Harnessing The Power of Nature to Decarbonize the World

Vic Pascucci
Managing Partner

We founded Energy Capital Ventures to empower the clean energy revolution. Our mission is to advance and create a clean, safe, reliable and cost-effective energy future for all communities and organizations. We are lucky to partner with visionary natural gas distribution companies who are clearly aligned with us as we support their journey towards net-zero carbon emissions.

One of our biggest priorities is decarbonization - where the carbon is and how to mitigate it. One of our theses is, decarbonize where the carbon actually is. Taking carbon out of the equation altogether is not always possible or economically feasible. If carbon can be used and reused economically, a gigantic problem has been solved.

Carbon is in everything organic, it’s inside humans, food and many of the materials used in everyday life (plastics, clothing, building materials, etc). Carbon is recycled by nature. Plants use photosynthesis to create sugar and oxygen. Animals eat carbon-based plants (as well as other animals) and recycle the carbon into energy. Nature is a carbon and energy transformation cycling machine. To reduce carbon in the atmosphere, carbon needs to be on the other side of the transformation cycle. Our hypothesis is that nature will provide the ultimate solution.

I remember our first conversation with Moji Karimi, the CEO of Cemvita Factory: “You need to think about CO2 as an asset, not a liability.” What if CO2 is viewed as a feedstock or a building block for other chemicals, fuels, and materials, instead of a pollutant? CO2 can be upcycled into valuable products through a closed loop system to re-use what has been combusted. Further, instead of building one factory to create this process, the system can use microbes as trillions of super-efficient chemical plants. The result will be an actively managed carbon transformation processes creating energy when needed and storing it when not needed. Brilliant and inspiring visions are the foundation of multi-billion-dollar technology companies. Cemvita Factory has exactly one of those visions.

Let’s “geek out” a bit more on Cemvita’s science ☺. Cemvita optimizes the natural carbon transformation cycle through biomimicry (the process of imitating nature) to replicate what already works in the natural world. The company re-created artificial photosynthesis in the lab, taking naturally occurring microbes and genetically modifying them by leveraging advances in computational biology, CRISPR, and entrepreneurial genius to bio-engineer microbes that “eat” CO2 and transform it. Cemvita microbes “eat” water and CO2 to make bio-ethylene, an intermediate chemical used for durable plastics. Their microbes “eat” CO2 and water to make bio-methane, a drop-in, net-zero carbon replacement for natural gas. Cemvita microbes “chew” through complex hydrocarbons to extract hydrogen, which burns without CO2 emissions. And much more! This amazing biological carbon utilization platform is the very core of Cemvita Factory's technology.

At ECV, we make investment decisions based in general on: (i) team, (ii) technology, (iii) market, (iv) competitive advantage and (v) fit. Moji Karimi and Dr. Tara Karimi possess the critical team combination of business acumen, scientific prowess, and industry experience. The multiple biological pathways Cemvita has created are next-level technological feats. These pathways enable them to conquer enormous markets in plastics, energy, aerospace and beyond. Cemvita’s corporate partnerships and advanced scientific progress generate definitive competitive advantages. The culture of the Cemvita and its mission to decarbonize are a clear fit with the culture of Energy Capital Ventures, our mission to empower clean energy and the goals of our strategic limited partners.  

We are incredibly proud be part of the Cemvita journey, and excited to work alongside great partners 8090 Partners, Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Sumitomo and BHP to create a net-zero carbon world! As the superheroes is lab coats, not capes, at Cemvita Factory say, “Carbon Negative, Climate Positive!”