South East start-up NEG8 Carbon leading the way on technology to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere

Kinetic Labs resident, NEG8 Carbon, has developed and validated a direct air capture (DAC) technology that it is now scaling to capture millions of tonnes of CO2 per year.

NEG8 Carbon aims to combat climate change by removing CO2 from the atmosphere using Direct Air Capture technology. The technology specialises in the capture of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. NEG8 is an SME that was spun out from Trinity College Dublin (TCD) in 2014. The company has a broad-based scientific and business focus which is represented by the founders of the company and holds international patents in the area of carbon capture.

They were the first client of Kinetic Labs in Waterford which was set-up to provide science-based companies in the South East with the lab facilities to develop their products and processes. Kinetic Labs is based at workLAB, giving access to serviced office space and boardrooms.

NEG8 has developed and validated a 1 tonne CO2 capture per year in their pilot unit at Kinetic Labs, Waterford. They are currently developing 400 tonne CO2 per year units that can be arranged in arrays to capture thousands of tonnes of CO2.

NEG8 CTO John Breen, explains:

CO2 in the atmosphere is the primary cause of climate change, NEG8 Carbon aims to combat climate change by removing CO2 from the atmosphere using Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) conclude that DAC will be required to remove up to 40bn tonnes of CO2 per year.  At a predicted price of $100/tonne, the worldwide market size is €0.5trn to €4trn.

Our aim for Ireland is to capture 10m tonnes of CO2 a year – equivalent to 25% of Ireland’s current annual emissions – in the next 10 to 15 years, a market size of €1bn.

Improving atmosphere

NEG8’s core product is a DAC module capable of capturing 400 tonnes of CO2 per annum.

“The modules are stackable so that for example, if a customer wishes to capture 4,000 tonnes/annum they would purchase 10 of our units. The income stream is the sale of the captured CO2 and/or carbon offset credits for removing a tonne of CO2 from the atmosphere.”

A better ecosystem

NEG8 has identified that the start-up ecosystem in the South East is now well placed to support entrepreneurs and high potential start-ups.

“We have noticed that the start-up ecosystem is improving fast in the region,” said Breen.

“In the chemical sciences Ireland has lagged behind our neighbours in Europe and US in terms of start up ecosystem. However, we have built up on our manufacturing base (especially in pharma and bio-pharma) introduced by foreign direct investment (FDI) into Ireland (predominantly) from the 1990s onwards and developed expertise in both operations and R&D.

“This has given the basis to allow entrepreneurship to start to flourish.  We still have some catching up to do but are moving in the right direction.”

Breen said NEG8 recently raised funding will be going out to the market to attract more funding in the year ahead.

His advice for fellow innovators:

“Think of the bigger picture but don’t get overawed by it, learn to focus on achieving bite-sized goals that impact the bigger picture. Have the flexibility and adaptability to change tack if and when required.”