Startup capturing CO2 to double Colorado presence
A carbon removal startup that uses corn to clean the air is ramping up its Colorado operations.
Why it matters: Carbon dioxide, a potent planet-warming gas, reached the highest level in human history last year. Scientists say pulling CO2 from the atmosphere will be key to avoiding a climate catastrophe.
Driving the news: Charm Industrial has announced plans to at least double its 22-person Colorado workforce by the end of 2024.
- The Bay Area-based company welcomed Gov. Jared Polis last week to its 30,000-square-foot facility in Fort Lupton, northeast of Denver, which opened late last year.
How it works: Charm uses extremely high temperatures to heat — without oxygen — corn stalks and other residue left over from farming and forest management, breaking them into a tar-like liquid called "bio-oil."
- That goop gets pumped deep underground where it solidifies and is stored permanently.
- This effectively traps the CO2 in the plant-based oil instead of it being released in the air when the plants decay.
- The company has delivered more than 6,400 tons of CO2 removal so far.
- Some experts say that today's biomass-burning power plants can produce more air pollution than fossil fuel plants, posing a danger to public health and the environment.
Flashback: Charm — whose customers include corporate giants like Frontier and JPMorgan — closed on a $100 million Series B round earlier this year, allowing it to accelerate its work in Colorado and the broader corn belt, Axios Generate's Ben Geman writes.
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