ViridiCO2™, a spin-out from the School of Chemistry at the University of Southampton, has successfully closed a £3m seed funding round led by EQT Ventures. ViridiCO2™ delivers innovative, disruptive Carbon Capture Utilisation (CCU) technology that provides a radical and unique solution for the global chemicals industry to cut its CO2 emissions and create new high-value chemical products from the captured CO2. The funding will accelerate the development and commercialisation of ViridiCO2™’s CCU technology, allowing the company to revolutionise how the world utilises waste CO2.
- A spin-out from the University of Southampton, ViridiCO2™’s radical technology converts waste carbon dioxide that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere into high-value chemical products such as surfactants, plastics/polymer feedstocks and small molecules
- The innovative technology enables the chemicals industry to dramatically reduce its use of petrochemicals, significantly reduce costs, and create the first carbon-negative products for use in cosmetics, detergents and shampoos
- ViridiCO2™ is emblematic of how the UK’s world class universities, supportive institutions, and entrepreneurial spirit can come together to create generational defining companies
The global chemicals industry is a high-polluting, 5 trillion dollar1 industry that currently has one feedstock – fossil fuel bases petrochemicals. To keep global warming in line with the Paris Agreement, emissions need to be reduced by 45% by 2030 and reach net zero by 20502. But the industry faces great challenges as, whilst emissions reduction is key, plastics and other petrochemical-based items are not going anywhere.
ViridiCO2™ has invented a radical solution with the creation of technology that converts waste carbon dioxide into high-value chemical products such as surfactants, polymer feedstocks and mall molecules. 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 use of 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, and especially Europe, faces unprecedented energy challenges, this is crucial as it ultimately leads to cheaper manufacturing costs (up to 30%), higher productivity and a far greener manufacturing process that actively reduces CO2 emissions from an industry that contributes approximately 16%3 of global annual emissions.
Conceived during founder Dr. Daniel Stewart’s PhD research, the technology enables industry users to cut use of petrochemicals (sourced from fossil fuels) as feedstocks by 50% immediately, replacing them with CO2 captured from the atmosphere.Daniel Stewart Co-Founder and CEO, ViridiCO2™, stated:
“The foundation, formulation and chemicals industries are some of the world’s greatest polluters and many have aims to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. ViridiCO2™ is focused on assisting the chemicals industry to decarbonise by putting the 7 billion tonnes of industry waste CO2 to good use, creating sustainable products, and a new income source.”
“The use of our technology by the high emitting chemicals industry reduces the reliance on fossil-fuel petrochemical-based materials and valorises the waste CO2 that would otherwise be realised into the atmosphere and further contributing to the climate crisis. In the face of climate change, businesses have realised that sustainability is the fulcrum of their corporate strategy, rather than an add-on – our technology truly helps these heavy emitting manufacturers transition towards a circular economy, reduce scope 1, 2 & 3 emissions and enable the first ‘carbon-positive plastics’ to hit the market.”
Since spinning out from the University of Southampton in November 2021, ViridiCO2™ has used funding from its Angel investors, many of which are Southampton alumni, along with grant funding from Innovate UK, to prove kilogram production capability and to validate it on a chemical manufacturer’s site.
The £3 million seed financing will be used to accelerate the development and commercialisation of ViridiCO2™’s technology and will progress the technology to TRL 7, a system prototype demonstration stage in an operational environment, and then work with manufacturing partners to scale the solution in line with the market demand.Ali Mitchell, Partner, EQT Ventures, said:
“We look to back generation defining companies and ViridCO2 is definitely one that has the potential to accelerate the energy transition of a whole industry. Daniel and his team have invented a revolutionary solution to convert waste CO2 into high-value chemical products, plastics and essential items that are still needed in the world today. The tech enables the chemical industry to cut the use of petrochemicals – with a path to removing this feedstock completely – and reduce CO2 emissions which is crucial to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, to save our planet from a climate catastrophe. The team has created a solution that is a true win-win for business and the world.
“Being a Southampton alumnus myself, it is great to see such a game-changing company with the technology and potential to transform the sector and the world spinning out of one of the UK’s top universities. I look forward to supporting Daniel and his team accelerate the development and commercialisation of the tech and revolutionise the way the world utilises waste CO2.”Emma Burke, Innovation Lead for Commercialisation at Innovate UK, said:
“The UK is ideally positioned to lead the global development and deployment of CCU with its strong industrial sector, world-class universities, and favourable capital investment landscape to enable innovation and growth, making it one of the most attractive business environments for CCU technology. ViridiCO2™ is a fantastic example of how a company supported by Innovate UK’s ICURe programme, can grow, develop, and commercialise such critical technology enabling users to enhance their green credentials, save money and reduce their emissions.”Gill Reid, President of the Royal Society of Chemistry & Professor of Chemistry at the University of Southampton, said:
“Daniel and the team at ViridiCO2™ have developed innovative technology that has the potential to deliver real solutions that can play a pivotal role in achieving net zero emission targets globally and drive forward the emissions reduction solutions for the chemicals industry. It is fantastic to see a homegrown university spin-out that was recognised as a winner of our prestigious 2020 Emerging Technologies Competition continue its journey to scale and become a successful UK business.”
 – The Business Research Company – https://www.thebusinessresearchcompany.com/report/chemicals-global-market-report#:~:text=The%20global%20chemicals%20market%20grew
 – UN – https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/net-zero-coalition#:~:text=Currently%2C%20the%20Earth%20is%20already
 – Ourworldindata.org – Emissions by sector – Our World in Data – https://ourworldindata.org/emissions-by-sector