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Demand for Direct Air Capture Gives Startup Skytree A Boost

One of the main objectives of global climate initiatives is to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Getting there requires innovation in many different areas, including technologies that capture carbon dioxide directly from the air and then store it where it can’t harm the atmosphere.

Direct air capture (DAC) is a vital part of the U.S. climate agenda – so much so that the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 offers tax credits of up to $180 per tonne of CO2 permanently stored, according to the International Energy Agency.

That’s up from $50 per tonne previously offered, Forbes reported – an increase of 260%.

Because of its importance in battling climate change, direct air capture has seen a “surge” in interest and investment in recent years, according to a 2022 report from the World Resources Institute. There has also been a rise in the number of companies that offer DAC solutions.

One of those companies is Skytree, a startup that provides DAC units to the indoor farming industry. According to the company’s website, Skytree provides decentralized direct air capture (DDAC) technology that lets users generate the “exact amount” of CO2 needed. Carbon dioxide can be captured onsite directly from the air outside.

Photo Courtesy Skytree

Skytree cites several benefits of the technology – including “unprecedented” flexibility, reliability, ease of use, and the ability to “significantly” reduce transportation costs and emissions.

According to Carbon Herald, the startup’s mission is to capture 10 million metric tons of CO2 through customer applications by 2030. Skytree also aims to use its technology to achieve carbon neutrality.

Investors have taken notice. In June, Skytree closed a $6 million seed round led by Horticoop, a cooperative fund that invests in the horticultural industry, and Yield Lab Europe, an international Agtech impact VC fund. The funding will allow Skytree to move towards its climate neutrality goal while also boosting the adoption rates of its DAC technology, Carbon Herald reported.

Photo Courtesy Skytree

“We are the first climate tech company supporting food security through deployment of DAC technology, enabling businesses to transition away from fossil fuel-based CO2 supply,” Skytree CEO Rob van Straten told Carbon Herald.

“Not only can we provide a cleaner source of CO2 for greenhouses that use it for their farms, but our onsite solutions also enable increased productivity in farms that currently cannot access or don’t use CO2.”

As of June 2023, Skytree had offices in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and Portland, Oregon. TechCrunch reported that the company was spun out of the European Space Agency in 2014 after its core technology “saw service” on the International Space Station.

Skytree initially targeted the automotive sector with its technology, according to an article on the TechJuice website. The idea was to capture carbon dioxide emitted by people inside vehicles, reducing the need for air conditioning. But that market proved too challenging, so Skytree focused on greenhouses and indoor farming. 

Photo Courtesy Skytree

As Carbon Herald noted, Skytree’s technology filters CO2. Then it stores it in pressurized buffer tanks, where indoor farm and greenhouse customers can access it as needed in the form of concentrated carbon dioxide. According to some estimates, the circular supply of CO2 can increase crop yields by up to 30% compared with traditional farming methods. 


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