Adrian Corless, new chief executive for Pasadena-based CarbonCapture Inc., which is developing technology to extract carbon dioxide from the air.

Adrian Corless, new chief executive for Pasadena-based CarbonCapture Inc., which is developing technology to extract carbon dioxide from the air.

Pasadena startup CarbonCapture Inc., the latest company launched by serial technology and renewable energy entrepreneur Bill Gross, announced on Oct. 19 that it has secured $35 million in Series A financing and named veteran cleantech industry executive Adrian Corless as its first chief executive.

CarbonCapture makes machines that remove carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere, a process known as direct air capture. The company’s technology centers on the use of chemical catalysts known as zeolites — which are currently used for a wide range of industrial processes — to extract and sequester carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide can then be stored or injected into a variety of products, such as concrete, fuels and even food products.


This extraction process also produces water, which can supplement meager supplies in drought-stricken regions.


“I’ve made it the purpose of my life’s work to combat climate change by creating technology that will rapidly decarbonize the planet,” Gross — who is the founder of Idealab Studio in Pasadena and a co-founder of CarbonCapture — said in the announcement. “Heliogen is replacing fossil fuels with carbon-free energy from sunlight, Energy Vault is deploying cost-effective and sustainable renewable energy storage technology, and now CarbonCapture is cleaning the atmosphere by removing massive amounts of CO2.”


As it prepares to test its carbon dioxide extraction technology, CarbonCapture has formed partnerships with mining giant Rio Tinto — which has dual headquarters in London and Melbourne, Australia — and Talon Metals Corp., which is based on the island of Tortola, one of the British Virgin Islands, and has a major office in Toronto, Canada. Rio Tinto and Talon Metals have a joint-venture metals mining project in central Minnesota known as the Tamarack Nickel-Copper-Cobalt Project.


According to CarbonCapture’s announcement, feasibility studies of its technology will begin this quarter at the Tamarack mining site, using some of the $35 million in Series A financing. Rio Tinto is one of the lead investors in the financing.


“We look forward to working with CarbonCapture to explore the potential for permanently mineralizing and storing CO2 at Rio Tinto’s sites, which may also offer new commercial opportunities,” Nigel Steward, chief scientist at Rio Tinto, said in the announcement.


The proceeds from the financing have also been used to hire Corless, who previously was chief executive of Squamish, British Columbia-based Carbon Engineering, which has been developing a similar carbon dioxide extraction technology. Corless has also held executive posts with several companies trying to commercialize industrial hydrogen, fuel cell and pump technologies.


“I’m incredibly excited about the opportunity to lead CarbonCapture,” Corless said in the announcement. “This funding, in combination with our transformative technology, world-class team and top-tier commercial partners, provides us with all of the necessary ingredients to quickly become the leading (direct air capture) company in the U.S.”


Besides Rio Tinto, other investors in the Series A financing for CarbonCapture include Prime Movers Lab, a Jackson, Wyoming-based investment company specializing in early stage tech companies in the energy and renewables sector, and San Francisco-based Time Ventures Holdings, which is the investment fund for Marc Benioff, founder and chief executive of Salesforce.com Inc.


CarbonCapture is not the only L.A.-area company that has received financing this month for its carbon extraction technology. Westwood-based startup CarbonBuilt Inc. announced Oct. 6 that it had raised $10 million in Series A financing to further develop and begin to market its technology that extracts carbon dioxide from industrial emissions processes and then injects the gas into concrete.

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