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Direct Carbon's DAC Technology for Indoor Farming

Direct Carbon's origin is a spin-off from Sally R to focus on indoor carbon capture.

Key Takeaways

  1. Company Background: Direct Carbon's origin is a spin-off from Sally R to focus on indoor carbon capture.

  2. Technology Innovation: The shift from traditional CO2 injection methods to Direct Carbon’s outdoor air capture technology.

  3. System Integration and Efficiency: Direct Carbon’s technology enhances efficiency and integrates seamlessly with existing farm infrastructure.

  4. Sustainability and Cost-Effectiveness: The environmental and economic benefits of Direct Carbon’s DAC technology.

  5. Scalability and Future Outlook: Expansion plans and introducing new products for varying farm sizes.

Introducing Direct Carbon

Direct Carbon aims to improve indoor climates while using minimal energy. It was founded as a spinoff of an established company named Sally R, which initially had the vision of creating an innovative solution that could help address the challenges of indoor air quality. Over time, the company shifted towards addressing the challenges of CO2 re-circulation in indoor environments.

According to Mattias Karls, the CEO of Direct Carbon, high concentrations of CO2 in indoor air can lead to several health problems, so many air exchanges per hour are needed in the building to ventilate out the exhaled CO2. The solution was to purify the return air from CO2 and thus save energy for cooling/heating. As a result, the company developed a solution to remove CO2 from the air, which has proven highly effective in improving indoor air quality.

The company was officially formed in 2021 to specialize exclusively in carbon capture technologies. With a team of experienced professionals passionate about the environment and sustainability, Direct Carbon is committed to developing innovative solutions that can help address the challenges of indoor air quality and carbon capture challenges. By leveraging cutting-edge technology and expertise, the company is well-positioned to contribute significantly to the fight against climate change.

In indoor farming, carbon dioxide (CO2) is a pivotal aspect that directly influences plant growth and productivity. Plants require CO2 for photosynthesis, the process through which they convert light into energy. By controlling CO2 levels within the growing environment, indoor farmers can optimize conditions to enhance plant growth rates and yields. This technique involves the careful monitoring and adjustment of CO2 concentrations, which, in optimal conditions, can be significantly higher than the natural atmospheric levels. This strategic supplementation, often achieved using CO2 generators or compressed CO2, can lead to more robust plant health and increased agricultural output, making it a critical factor in the success of indoor farming operations.

Advancements Over Traditional CO2 Methods

Unlike traditional methods of transporting and handling liquid CO2 or burning natural gas, Direct Carbon employs a direct air capture (DAC) method. This innovative approach "captures the CO2 from the outdoor air, enriching the air in the farm with the captured CO2," Karls noted. This method significantly reduces the logistical burden and associated costs, making it more sustainable and economically viable for the environment.

Integration and Efficiency of DAC Technology

Direct Carbon's DAC technology is tailored for easy integration and operational efficiency. It repurposes existing ventilation units into carbon capture systems, substantially lowering costs. "Instead of building a system from scratch, we use existing hardware sold in tens of thousands of units per year and make some smaller adjustments, turning the ventilation unit into a state-of-the-art carbon capture machine but at a fraction of the cost for our competitor’s products," Karls highlighted.

Environmental and Economic Benefits

Direct Carbon's modular DAC technology is a revolutionary solution that can significantly reduce the world's dependence on fossil fuels, a major contributor to climate change. In addition to being environmentally friendly, the technology's affordability and unique pay-as-you-go model eliminate the need for large upfront investments. 

According to Karls, the technology can offer a lower total cost compared to fossil CO2 in some cases. However, in other cases, clients are willing to pay a premium for the technology's ability to eliminate the use of fossil CO2 and help them achieve a truly circular economy. The solution provides a win-win scenario for the environment and the economy.

“Clients that use our solution can use our label “made with air captured CO2” on their products, helping them to show and educate end-consumers about how our DAC solution reduces their CO2 footprint.” Comments Karls 

Scalability and Future Plans

Direct Carbon's solutions are designed to be scalable, catering to farms of various sizes, from small to large-scale operations. During a recent interview, CEO Karls shared the company's ambitious plans for their next product, which will boast a 10x increase in capacity to serve larger farms better. 

With an official product launch scheduled for June 11, 2024, at the prestigious GreenTech fair in Amsterdam and plans for expansion into international markets, Direct Carbon is strategically positioning itself to solidify its presence within the agtech ecosystem over the next decade. The company aims for rapid growth and broad market penetration, demonstrating a strong commitment to innovation and industry leadership.

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