A UAE startup that turns carbon dioxide into rocks is one of the companies exhibiting at Cop28. 44.01, that speeds up the process of certain stones absorbing carbon dioxide and mineralizing it is at the start up village in Cop28, and is hoping to scale its technology internationally.
“We work with a stone called peridotite that absorbs carbon dioxide,” said Chalie Booth, Head of External Relations at 44.01. “Peridotite is abundantly found in Oman and the UAE. The rock has a remarkable capacity to mineralize carbon dioxide. However, the process of mineralization naturally takes decades. What we are doing is accelerating that process so that we can eliminate CO2 in less than a year."
The company, which was founded in Oman and has since started operations in the UAE, is hoping that it can find more international partners at Cop28. “Historically, this rock has been worthless so nobody has explored for it,” he said.
“There's no minerals in it or any oil and gas. So nobody's really explored for it. So while we know that it's here in the UAE and Oman, there's a very good chance that it's also in a lot of other places that nobody's ever looked for it. So we are hoping to get in touch with more organizations who will be able to point us to different locations where this stone is abundantly available but we didn’t know about it.”
First established in Oman by Talal Hasan, the company won the prestigious Earthshot Prize, founded by Britain’s Prince William and The Royal Foundation in 2022. Talal, who has extensive experience dealing with energy projects in Oman, UAE, and the UK saw an opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the environment with 44.01.
“He was looking at ways of investing in technologies that can help deal with the region's problems,” said Charlie. “He was looking at carbon capture and the question arose, what do you do with the captured carbon once it's been captured? That is when he discovered research showing this mineralization process was happening naturally.”
From there, Talal explored how to harness this process in a way that makes a big difference to the climate. He worked with scientist Juerg Matter as well as co-founders Karan Khimji and Ehab Tasfai and 44.01 developed technology that accelerates mineralization by mixing captured CO2 with water and injecting it into peridotite formations deep underground.
Coming to the UAE
After proving the technology was effective, safe and had no adverse impact on the environment through pilots in Oman, the company expanded to the UAE with a mineralisation pilot in Fujairah, earlier this year. The project, a partnership with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Compnay, the Fujairah Natural Resources Corporation (FNRC) and Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) is the first peridotite mineralisation project to utilise seawater.
According to Charlie, although Peridotite mineralization is a promising technique, it alone cannot be the solution to climate change. “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that by 2050, we might need to be absorbing as much as 15 billion tonnes of carbon a year,” he said. "So while our technology could be part of the solution, we will also need things like reforestation, conventional CO2 storage, and most importantly emissions reductions. 44.01's technology can offer a solution in places that other solutions might not work, for example countries that might not have conventional storage resources but have an abundance of peridotite. We're working hard to take our technology to scale so we can make a difference internationally.”
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