Noya Labs is a United States-based start-up company in the business of using cooling towers to combat climate change.
The company was initially developing direct air capture machines but they are expensive to build so Noya decided to utilize existing infrastructure.
The company adds a non-toxic CO2 absorbing chemical blend to existing cooling towers without making any physical changes to the towers and sells the captured carbon dioxide to companies that use it as raw material, helping businesses to fight climate change while being paid for it.
The company’s founders, Josh Santos and Daniel Cavero, began experimenting with carbon chemistry.
“A cooling tower is essentially just a box containing a fancy set of showers moving water, and a huge fan moving air. Normally, they use this mashup of air and water to provide cooling to an industrial process.,” Santos said.
“We don’t interrupt this process, but by adding our blend of clean CO2 capture chemicals into the water these cooling towers use, the CO2 in the air moving through the tower dissolves into the water and reacts with our blend to form a stable intermediate.
“We then run this CO2-rich water through processing equipment installed alongside the cooling tower. This equipment uses heat, pressure, and other forces to regenerate the CO2 in a pure form, which then gets pressurized for storage and transportation.”
Santos said their CO2-capturing devices can capture between half a tonne and a tonne of carbon dioxide per day.
Noya’s technology isn’t completely green yet. This is because the CO2 is being recirculated instead of sequestered, but it’s greener than existing sources of the gas, which come from ammonia and ethanol plants.
“Five years from now we fully intend to have vertically integrated carbon capture and sequestration. Our first step is locally produced low-cost atmospherically captured CO2,” Santos said.
Noya Labs is currently developing a pilot plant and has raised $1.2 million.
“One of the things that makes us excited about this technology is that in the US alone there are two million cooling towers. Looking conservatively — if our initial pilot plant can capture 1 ton per day — we’re at right over half a gigaton of CO2 capture,” he said.
There’s a growing collection of start-tups that are using CO2 to make products.
Prices for commercial CO2 range between $125 per tonne to $5,000 per tonne, according to Santos. Current Direct Air Capture companies sell their CO2 from somewhere between $600 to $700 per tonne.
Here in Australia the CSIRO just released a CO2 Utilisation Roadmap which identifies opportunities to convert carbon dioxide into useful products.
CO2CRC CEO, Dr Matthias Raab, said the roadmap covers direct air capture (DAC), Carbon Negative Hydrogen Utilisation Hub (CNHUB), and CO2 enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR).
Raab said Direct Air Capture technologies are maturing rapidly around the world and field deployment is required to prototype at scale.
“CO2CRC’s Otway International Test Centre is equipped and ready to test and demonstrate DAC units with the captured CO2 able to be stored underground,” Raab said.
“This is yet another unique advantage for Australia to innovate, demonstrate and verify the viability of a highly prospective technology. And, we can do it faster than anywhere else in the world.”