Today, humans are adding 40 billion metric tons of heat-trapping CO2 molecules to the atmosphere each year, 23% of which can be attributed to the industrial sector.¹ About half of the CO₂ emitted since 1850 remains in the atmosphere, while the rest has been absorbed by the ocean, resulting in dangerous increases in acidification, as well as by plants and soils.² It’s time to close the industrial carbon loop.

Twelve has developed a proprietary CO2 electrolyzer that mimics photosynthesis at industrial scale, using water and renewable energy to convert CO2 emissions into useful carbon-based molecules, such as carbon monoxide and ethylene. These chemicals are used in the manufacturing of wide-ranging products from automotive parts to sneakers to jet fuel, all of which are traditionally derived from fossil resources. Twelve’s technology is a pathway to create these same materials and fuels from wasted CO2, reducing the need for petrochemicals, and simultaneously lowering the ongoing industrial CO2 emissions.

At scale, renewable electricity is the largest cost driver in Twelve’s electrolysis processes. Their solution is to operate their devices on a flexible schedule to allow for the use of cheaper renewable electricity when it’s available. This technology has huge potential to enable companies to achieve carbon negative manufacturing goals, displacing fossil fuels in existing supply chains. It incentivizes the adoption of industrial-scale emissions capture practices by enabling the conversion of waste CO2 into high value products.

With their recent round of funding, Twelve continues to optimize the lifetime and efficiency of their technology and is working to finalize the engineering, manufacturing, and deployment of the first industrial-scale CO2 electrolyzers. Twelve is partnering with CO2 producers and chemical end-users to develop a broad network of companies interested in creating a closed industrial carbon loop. At scale, this technology could address 10% of global CO2 emissions and the $300 billion petrochemical market.

Twelve’s technical co-founders, Dr. Kendra Kuhl and Dr. Etosha Cave, met during their Ph.D. programs conducting research at Stanford University’s Jaramillo laboratory, a world leader in electrocatalysis. During their graduate studies, they developed key methods for studying CO₂-reducing catalysts and reactions, publishing seminal discoveries on the breadth of products that are possible to reduce from CO₂. They joined fellow Stanford graduate student Nicholas Flanders, an engineer and entrepreneur, to form Twelve.

Read more:

¹Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions. (2022, April 14). EPA.
²Friedlingstein, P. (2019, December 4). Global Carbon Budget 2019.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store