Business Irish

Thursday 19 September 2019

Stripe to spend at least $1m a year on carbon capture tech

Stripe founders Patrick, left, and John Collison have committed to carbon reduction methods
Stripe founders Patrick, left, and John Collison have committed to carbon reduction methods

John Reynolds

Stripe, the online payments business founded by the billionaire brothers Patrick and John Collison, is to spend at least $1m (€898,000) a year on capturing and storing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere to offset its carbon footprint.

It follows a number of firms, including John McKeon and Pol O'Morain's Dublin-based Silicon Kingdom Holdings, becoming more active in the emerging carbon capture sector.

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Christian Anderson, an engineer at Stripe, stated that the firm was "committing to pay, at any available price, for the direct removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and its sequestration in secure, long-term storage". He also urged other companies to commit to doing the same.

"If there was scalable, verifiable negative- emissions technology available in the vicinity of $100 per tonne of CO2 captured, it could be a trillion-dollar industry by the end of the century, and complement emissions reduction in halting anthropogenic climate change."

Emerging carbon capture methods like direct air capture, and enhanced capture in plants or through mineralisation, are "an opportunity for Stripe and like-minded early adopters to shift the trajectory of the industry, who ... can help by buying in early. If a broad coalition of buyers commits substantial investment, we're optimistic that the price curve will start to move", he added.

Stripe has been carbon-neutral since 2017, through a scheme to capture and burn methane - a more harmful gas than CO2 - from landfill.

McKeon and O'Morain - whose 'mechanical trees' use a method called direct air capture of CO2 - welcomed the move by Stripe.

They said: "We are delighted to see forward-thinking companies like Stripe get behind technologies including direct air capture. We fully support their global drive to reduce CO2, and plan to explore ways of doing something together on this. Capturing CO2 from the air will be essential if the world wants to come close to achieving the Paris two-degrees global warming limit.

"Our mechanical trees have the potential to do just that, at a cost that makes scalable deployment achievable in the near term."

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