• Jacob Bourne

Nascent Carbon Removal Market Gets Boost from Nasdaq

Nasdaq has acquired a majority share in Puro.earth, a B2B marketplace that provides carbon removal as a service to help corporations and other entities reach carbon neutrality.



Wood as a building material. Credit: Shutterstock/IuchschenF

Carbon removal technologies such as direct air capture are still in their infancy partly because of the high costs and low efficiency of operation. Nasdaq’s investment in Puro.earth signals a shift that’s taking place in the business landscape where the pressure to curb carbon emissions from industries is becoming acute. As global average temperatures continue to climb alongside emissions, there’s increased urgency to explore alternatives to getting carbon out of the atmosphere.

“To stop global warming, it is not enough to limit emissions, measures are also needed to remove carbon dioxide from the air,” said Joachim Alpen, Co-head of SEB’s division Large Corporates & Financial Institutions. “The market for carbon removals is still evolving. We appreciate initiatives to create economic drivers to accelerate carbon removal.”

Puro.earth works with carbon removal suppliers that remove carbon from the atmosphere in a net-negative process removing more than the process itself emits. A third-party entity vets the supplier and issues a CO2 Removal Certificate or CORC for each metric ton of the greenhouse gas taken out of the atmosphere. Companies that have significant carbon footprints can purchase CORCs to get to net-zero carbon status.

“So far, we have seen the carbon removal industry take small steps, and with Nasdaq involved, we have the potential to make much bigger strides," said Antti Vihavainen, CEO of Puro.earth.

Puro.earth currently works with carbon removal suppliers that rely on four methods to draw down CO2 from the atmosphere. The first is biochar, CO2 in a stable, solid form produced from biomass sources through a process called pyrolysis. It can then be used commercially in soil or wastewater treatment. The second removal type involves carbonated building elements such as carbon-negative concrete that can sequester carbon permanently into a building during the hardening phase. Similarly, using wood sourced from sustainable forestry practices as a building material can help achieve carbon neutrality. Trees sequester carbon in tissues during their life cycle but then emit it back into the atmosphere after death during decomposition. Using wood in buildings bypasses the decomposition process, keeping the carbon in storage. Finally, various carbon capture approaches such as DACCS take CO2 out of the air and inject it deep into the Earth for permanent storage.

Vihavainen said in a statement that Nasdaq’s majority share will not alter Puro.earth’s principles and that the company will remain a separate entity. There’s also an independent governing body to oversee methodology development and marketplace rules.

He also predicts that ESG programs of companies that include CO2 removal will increasingly become attractive to investors, which bodes well for the emerging carbon removal market.

“It will create a surge in corporate demand for negative emissions, bringing much-needed liquidity, a signal of a working market,” Vihavainen said. “Carbon removal suppliers desperately need the meaningful revenue streams from carbon removal credits that will support their growth.”


 

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