NYU Carbon to Value (C2V) Initiative


NYU’s substantial commitment to the environment was highlighted in the second quarter of 2021 both in terms of its efforts in relation to the Carbon to Value initiative and its efforts in relation to the circular economy and can also be seen in its university-wide pledge to reduce food-related greenhouse gas emissions by 25% over the next decade.

According to Pat Sapinsley, managing director of clean-tech initiatives at the Urban Future Lab / ACRE at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, the act of reducing greenhouse gas emissions itself won’t be enough to keep global warming at manageable levels. She says that carbon dioxide must be removed from the atmosphere.

Providing leadership in this area together with partners Greentown Labs and Fraunhofer, in the second quarter of this year NYU launched the Carbon to Value Initiative (C2V) acceleration program, which seeks to create an ecosystem for the commercialization of technologies that capture and convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into valuable products or services – an area known as ‘carbontech.’

While Sapinsley has stated to green design site INHABITAT, that over 100 gigatons of carbon must be removed from the atmosphere by 2050, she further said that analysts predict that this need could lead to a trillion dollar market opportunity, in “sectors as diverse as fuels, cement production, industrial gases, chemicals … polymers and new materials.”

The accelerator program selected 10 startups for 2021 and these “innovative young companies” will be connected with industry leaders in chemicals, advanced materials, energy and other sectors who can “provide the resources and market access necessary to enable rapid commercialization of carbontech.” They will also be provided access to Greentown Labs 100,000 square feet of lab space. 

Of the roughly 400 startups globally in the industry, which is still in its early stages, Sapinsley says that 131 of them, representing roughly 25%, applied to the program.   


In the third quarter of 2021, an NYU C2V year one cohort company CarbonFree, entered into a partnership with an NYU Carbontech Leadership Council member, Fluor to accelerate the deployment of CarbonFree’s CO2 mineralization solution, showing the importance of NYU’s program in fostering such valuable collaborations that can help move the industry forward.

According to the company, CarbonFree has developed what it calls its SkyCycle technology over a period of 15 years that captures carbon emitted by industrial plants and mineralizes them, thereby creating low carbon materials such as high purity precipitated calcium carbonate (PCC) and synthetic limestone that it says are safe and valuable. By capturing the carbon emissions, it is also capable of improving the environment.

As an engineering construction company, Fluor’s role will be to assist in the manufacture of CarbonFree’s technology, so that it can be installed in industrial plants. The two companies are aiming for the SkyCycle technology to be used on a global scale.

The NYU C2V program is currently under the leadership of Frederic Clerc, who serves as its Director.

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