The Noya court a few Years ago it was pretty straightforward: reduce the cost of capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by using existing industrial cooling towers, which are pretty much everywhere. Noya would inject his special carbon-capturing compounds into the tower’s water supply, and after the water had done its job of cooling, he would remove the carbon dioxide from the other end.
That concept was good enough to get them listed on Y Combinator as part of the accelerator’s winter 2021 cohort. The following year of work was fruitful, by all accounts. Then founders Josh Santos and Daniel Cavero took a turn.
“We were preparing to roll out that version of our technology later this year,” Santos, the CEO of Noya, told TechCrunch+. “We changed strategy at the end of last year.”
It wasn’t that his concept was failing, but the economy had changed drastically. The Inflation Reduction Act, which became law in August 2022, increased the incentive from $50 per metric ton to $180 per metric ton for companies that could capture 1,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year and store it underground. That meant getting rid of cooling towers, which are typically not located near suitable storage sites.
“We did some calculations to confirm, of course, but it was really exciting for us. And it was a pretty easy decision,” Santos said. “We made the decision in the fourth quarter of last year to take the same direct air capture technology, same filter, same material, same regeneration process, same equipment design, and basically add our own fan and implement it immediately afterwards. for co2 injection wells.
Noya’s approach to carbon capture is modular, involving a number of units that work independently. Each unit contains a monolith of activated carbon that serves as a scaffold for its sorbent, the chemical that binds carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. A fan blows air through the structure and, after approximately one hour, saturates the sorbent.