively easy to measure and verify, and takes up a relatively small physical footprint. The overarching drawback for DAC is the high cost of the capture, which is largely driven by the significant energy required to power the process as well as the upfront capex. In the medium-term, risk for DAC is the availability of low-cost 24/7 clean electricity, which is also needed to decarbonize the grid.

  • CarbonCapture uses a modular and upgradeable capture system that allows swapping in best-in-class sorbents as they become available versus picking a sorbent ‘horse’ today. Sorbent choice is a major driver for cost, as it impacts both upfront cost as well as how much energy is required for capture. A core part of CarbonCapture’s approach is to drive this down by (a) making the sorbent cartridge in their reactor swappable and (b) aggressively cultivating a pipeline of sorbents via third-party developers.

  • CarbonCapture is showing some promising early signs of strong execution. In 2022, over four months, they increased their reactor capacity by 1,500x, reaching just below commercial scale. Second, they're a well-capitalized company with a team of 55 individuals (including a deep technical bench) and are partnering with mature partners to de-risk execution on a number of fronts.

  • Still, CarbonCapture’s scale up is not guaranteed. Their biggest long-term risks are their ability to develop sorbents that meet their ambitious performance targets and also quickly get the capex cost reductions from mass manufacturing. To mitigate these risks, CarbonCapture recruited scientists with experience developing high-performing sorbents for other applications, and have made the ability to mass manufacture a foundational part of their system design.

Pricing and delivery

Frontier buyers’ total offtake is $20.0M for 45,500 tons to be delivered as a blend across sorbent and hardware generations deployed from 2025-2028. The price accounts for both the removal itself as well as measuring, reporting and verifying (MRV) that each ton is safely and permanently stored. This agreement includes key milestones that must be met prior to delivery, including sharing a community benefits plan, presenting results from their FEED study, signing a PPA for renewable energy on their local grid, and securing permits for storage.

Project deployment

Illustration of CarbonCapture’s DAC modules organized in large arrays