This startup founded by ex-Tesla, Google, and SolarCity staffers uses the ocean for carbon removal. Check out the 13-slide pitch deck Ebb Carbon used to raise $20 million.
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- Ebb Carbon has found a way to remove carbon from the atmosphere while making the ocean less acidic.
- The California-based startup was set up by former Tesla, SolarCity, and Google X employees.
- Check out the 13-slide pitch deck Ebb Carbon used to nab $20 million in Series A funding.
An ocean-based carbon removal company founded by former Tesla, SolarCity, and Google X employees has just secured $20 million in Series A financing.
California-based Ebb Carbon, founded in 2021, aims to capture and store carbon dioxide in the ocean while simultaneously tackling ocean acidification.
The ocean has absorbed around 30% of carbon dioxide emitted since the industrial revolution. All of this additional carbon is making the ocean more acidic – 26% more, in fact –, which is affecting coral reefs and biodiversity.
Ebb Carbon has developed an electrochemical process that removes acidity from seawater while enhancing its ability to store carbon dioxide. It emulates a natural process but does it at a much faster pace, cofounder and CEO Ben Tarbell told Insider.
Over time, a natural process would wash alkalinity into the ocean and convert Co2 from the atmosphere into bicarbonate in the ocean, Tarbell, a former SolarCity and Google executive, said. The ocean naturally stores carbon dioxide as bicarbonate. “We’re doing exactly that,” he added.
Tarbell set up Ebb Carbon alongside CTO Dr Matt Eisaman, whose 10 years of research evolved into the business; engineering VP Dave Hegeman, who spent nearly a decade at Tesla; and chief engineer Todd Pelman, the former CEO of engineering company Manufactory.
The IPCC notes that carbon removal technologies are needed to reach the Paris Agreement target of 1.5 degrees warming above pre-industrial levels. Carbon removal companies typically operate on behalf of others who pay them for carbon credits, one of which represents one ton of carbon dioxide removed or reduced.
Ebb Carbon plugs its system – packaged up in two standard 20-foot shipping containers – into desalination plants, salt producers, or aquaculture facilities and intercepts salt water before it’s flushed back into the ocean. The process removes acidity from the water and returns it to the sea, at which point it is slightly more alkaline. This kickstarts a chemical reaction that draws down Co2 and converts it to bicarbonate, the company claims.
The alkaline release then helps to balance the pH of seawater locally, Ebb Carbon claims. The startup monitors the amount of alkalinity and bicarbonate it produces as a verification for acidity reduction and carbon removal.
While the shipping containers themselves are modular, so is the system they house. It is designed to be repeated and factory manufactured for scalability. Tarbell, who has spent his career in solar, said modularity and mass production was key in scaling solar up while bringing costs down. The cofounder is now set on doing the same for carbon removal.
Ebb Carbon’s process is less energy intensive than existing carbon capture and storage solutions, Tarbell said. That’s thanks to the fact it’s taking advantage of the ocean’s surface area to collect Co2, mix the alkaline water, and actually store the bicarbonate – so the company doesn’t need to use energy to compress carbon and bury it deep underground, he said.
The startup has bagged carbon credit purchase commitments from fintech Stripe. Tarbell would not say how much a ton of Co2 removed via Ebb Carbon’s process currently costs but expects it to fall to “well below” $100 in the next five years. Carbon credits are shrouded in issues around quality but Tarbell pointed to the fact that ocean-based removal has the potential to store Co2 for 10,000 years.
The round was led by Prelude Ventures and Evok Ventures, with participation from Congruent, Grantham, and Incite. It came in two batches, with the second closing in March, and brings the company’s total raised to $23 million.
Ebb Carbon will use the cash to deploy its first system, with the capacity to remove 100 tons of Co2, later this year. It is working to roll out a 1,000-capacity system in quick succession.
Check out the 13-slide redacted pitch deck below.