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Charm Industrial raises $100M for carbon removal

Illustration of a carbon molecule, US currency and geometric shapes

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

Carbon removal startup Charm Industrial closed a $100 million Series B to ramp up production of its "bio-oil."

Why it matters: Coming on the heels of a major purchase agreement with JPMorgan and Frontier, Charm is locking up blockbuster deals for technology it says more efficiently removes heat-trapping carbon from the ambient air.

Details: General Catalyst, the Cambridge-based venture capital and growth equity firm, led the all-equity round.

  • Lowercarbon, Exor, Kinnevik, Thrive and investor Elad Gil participated. The round closed in late May.

Meanwhile, Charm last month announced a series of deals with industry heavyweights, including a $53 million carbon removal deal with Frontier, the corporate carbon-removal coalition founded by Meta, Alphabet, Stripe, Shopify and McKinsey.

The intrigue: JPMorgan signed up to buy 28,585 metric tons of carbon-dioxide removal from Charm over five years — slightly more than the bank is buying from Climeworks, the glitzy Swiss startup working on carbon removal via direct air capture.

How it works: Charm collects corn stalks and other residue left over from farming, then heats it in a pyrolyzer until it breaks down into bio-char and bio-oil.

  • The bio-oil can be injected deep underground where it becomes a solid — effectively sequestering the carbon emissions that had been captured by the plants Charm collected and liquefied.

1 fun thing: The San Francisco-based startup is unusually upfront about its hiccups, including an "overwhelming onslaught of corn cobs, some still filled with rock-solid corn kernels" that threatened to choke its pyrolyzer in Kansas.

What's next: Charm plans to expand its one operating pyrolyzer into a fleet of "tens of thousands," the company said in a press release.

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