Hydrogen and carbon capture are both critical technologies in the fight against climate change and the road to economy-wide decarbonization. But they share the challenge of gas separation, which purifies valuable gas molecules and removes undesired contaminants; today’s methods require large amounts of energy, emit gigatons of CO2, and can produce toxic waste.
Osmoses, a Greentown Labs startup and a participant in the Carbon to Value (C2V) Initiative, has a solution: a remarkable molecular filtration membrane that’s highly effective at gas separation. The membrane can target gas molecules that are “100,000 times smaller than the thickness of human hair,” according to Osmoses, and can reduce separation costs for carbon capture by up to 50 percent.
“The biggest value is that membranes are more sustainable and, in some cases, significantly cheaper than traditional technologies, which are based on thermal or solvent processes,” says Francesco Maria Benedetti, CEO of Osmoses. “We are bringing innovation in a space that is heavily rooted in technologies with high costs and high CO2 emissions, and our vision is to redefine the industrial backbone that performs thousands of different separations every day.”
In addition to enabling these burgeoning technologies, Osmoses is also working to lessen the emissions associated with methane purification, both in the form of renewable biogas and traditional natural gas, which is common in today’s energy systems.
“Methane is now the backbone of energy, in terms of producing heat and other industrial applications, and there’s an incredible need for us to generate more sustainable processes to produce it,” Benedetti says.
Osmoses closed $3M in pre-seed funding in November 2021. The team—made up of nine full-time employees, including four co-founders, and three interns—is currently focusing on hiring, technology and product development, and engaging prospective customers and partners.
The startup spun out of MIT and Stanford has engaged with the Greentown community to complement its team’s strong scientific background. During the C2V Initiative, Osmoses will engage with Year 2 Cohort Champion Fluor to advance its commercialization efforts.
“Communities like Greentown, and Greentown in particular, are extremely valuable and necessary for people like me who come from an academic background and are commercializing technologies that started in a university laboratory,” Benedetti says. “People like us benefit incredibly from the experience and the connections that the community brings together. The connection to people who have experience in a certain aspect of scaling, fundraising, working with customers, etc., makes it much easier and more exciting for us to figure out how to move in this very complicated space.”
Photo credit: Tony Luong