Estonian Startup Turns CO2 into Graphite

An EU-funded innovative project called CO2Carbon led by Estonian technology start-up UP Catalyst has secured an investment of €1.59 million to develop technology to convert carbon dioxide into graphite.

The goal of the consortium, consisting of world-renowned research institutes and leading industry partners, is to revolutionize shipping containers as they are one of the most scalable technology units and can be easily transported globally. The benefit is two-fold, the CO2 will be captured and turned into extremely valuable products. Currently, these materials are produced from fossil fuels with an enormous environmental footprint and impact. This technology contributes directly to the circular economy as it closes economic loops within the raw material industry.

The outcome of this proposal would be an automated pilot shipping container that absorbs 10 tonnes of CO2 and produces 2 700 kg of sustainable carbon materials per year, with a potential revenue of 2.7 million EUR per year. A pilot project such as this will accelerate the progress towards even larger scale CO2 splitting operations by creating knowledge and understanding of the processes taking place when splitting CO2 electrochemically at such a large scale.

UP Catalyst solution for producing sustainable graphite. Image: UP Catalyst


Until now, 500,000 tonnes of graphite has been imported by the EU to fulfil the ever-growing need for energy storage solutions and electric vehicle (EV) batteries. The technology to be developed is evidence of how Europe is applying innovative technologies to reduce Europe’s dependencies on raw materials from abroad, contributing to the EU’s needs to meet its greenhouse gas emission targets by 2030.