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September 07, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Holocene secures its first-ever carbon removal purchase agreement

For the Knoxville-based start-up, it is clearly a great sign of being on the right track as Holocene noted in a blogpost.

Holocene Climate Corporation, a Knoxville-based start-up developing a technology to ultimately remove gigatons of carbon dioxide from the air, has received its first-ever carbon removal purchase agreement.

A participant in Cohort 6 of the “Innovation Crossroads” program operated by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and also the “Spark Incubator Center” at the University of Tennessee, Holocene was one of 12 companies to share in a $7 million buy facilitated by Frontier Climate on behalf of buyers Stripe, Shopify, and H&M Group.

Founded by Stripe, Alphabet, Shopify, Meta, and McKinsey Sustainability, Frontier has already announced a commitment to buy an initial $1 billion of carbon removal by 2030. That commitment clearly drives the development of carbon removal technologies by guaranteeing future demand for them. “The goal is to send a strong demand signal to researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors that there is a growing market for these technologies,” Frontier writes on its website. “Importantly, Frontier aims to help create net new carbon removal supply rather than compete over what exists today.”

Of the 12 companies that received purchase agreements (see press release here), Holocene was the only one in the Southeast and one of only six based totally in the U.S. Others came from Canada (2), Germany, India, Israel, and the United Kingdom.

For the Knoxville-based start-up, it is clearly a great sign of being on the right track. Holocene wrote in a blogpost that the award was great for three reasons:

  • Frontier’s extensive diligence process that started with more than 130 applicants and eventually resulted in just 12 awards;
  • The purchase agreement announced September 7 serves as a milestone for a longer journey to larger purchase agreements “of the variety that Frontier Climate has shown the ability to deliver” such as a recent one to Charm Industrial for $53 million; and
  • The announcement jumpstarts efforts to sell carbon removal purchase agreements with other entities.

Co-founded by Anca Timofte, who serves as Chief Executive Officer, and Tobias Rüesch, Holocene recently added Keeton Ross as a third Co-Founder. The company operates from space on Papermill Drive in West Knoxville, and readers can find our most recent article here. The company will be pitching next week at “Startup Day.”

Timofte noted that the agreement with Holocene is for 332 tons (find more information here) and that the latest agreements bring Frontier’s total purchases to $65.9 million against the $1 billion promise. “They do this seasonally,” she added.

To deliver on the purchase agreement with Frontier Climate, Holocene will be selling carbon removal services from its planned pilot project that is slated to be constructed in Tennessee in 2025.

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