ViridiCO², a spinout from the School of Chemistry at University of Southampton, has closed £3 million. The company’s technology enables users to convert waste carbon dioxide into high-value products such as surfactants, polymer feedstocks or small molecules, says the company in a press release.
The global chemicals industry is a high-polluting, 5 trillion dollar industry. To keep global warming in line with the Paris Agreement, emissions need to be reduced by 45 percent by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. But the industry faces great challenges when it comes to emissions and plastics and other petrochemical-based items.
Through the doctorate studies of co-founder Dr. Daniel Stewart, ViridiCO2 uses a solid catalyst technology that can be retrofitted into existing chemical processes, allowing them to use CO2 in place of petrochemicals. The ViridiCO2 technology activates CO2 – which is otherwise very stable – captured from the chemical manufacturer’s waste flue gas stream. This eliminates CO2 emission to produce circular products which are sold to manufacturers who make consumer products, like washing detergent.
Not only does the technology reduce petrochemical reliance through direct replacement with waste CO2, but it reduces the energy required to fuel the whole manufacturing process. At a time when the world faces unprecedented energy challenges, this is crucial as it ultimately leads to cheaper manufacturing costs (up to 30 percent), higher productivity and a far greener manufacturing process that actively reduces CO2 emissions from an industry that contributes approximately 16% of global annual emissions.
The £3 million seed financing will be used to accelerate the development and commercialisation of ViridiCO²’s technology. A prototype will be made and manufacturing partners are then going to scale the solution in line with the market demand.