High-tech machines have been used to remove carbon from the ecosystem, and some are not doing their job right. The concept might seem like a life simplification exercise, but it is expensive and less fun. Recently, a TechClean company called Brilliant Planet came up with an idea; why not welcome Mother Nature to decarbonize air? Brilliant Planet is nature-based carbon capture and storage firm. It harnesses seawater and tailors a perfect environment to allow algae to bloom. The company believes that its approach is cost-effective and doesn't further harm the environment. If you have read the IPCC report recently , you've come across an article suggesting that we should change our behaviors. Our activities perpetuate carbon dioxide production, putting the ozone layer at risk. It's why global warming and the greenhouse effects take a toll on us. Removing CO2 from the horizon starts by avoiding anything that aggravates its massive production.
1. Adam Taylor and Raffael Jovine are the founders of Brilliant Planet
According to Climate Tech VC, Brilliant Planet has been at the forefront to keeping carbon at bay using algae under the leadership of Adam Taylor and Raffael Jovine. The two founded the company in 2013. His partner, Raffael's education background in molecular biochemistry and work experience at MIT and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute spearheaded the company's success.
2. The carbon-removal company consists of a team of brilliant scientists
Considering how easy carbon emission is, removing it from the ozone layer can be daunting. It takes a lot of tech-savviness to ensure all the carbon disappears. But why go through all that when science has already solved that problem? Brilliant Planet is a team of scientists who've developed many proprietary IP fundamental insights into how algae grow and how to apply the knowledge in real-world systems. The result is based on climate importance, making the world a safer place for everyone to live in.
3. It talks of algae as carbon removals' "unsung hero"
Algae in your pool or pond might send shivers down your spine. You don't want to imagine how fast they spread and make the water turn green. But do you know how powerful algae is? Brilliant Planet studied it and discovered that it could take in as much carbon as surface plants and trees. You've seen how fast they multiply in the ocean. With Brilliant Planet's technology, it will work in desert-like conditions. Algae belonging to the seasonal cultivars bloom, so they can be used to change thousands of square kilometers of the ocean to carbon-removing elements in a matter of days.
4. It operates in stable open-air outdoor ponds
In the past, like-minded companies first started growing algae in a test tube to determine its behavior. That meant they had to buy or outsource artificial bioreactors to grow them. Eventually, they couldn't keep up because the systems were pricey. The systems were so fragile that when one of them broke, the whole facility would likely crash. Brilliant Planet has taken a different approach; growing algae in low-density outdoor ponds. To contain the budget, the only thing they spend money on is seawater, which an on-site solar facility delivers.
5. Their processes are solar-powered
Brilliant Planet's primary focus is to use eco-friendly products to streamline its processes. The first step was to install high-grade solar power systems in their facility. According to Tech Crunch, scientists at this facility believe that algae rely on the sun for power. The solar also runs pumps to ensure the seawater doesn't stay static. This method has two advantages: it doesn't rely on freshwater to facilitate the process. The solar-powering process works by reducing acidity in the ocean water it utilizes.
6. It has a research facility in Morocco
Currently, Brilliant Planet's research facility sits on a three-hectare land in Morocco from the three-square-meter experiment on the shores of St. Helena, South Africa. The company has conducted trials at the facility for more than four years. The company's chief scientist, Raffael Jovine, believes that their approach reduces up to thirty times more carbon per year than rainforests. The funds from these trials will go to the Series A round to set the groundbreaking initiative for a demonstration facility measuring 30 hectares. It will continue its London-based R&D program.
7. The company has raised a funding amount of $26.7 million
Brilliant Planet's brilliant idea of removing carbon via algae attracted the attention of eco-conscious investors. It is no surprise that up to ten investors were interested in funding it to make the world a safer place to live in. They have backing from some of the most reputable investors, including Union Square Venture and Alpha Impact Investment Management Partners. According to Crunchbase, Brilliant Planet has secured funding of $26.7 million to date. The last funding round happened on April 6, 2022, during the Series A round.
8. Their processes are backed by cutting edge technology
The company used the funds it received to get the latest advances in sensor technologies to ensure their algae favors the environment. They also have a high-frequency satellite monitoring system and industrial automation to achieve the same. Bringing machine learning on board is another technology they've adopted to ensure they harness nature's potential to the fullest.
9. The company has chosen coastal deserts to create value addition to underserved areas
In an interview with DesignBoom, Co-founder Raffael Jovine says that Brilliant Planet's facility is best placed in an empty desert. The first thing they do is bring seawater that's impossible to come to the surface. That means the company wants to take advantage of overlooked natural resources to grow biomass and reduce carbon dioxide, removing up to 30 times more carbon than rainforests. The process also works by reducing acidity in coastal water.
10. It uses the ocean alkalinity enhancement (OAE) approach
When the ocean pH reduces, it develops acidification because carbonic acid forms from carbon dioxide. As long as the pH keeps dropping, the ecosystem will be disrupted. It is the reason ocean water has more carbon than the atmosphere. The most logical explanation is that ocean water dissolves the CO2, balanced with alkaline salts like calcium and magnesium. OAE approach refers to any process geared towards raising the ocean's pH. Consequently, the ocean adapts to absorbing more carbon dioxide so that once it returns the discharged water, it catalyzes natural shell formation.
11. Pre-revenue is its preferred business model
Brilliant Planet is currently working on a pre-revenue basis, so it's still considering selling carbon credits in advance and deciding when that would happen. Their primary goal is to sell both the business and consumer segments. The ones in charge of this company believe they have what it takes to woo corporate buyers into parting with money for high-quality carbon credits.
12. Raffael birthed the idea of Brilliant Planet after seeing other companies get frustrated by producing algae
They say algae grows everywhere, from lawns, exterior home structures, in basements to the oceans. Raffael once noticed that companies were spending thousands of dollars on producing algae, yet it's the most available. This confusion prompted his idea that growing algae will bear fruits, and that's how the company came to birth.
13. It doesn't believe getting certified is vital
It's hard to imagine that a TechClean firm like Brilliant Planet is still working towards getting primary registration certification and beginning to prepare for methodology approval. However, they believe that high-paying investors focus on things more important than certification bodies. Instead, they'd rather have their internal systems do the paperwork. Even though certification is the one thing that proves credibility, it isn't the most critical step such a company should obsess over.
14. It remains uncertain how the carbon markets behave
Currently, Brilliant Planet confiscates carbon dioxide at approximately a tenth of the DAC cost regardless of longevity and verifiability. The carbon market is fast-changing hence quite unpredictable. However, the company believes that the range of prices set is based on the quality of the credit instead of one product. The firm looks forward to a great position to attain the $50-$100/ton high-quality credit market. They believe it's a logical price that makes the economy viable for organizations worth the salt. That means companies offsetting unavoidable carbon emissions can breathe a sigh of relief as they have more time to get rid of carbon during their internal operations.
15. It won the $12 million Series A round
In April 2022, Brilliant Planet won their $12 million Series A round, organized by Toyota Ventures and USV. The two investors aimed to put their money on growth companies, something they achieved with Brilliant Planet. Other companies that participated in the round include Future Positive Capital, S2G, AIIM, and Hatch.
16. It will admit John Buttrick as a board member
Union Square Ventures' CEO, John Buttrick, is to join the Board of Directors at Brilliant Planet. In a PR Newswire interview, he talks about giant companies recording net-zero targets each month. So, he predicts that there will be substantial growth in demand for high-quality carbon credits soon. Doing so prompts such companies to prioritize championing carbon-sequestering while giving the best customer experience to upscale companies. That is where he believes Brilliant Planet comes in handy.
17. Toyota ventures believe Brilliant Planet will go places
Toyota Ventures' climate fund partner, Lisa Coca, once stated that they are happy about the Planet's team's intensive research. Speaking on behalf of Toyota Ventures, Coca believes that the company's ability to merge findings with real-time efficiency improvements is enough to make it go places. Also, its in-depth understanding of algae has made the company realize that it's cheaper and more convenient to amass nature than to change it. Toyota Ventures has promised its undying support for Brilliant Planet to reduce climate change.
18. It believes the gigaton scale needs extensive and feasible facilities that sequestrate algae globally
When asked how the gigaton scale works, Taylor explains that the earth generates approximately four gigatons of oil per year. Remember, $1T of revenue comes after removing one gigaton of carbon dioxide per year. Consequently, firms like Brilliant Planet require massive but practicable facilities for algal sequestration worldwide. That makes it a provider for infrastructure technology like wind turbine manufacturers or solar panels.
19. It relies on the photosynthesis aspect of algae
Brilliant Planet believes that algae are perfect capture and storage devices for carbon dioxide. They don't rely on biological resources to build a supportive system for the branches, stems, and roots. Their primary motive is to make food for energy conversion and photosynthesis. So, when grown right, they spread fast, producing high productivity systems. The more algae are formed, the higher chances to control carbon monoxide.
20. What next for Brilliant Planet?- Hiring roles in London and publicizing algae
The best part about Brilliant Planet closing the Series A round is the extraordinary moment of celebration and reflection. Every achievement it's made is celebrated to depict how far it has come. It's not easy to sell the idea of algae-eating up carbon dioxide to people lacking knowledge in science. But the company's way of instilling knowledge to folks out there is encouraging. The company plans to recruit up to 50 roles in London in 2022. It welcomes experts in communications, business development, science, engineering, strategy, and other broad corporate specifications. Lastly, it plans to publicize algae as the today and future of carbon removal from the ecosystem, allowing plants and animals to breathe clean air.
There you have it. 20 things you never knew about Brilliant Planet. This list shows that the company is eco-conscious and seeks to make the world a safe place to live in. We hope their method to restore Mother Nature will be sustainable if we want to enjoy the best things in life.
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee