French/US carbon transformation start-up Dioxycle says it has raised US$17 million in funding to help develop sustainable ethylene from recycled carbon emissions.
The raise comes as investors increasingly look to profit from steps to green high-emitting but hard-to-abate sectors across industry that will be crucial for the world to hit its climate goal but which have, to date, received less capital.
The Series A round was co-led by venture capital firms Lowercarbon Capital and Breakthrough Energy Ventures Europe, with participation from Gigascale Capital, it said in a statement.
Dioxycle’s main product is a proprietary electrolyser that uses water, CO2 and electricity as input. In addition to ethylene, the electrolyser also rejects oxygen. Originally based in France, the start-up wants to work with both French and American clients.
“Global ethylene supply chains face two critical problems: dependence on volatile fossil fuels and highly centralised production. Dioxycle is solving both of those problems at the same time,” said Clea Kolster, partner at Lowercarbon Capital.
Launched in 2021, Dioxycle aims to make the chemical, used widely in the production of textiles and plastics, at a price equal to or lower than the current cost of production from fossil fuels, a market it says is worth US$180 billion.
As the world’s most used organic chemical, removing fossil fuels from its production would cut global carbon emissions by 800 million tons a year, or more than 2% of the world’s annual output, it said.
Using a low-temperature electrolyser, the company said it is able to extract chemicals including ethylene from carbon emissions, water and renewable electricity. This proprietary electrolyser relies on a unique integrated approach that combines cost-effective catalytic technologies, proprietary high-efficiency stack design, and advanced process integration schemes. This approach positions Dioxycle to provide the most energy-efficient and cost-efficient means of producing sustainable ethylene and other key commodity chemicals with system design tailored to scale.
Going forward, the company would look to expand its product range, it added.
Electrolysis is nothing new, but the main issue with this process is that it requires a lot of input electrical energy. “
Dioxycle has been designing its own catalytic cores with special metal alloys in order to improve the efficiency of the process. The start-up tries to maximise the exposure time of CO2 and minimise all potential efficiency losses.
It intends to use the money raised to build its first on-site demonstration project and an industrial prototype.
“Dioxycle is the most exciting electrolysis-based carbon capture and utilization company we have come across,” said Carmichael Roberts of Breakthrough Energy Ventures.
“The team has developed a low-temp electrolyser to convert carbon emissions into commodity chemicals with impressive economics unlocking the potential to disrupt the US$5 trillion-plus commodity chemical & fuel industry.”