Technologies that capture, reuse, or lock away carbon dioxide have long seemed more like science fiction than viable ventures: Buildings that trap waste gases in their concrete bricks. Meatless burgers and fruits and vegetables enriched with captured carbon. But as more pilot tests begin, and amid growing urgency to take action on climate change, investors are increasingly placing their bets on so-called “carbontech.” “A couple of years ago, the state of the conversation was, is the technology real, or is it just magic?” said Marcius Extavour, who runs the Carbon XPrize , a global competition to develop breakthrough technologies for converting CO2 emissions into products. “That question is fading, because there are more tangible examples.” Carbontech initiatives are still years or decades away from achieving commercial success, if they can succeed at all. The companies working to develop these technologies have typically relied on public research funding and grants. Now private investors are pouring money into startups and moonshot projects — in the hope of making money while also helping to curb rising global temperatures. Initiatives that transform carbon into marketable materials like cement or synthetic fuels are particularly appealing, given their potential to turn a profit. XPrize recently […]

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