Netherlands-based Skytree, an early-stage climate tech developer, has announced that it has secured €5.55 million (US$6 million) in a seed round of funding. The round was led by Horticoop, a cooperative fund investing in businesses that contribute to the horticultural industry, and Yield Lab Europe, an agtech impact VC fund.
“Controlled environment agriculture faces a complex challenge with the energy transition that should lead to a reduction of CO2 emissions,” said Steven van Nieuwenhuijzen, CEO of Horticoop. “To achieve a climate-neutral horticulture sector without natural gas, the CO2 required for cultivation must come from sources other than gas. We see Skytree as a company full of potential, able to make direct air capture a success with promising technology,” he added.
Founded in 2014 by Max Beaumont, Skytree uses direct air capture (DAC) technology to harvest CO2 from the surrounding air. The company facilitates a shift away from fossil fuel-based industrial operations and eliminates transport to where the CO2 is needed by offering local, onsite CO2 generation across numerous industries, including indoor farming, greenhouses, and mineralisation.
Skytree's technology is based on more than 10 years of practical research that created 'cutting-edge' equipment for astronauts on the International Space Station to combat the CO2 problem on Earth.
The DAC core technology from Skytree collects CO2 from ambient air onsite, filters it using a proprietary method, and then stores it in pressurized buffer tanks where it can be accessed and used by any company that often requires concentrated CO2.
Skytree claims the solution future-proofs Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) enterprises by enabling onsite CO2 generation, easing transportation and procurement issues, and supplying clean and inexpensive CO2.
These facilities can improve agricultural yields up to 20-30%, higher than conventional farming techniques, thanks to the year-round crop production attained using CEA technologies and circular CO2 supply.
“We are the first climate tech company supporting food security through the deployment of DAC technology, enabling businesses to transition away from fossil fuel-based CO2 supply,” added Rob van Straten, CEO of Skytree. “Not only can we provide a cleaner source of CO2 for greenhouses that use it for their farms, but our onsite solutions also enable increased productivity in farms that currently cannot access or don’t use CO2.”