Profitable Carbon Reduction: Leveraging Emerging Technologies

By Faraz Gorji Published on Jan. 07, 2021

Climate change and in particular its top contributor, carbon emission, is currently the largest global environmental problem. This begs the question of how and why did we get where we are now? Industrialization had a pivotal role in increased levels of carbon emissions - from 1850 to 1992 most countries around the world continued to exponentially increase their carbon emissions with minimal to no efforts to effectively tackle this mess of a problem. By 1992, industrialized nations gathered around and through a United Nations framework drew up the Kyoto Protocol. This agreement aimed to reduce carbon footprints of the participating nations, yet excluded developing countries which played a significant role in the emission of greenhouse gases. In addition, this agreement expired in 2012. Many believe these two points were the inevitable failure of this agreement. Again in 2009, a similar, yet slightly more successful agreement came about called the Copenhagen Conference as well as the Paris Agreement in 2015.

The fact of the matter is that countries alone will inevitably fail to meet these ambitious goals, because a majority of the impact and change needed requires a sort of strong unity between both the private and the public sector to tackle and resolve this global issue. Let’s not forget that the consumer habit also plays an important role here.

Solution

It’s important to remember that we have a responsibility to our children, future generations to come, and most importantly to the Earth that we temporarily exist on to take care of the environment. The wildfires roaring through California have been a harsh wakeup call for many who were doubtful of the consequences of industrialization and careless practices.

As the consumer habits are changing towards more sustainable practices, it’s absolutely imperative for companies to start radical changes in order to stay in business. History has shown us that consumer habits can take down the biggest and most powerful players if they don’t innovate sustainably. Global players are realizing this, taking the first steps and paving the way for the smaller businesses.

Earlier this year Microsoft announced their strong commitment to be carbon negative by 2030. According to Microsoft President, Brad Smith “The world’s climate experts agree that the world must take urgent action to bring down emissions. Ultimately, we must reach ‘net zero’ emissions, meaning that humanity must remove as much carbon as it emits each year. This will take aggressive approaches, new technology that doesn’t exist today, and innovative public policy. It is an ambitious – even audacious – goal, but science tells us that it’s a goal of fundamental importance to every person alive today and for every generation to follow.”

Last year, Amazon and Mercedes announced their commitment to meet the Paris Agreement 10 years earlier in the automotive industry. This year, International Paper in collaboration with the Nature Conservatory committed to address deforestation and responsible forestry practices.

In the following section we will be introducing a few startups that are tackling carbon emissions in the travel, forestry, oil & gas, and other industries. Some of the startups focus on digitally tracking carbon footprints, others have come up with technologies and even new materials to transform these emissions to, and some have been offering ways to offset carbon emissions.

Related Startups

In light of these commitments we, at Plug and Play Tech Center, with an ecosystem of over 30,000 startups are committed to help interested corporations meet these ambitious, yet necessary, goals with the help of emerging startups tackling carbon reduction: (Please note that these startups could also apply to individual lifestyle as well).

Resynergi: Resynergi focuses on the global problem of waste plastics. The company provides and services modular systems that convert unrecycled waste plastic into usable fuels and other products such as those used for the repolymerization of plastics, with minimal amounts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Resynergi creates fuels that are environmentally friendly with both low carbon and low sulfur. The systems are easy to deploy, scalable, and highly cost efficient.

CarbonChain: CarbonChain is a provider of a platform that enables companies in the polluting industries such as metals and mining, oil and gas, and agriculture to track their supply chain greenhouse gas emissions that help them track their transition to the low-carbon economy. (Rohnert Park, USA)

The platform digitizes the supply chain to foster transparency, enhance security, and drive efficiencies and cost savings end to end across supply chains. It supports a wide range of hard and soft commodities with its database of greenhouse gas emissions factors covering individual assets from mines to ships. (London, UK)

Klima: Klima gives you an effective way to take immediate climate action by wiping your carbon footprint off the planet. Klima makes it easy to calculate your footprint and understand the climate impact of your lifestyle. You can then support science-backed projects that remove or prevent the same emissions elsewhere. By planting biodiverse tropical forests, turning the Saharan sun into green energy, or supporting other successful climate initiatives, you’ll measurably reduce CO2 emissions around the globe and neutralize your own footprint. (Berlin, Germany)

Nula Carbon: Nula Carbon is a climate action platform. We are here to shine a spotlight on what we believe to be one of the most effective tools in preventing climate change: forests, more specifically their protection. To do this, we are working to bring carbon offsetting into the mainstream. Using it as a catalyst to inspire wider climate action change.

Nula Carbon helps individuals and companies offset their unavoidable emissions by protecting threatened forests. Our subscription service makes carbon credits accessible for individuals, whilst also reducing the barrier to entry for businesses. Starting with a climate positive workforce, a perk for employees whilst also putting them on the climate action ladder. (London, UK)

Greenfern Dynamics: We create process control solutions to sustain optimum operation of an industrial process. The payback of these improvements is generally measured in months with benefits including:

Improved production capacity and product yields;

Reduced energy consumption and environmental footprint;

Improved operability and reduced operator workload;

Improved process regulation and reduced alarm count.

Greenfern Dynamics is a technology ambidextrous engineering consultancy with a team of recognised process control and optimisation specialists. (Glenelg, Australia)

growPack: A lignocellulosic technological platform that transitions towards a carbon neutral, circular flow of materials and resources that is beneficial for all. (Sao Paulo, Brazil)

Albo: Albo analyzes satellite imagery using deep learning to map, measure and monitor carbon offset. We help reverse climate change and disrupt the carbon credits market for landowners. We make it simple for landowners to start selling certified carbon credits, and for companies to start buying them. We do so by analyzing satellite radar imagery with pro-prie-tary machine learning algorithms. Our technology lets us instantly map and measure parameters beneath and above the surface and to calculate carbon sequestration. (Raanana, Israel)

CarbonSpace: CarbonSpace is an AI- and Satellite-powered B2B SaaS Platform for remote carbon footprint tracking and verification. We provide our customers with an easy to use, quick and affordable carbon footprint dashboard for their own and suppliers' operations helping them to reduce climate-related risks and regular monitoring costs.

Our team of tech entrepreneurs and space scientists cumulatively founded 5+ tech startups and gathered 10+ professionals to dramatically increase carbon transparency and empower global efforts to address climate change. (Berlin, Germany)

Aljadix: We are developing carbon negative biofuel from microalgae feedstock. As a start-up biofuel company, since 2014, Aljadix is a concept stage venture driven by marine biologists, biofuel chemists and climate scientists who are anxious to bring Carbon Negative Biofuel to market. Our Carbon Negative Biofuel is designed on a novel, massively scalable system which will replace fossil fuels and begin the permanent removal of excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. (Basel, Canada)

Singularity Energy: Singularity is an award-winning Harvard spinoff building real-time carbon tracking and decision making solutions to help climate regulators, sustainability directors, and clean tech product directors meet ambitious targets with confidence and transparency through a combination of data and artificial intelligence, unlike the opaque, outdated carbon reporting and management that they do today.

Kora: Kora helps humanity win the war against climate change. To support the cause, Kora intends to empower everyone and to induce a more sustainable way of living. The primary mechanism for this is the Kora, a digital complementary currency which is minted by individuals, companies, organizations, and governments for performing a range of sustainable activities. The Kora is designed to be stable, backed by assets and is intended for daily use, so sustainable behavior can be instantly rewarded. The minting is done by anyone who performs the sustainable activities pre-determined by their panel of experts, e.g. produces clean energy, commutes in sustainably, recycles or eats non-animal protein. (Riga, Latvia)

Miles: Miles is a universal rewards app empowering anyone to earn miles automatically for all forms of travel and commute. Users can then redeem their miles from retailers such as Amazon, Starbucks, Target, Whole Foods, Bath & Body Works, Canon, Cole Haan, HelloFresh, NatureBox, and many more. (San Jose, USA)

Emitwise: Started in July 2019, with the objective of making environmental sustainability profitable for companies.

Manually measuring carbon emissions is a time-consuming and error-prone process that is traditionally outsourced to expensive consultancies. Emitwise uses machine learning and data integrations to automate the collection and processing of operational and supply chain data.

The end-result is continuous carbon intelligence to better manage your carbon footprint. Emitwise provides organizations with real-time dashboards and visualizations to engage consumers and the general public. The true power of the software, however, is its ability to generate actionable insights on how to cost-effectively reduce emissions.


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