Climate change impacts us all, and it’s not going to get better on its own. With pollution in the air, water, and soil, someone has to tackle the issues scientifically. Technology got us into this mess, but it can get us out again if we learn to use it well. While the world deals with everything from droughts to floods and worse, there are people everywhere developing solutions for the root causes of these climate disasters. Sustainability is more than a buzzword, and climate technology is how we begin reversing centuries of unchecked damage. Here are five companies leading the way in climate technology.
While other companies struggle to get their carbon footprint down to a ‘reasonable level,’ Climeworks has a different plan. Rather than merely keeping its carbon output low, Climeworks builds Direct Air Capture Facilities that permanently remove carbon from the air. In fact, according to the New York Times, Climeworks is the first of its kind. A single Direct Air Capture Facility takes as much carbon out of the air as two thousand trees. Developed by the Icelandic company Carbfix, the facilities Climeworks builds can filter the carbon from the air and then pump it downward using water to deposit the carbon in underground basaltic rock formations. Once there, it can safely be turned into carbonate minerals naturally. The heat from this process warms the water back up, and it is pumped back above ground. From there, it goes to a geothermal power plant, which runs the Direct Air Capture Facility in a closed loop. Although this technology is relatively new, there’s no question that innovative problem-solving technologies like Climeworks Direct Air Capture Facilities are leading the way forward in the climate technology industry. Climeworks didn’t make the top of our list because it only recently started building these revolutionary facilities.
4. Carbon Engineering
Much like Climeworks, Carbon Engineering is hard at work creating capture facilities to take carbon out of the air physically. In addition to its primary goal, CE works directly with companies to help them reach Net Zero goals. Ultimately doing this will help reduce the amount of carbon that needs to be removed to make our air safe and healthy again. If Climeworks was first, why would we give a higher spot to CE? The answer is scale. While a single Climeworks facility can do the job of two thousand trees, Carbon Engineering is working on several orders of magnitude larger facilities. This companies’ megaton-scale Direct Air Capture technology can remove one million tons of CO2 per year. That is the same as a genuinely staggering forty million trees worth of carbon removal each year. However, CE is still building its facilities.
Visolis is a biomanufacturing company. Currently, companies across the spectrum use manufactured and natural chemicals in more processes than anyone could count. The result of this is a tremendous amount of carbon waste and other peripheral damage to the environment. Visolis’ is “Reinventing how the world makes materials.” This company uses existing biological profiles and synthetic processes to manufacture carbon-neutral bio-based chemicals. Virtually every industry uses some form of chemicals produced in the traditional, ecologically disastrous manner. Visolis aims to replace old chemical sources with new, environmentally friendly alternatives that don’t use pollution to manufacture by partnering with prestigious companies like the USDA and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
2. Ocean Based
Phytoplankton are tiny living things that few people ever think about. However, according to National Geographic, they are responsible for seventy percent of the earth’s oxygen. Removing carbon waste is essential, but continuing to produce oxygen is vital to sustaining life on earth. Ocean Based uses the power of waves to create phytoplankton blooms. Restoring and increasing the population of phytoplankton in our seas can help preserve all living things. Not only does this company use zero electricity in its wave-powered pumps, but phytoplankton also aids in creating food security. Many fish eat tiny phytoplankton, so they are more than air producers. Plus, the plankton also stores CO2 removing some of it from the oceans. Ocean Based has worked tirelessly to create a scalable technology, so it’s accessible worldwide. Allowing governments and corporations to contribute to this vital restorative measure is a fantastic way to lead the world to a better environment and healthier climate through this brilliant technology.
1. Beyond Meat
At first glance, Beyond Meat doesn’t look like other climate technology companies. After all, it’s hard to see where non-meat proteins and the environment intersect. However, cows belching and farting puts out a significant portion of the methane gas that impacts global warming. When the weather gets hotter, it changes our climate by melting glaciers and increasing the duration and severity of storms, among other problems. Beyond Meat is secretly leading the charge to help climate change by reducing global beef consumption through healthy alternatives. As unusual as its technology, using beet juice to simulate bleeding burgers and other oddball innovations, this company is quickly becoming a global leader in a growing movement toward more sustainable food practices. Dairy farms and slaughterhouses produce toxic byproducts. So, in addition to helping people lower their unhealthy fat intake, Beyond Meat is changing the global landscape for the better. Reducing climate-impacting gasses and other waste from the beef industry while offering people tasty food is a sly yet noble way to save the planet.
Many companies are either working incredibly hard to lower their carbon footprint or using existing low-tech solutions to combat climate change. Google, Ecosia, and Bosch are all going above and beyond. Google became carbon neutral in 2007. Meanwhile, Bosch creates energy-efficient home products and is aggressively committed to reaching carbon-neutral status. Finally, Ecosia is an alternative search engine that uses its revenue to plant a tree for every search. While none of these things are new climate technology, these three tech-based companies still deserve an honorable mention for their outstanding efforts toward climate change.
Climate change affects every corner of our world. Whether it’s melting polar ice caps, or an out-of-whack polar vortex freezing Texas, there’s no denying that we have a problem. Handling that problem is vital to continued life on earth, but plenty of companies haven’t changed anything. Meanwhile, these five leading companies and hundreds more are working on using technology to combat climate issues directly.