Woodside, Cemex tip in to $10m raise for carbon capture tech startup KC8

Woodside, Cemex tip in to $10m raise for carbon capture tech startup KC8

Mexico-headquartered materials giant Cemex will utilise KC8's technology at one of its leading cement plants. Photo: Cemex, via Facebook.

KC8 Capture Technologies, a Melbourne-founded startup catering to hard-to-decarbonise heavy industries like cement, steel and power generation, has raised $10 million to accelerate deployment of its technology and expand its team.

The announcement comes after another Australian carbon capture technology company, Fugu, announced today that it had successfully closed a seed round to scale up production.

The KC8 funding round was led by local and global leaders in energy, construction and chemical manufacturing including Woodside Energy (ASX: WDS), the venture arm of Mexican materials giant Cemex, and an unnamed major petrochemical company.

Melbourne-headquartered KC8 will also work with Cemex to deploy its technology through a front-end engineering design (FEED) study at one Cemex’s leading cement plants, with the aim of capturing more than 100 tonnes per day (TPD) of CO2, an ambition that is 10 times greater than current project scopes.

Founded in 2021, KC8 claims it provides a lower-cost, and lower potential environmental impact carbon dioxide capture technology compared to conventional amine-based processes. 

Its technology can capture up to 95 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions from heavy industrial sources at a capital cost up to 50 per cent lower than amine-based solutions and at an improved energy efficiency of up to 15 per cent.

Traditionally, the Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) industry uses amine-based solvents on these hard-to-abate industries. KC8 has developed a proprietary non-toxic solvent that’s derived from a naturally-occurring material.

This allows KC8’s technology to treat low pressure, high volumes exhaust gases at lower cost to help these industries meet their net zero targets.

"Being able to provide safe, naturally occurring solvents that have little or no impact to the environment at scale is an incredible feat," says KC8 Technologies executive director Greg Ross.

"By lowering the cost of capture, our goal is to enhance and accelerate CCUS as a leading greenhouse gas mitigation tool that will form an important part of a balanced solution to lowering emissions for all sectors."

In Australia, KC8 is working with Cement Australia to build a 15 TPD (tonnes per day) commercial demonstration plant — the ‘PACER’ project for the Cement Industries. The plant will be located in Gladstone, Queensland, and capture CO2 at a fully operational cement facility.

In the United States, KC8 is developing a Commercial Pilot Demonstration plant at the US Department of Energy’s National Carbon Capture Center (NCCC) that will achieve a capture rate of 10 to 15 TPD of CO2 from natural gas combustion flue gas.

"Our mission is to provide the most sustainable, cost-effective solution for large scale abatement — particularly for industries that don’t currently have a clear pathway to emission reduction," says Ross.

"We’re grateful for the local and global industry investment, which will accelerate our commercialisation plans and the deployment of our technology into these critical industries."

Woodside's vice president carbon solutions, Jayne Baird, says KC8 technology has the potential to assist Woodside’s efforts to reduce emissions from its operations.

"As a global energy company, we understand the need to innovate and develop efficient and cost-efficient ways to produce safe, lower carbon, affordable and reliable energy through the energy transition," says Baird.

"We want to ensure we enable the technological innovation required to do this."

Cemex Ventures head Gonzalo Galindo says achieving carbon neutrality requires not just sustainable investments, but aggressive action from major players like Cemex.

"By adopting clean technologies and fostering collaboration with innovative global startups like KC8, we aim to revolutionise the construction industry and significantly reduce the environmental impact of our operations in order to become a net-zero CO2 company by 2050," he says.

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