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Brilliant Planet

Sequestering carbon permanently at 50$/ton

Brilliant Planet unlocks the power of algae as a scalable method of sequestering carbon at scale.

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Their mission
Permanently and affordably remove gigatons of carbon from the atmosphere.
Removing carbon
London, UK

Their UVP

The company’s innovative process emulates and harnesses natural ocean algae blooms in open-air pond-based systems on coastal desert land, without using fresh water. They then dry the biomass they produce, and place it underground for long-term storage.
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Grand challenge

Removing carbon

10 billion
tons of CO2 we need to remove from the atmosphere in the next 25 years (WRI)
generally accepted goal for the cost of a ton of carbon that’s permanently removed from the atmosphere

The release of the IPCC’s final section of its latest report in April 2022 contained a clear message: for the world event to have a chance of limiting future heating to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, we must actively remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Indeed, physical constraints and ethical considerations can make emissions reductions – however necessary they may be – extremely challenging. As a result, emissions from areas like electricity production, transport or buildings will need to be offset by removing an equal magnitude of carbon dioxide.

Every potential carbon dioxide removal solution includes benefits and trade-offs, and must be assessed through according to several criteria, including:

  • storage permanence (or durability)

  • location requirements

  • verifiability

  • natural resource usage

  • energy and material requirements

  • cost-effectiveness.

“Engineered” options such as direct air capture (DAC) are required to remove carbon at industrial scales, but are limited today because of their high energy requirement and associated costs. Because CO2 exists in minimal ambient concentrations (400 parts per million, or 0.04% by volume), capturing it is energy intensive. Current capture cost estimates range from $100 per ton to over $1,000 per ton. Reliable estimates expect costs to reach $200–300 in 2024 but remain at $50–150/ton, even in optimistic scenarios, by 2075. At scale, energy costs may be a significant hurdle to deploying DAC.

Why did we invest?

10x lower capex v. conventional DAC systems

Brilliant planet founders
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Adam Taylor, CEO
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Rafael Jovine, CTO

We have been looking at the carbon removal space with one obsession: finding a team and a company that can remove carbon for less than 100$/ton in a scalable and CAPEX-efficient way. Brilliant Planet was that company.

Over the last decade, Brilliant Planet’s scientific founder Raphael Jovine has developed a deep knowledge and international recognition (as well as filed over 25 patents) in harnessing algae systems.

Thanks to his research, Brilliant Planet has a viable path to remove carbon at $50/ton. Their carbon products are permanent, verifiable, affordable, and use only infinitely available resources (sunlight and seawater).

This is possible thanks to their “high science, low engineering” approach – which combines core technology, focused on efficient bio investigation, analysis and selection of native algae species, as well as the optimization of all inputs and growing conditions to accelerate development cycles (and reduce costs), with existing and well-understood infrastructure that’s used in the world’s largest algae and fish farms and is easily deployable.

Beyond carbon removal, Brilliant Planet’s solution is genuinely additive, with co-benefits that will deepen interest in their solution, including seawater deacidification. By growing algae en masse, Brilliant Planet’s farms effectively ‘de-acidify’ these large volumes of seawater, returning them to their pre-industrial state without depleting seawater nutrients or depriving natural systems before returning those volumes of water to the sea.

Before we invested, Raphael was joined by Adam Taylor as CEO. Adam previously co-founded FirstWave Group to become Africa's leading aquaculture firm, producing 35 million fish a year. His experience developing and running this specific type of infrastructure in developing countries is a core pillar of our investment.

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