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UK climate tech captures £4.2M funding to reduce carbon emissions by gigatonnes every year through AI

Carbon Re funding
Image credits: Carbon Re

Carbon Re, a UK-based climate tech startup on a missing to decarbonise energy-intensive industries with AI, has raised £4.2 million seed funding to scale up the development and deployment of its technology.

The investment round was led by Planet A Ventures, a Berlin-based green tech venture capital firm that recently backed German SaaS Makersite. Further, Clean Growth Fund, UCL Technology Fund, and Cambridge Enterprise also participated in the round. With this, the total investment secured by the company accounts for £5.5 million so far.

The fresh funds will enable Carbon Re to roll out its product into the global cement market and expand into other energy-intensive industries, such as steel and glass. It will also help the company to scale up the development and deployment of its novel technology.

The London-based firm is a spinout of Cambridge University, and UCL and its focus is on energy-intensive industries such as cement, steel, and glass, which are responsible for more than 20% of global emissions. Carbon Re’s Delta Zero platform for industrial decarbonisation uses deep learning to enable rapid development and deployment of new low-carbon industrial processes, designs, and materials.

Sherif Elsayed-Ali, CEO of Carbon Re said, “Carbon Re is connecting the biggest challenge of our time – climate change – with the biggest opportunity – advances in AI. Our cement plant trials have demonstrated that Delta Zero can deliver dramatic CO2 savings on a near-live basis. Our platform provides a unique solution for energy-intensive industries that delivers £2 million in fuel cost savings and 50,000 tonnes of CO2 savings per plant. This latest funding round will enable us to accelerate our mission to reduce carbon emissions by gigatonnes every year.”

Jan Christoph Gras, General Partner at Planet A, said: “Energy-intensive materials, such as cement and steel, are the backbone of modern economies but they account for more than 20% of global CO2 emissions. Carbon Re’s state-of-the-art AI solution has the potential to tackle some of the toughest challenges on the road to a carbon-neutral future. Starting with fuel efficiency in cement, Carbon Re has the ambition and capability to develop a large portfolio of advanced solutions across multiple industries – and substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Capturing carbon with AI

Energy-intensive industries, such as cement, steel, and glass, account for over 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions and are one of the hardest sectors of the economy to decarbonise. The current plan for these industries relies heavily on Carbon Capture and Storage, a technology that will take decades to scale and increases the cost of these fundamental materials by 60%. Carbon Re’s platform is already reducing emissions and cutting the cost of production and requires no new equipment.

Its Delta Zero AI platform enables the highly pollutive cement industry to reduce over 50 kilotonnes of annual CO2 emissions per plant. Each installation of the software saves as much CO2 as taking 11,000 cars off the road.

Carbon Re was founded by Aidan Sullivan, Buffy Price, Daniel Summerbell, and Sherif Elsayed-Ali in 2020 in London.

Aidan is Associate Professor in Energy and AI at the UCL Energy Institute and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from University College Cork in Ireland and a PhD from the Department of Mathematics at Imperial College London.

Sherif is a leading expert in the tech for good space, and he previously set up and led the AI for Climate practice at Element AI. Buffy was AI for Climate Partnerships Manager, at Element and is PRINCE2 certified, has a BSc in Neuroscience, and is a trustee of the International Disaster Volunteers and Daniel is an EPSRC Knowledge Transfer Fellow and Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Institute for Manufacturing in Cambridge.

Currently, their team includes around 23 people out of which, 35% are female, and 65% male and they have employed 26% of ethnic minorities from 13 different nationalities.

If we consider the data of PwC, globally, there are more than 3,000 climate tech startups. And the climate tech sector is on a boom right now as it is being considered by tech experts to be recession-proof. Record levels of investment in climate tech are being driven by the convergence of several trends, from climate change and extreme weather events, the global disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, to increasing populations and urbanisation. Check out this list curated by TFN of the 10 tech unicorns in the climate tech industry living up to Bill Gates’ dream and poured-in incredible funding in the sector.

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