Circular economy

CarbonWorks raises €11 million to accelerate the roll-out of its disruptive technology serving the circular carbon economy

CarbonWorks, a company specialising in the use of microalgae to capture and utilise CO2, announced today that it raised €11 million in a funding round. The deal was led jointly by BNP Paribas Principal Investments, Bpifrance, Demeter Investment Managers via its Agrinnovation fund, and Aquiti Gestion via NACO, in association with France’s Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. Founders Fermentalg and SUEZ reasserted their confidence in the company by also participating in the deal.

This funding round will provide the start-up with the resources it needs to build a semi-industrial-scale photobioreactor, which it plans to put into service in 2023. It marks a key step forward in the ambitious project to promote a circular carbon economy.

A disruptive technology transforming CO2 into natural raw materials

Founded in 2021 by Fermentalg and SUEZ, CarbonWorks is an industrial deeptech start-up that is developing a disruptive technology serving the circular carbon economy. The company helps industrial players reduce their carbon footprint by capturing CO2 and converting it into natural raw materials through microalgal photosynthesis – a process referred to as “carbon capture and utilisation”.

To produce these bioproducts on a large scale and maximise its impact on the ecological transition, the company is developing a new industrial photobioreactor standard. It will ultimately be capable of capturing several thousand tonnes of CO2 at the source of emission and producing equivalent quantities of algal biomass, intended primarily for the agricultural and the human and animal nutrition markets.

In September 2021, CarbonWorks installed an initial demo of its technology at the methanation site of the company Pot-au-Pin Energie in the town of Cestas in France’s Gironde department. This pre-industrial platform has a capacity of 10 m3 and not only helps limit carbon emissions but also produces an algal biocomponent that can be used as a natural fungicide instead of synthetic pesticides, especially in vineyards.

New semi-industrial unit planned for 2023

Following on from this initial phase, CarbonWorks recently raised €11 million in a funding round to help the start-up continue to grow. Upon completion of this Series A round, the founders will hold two-thirds of the capital1.

The deal will provide CarbonWorks with the resources it needs to build a semi-industrial-scale reactor in Cestas, scheduled for completion in 2023. That unit will have a capacity of several dozen cubic metres.

The deal will also enable CarbonWorks to triple its staff over the next two years in order to intensify its technical and commercial development and enter into partnerships with major industrial players in agriculture and sustainable food, providing them with natural ingredients that are in line with new consumer expectations.

CarbonWorks continues to lay the foundation for achieving its goal: using microalgae for large-scale carbon capture and producing natural raw materials to support the circular economy.
Guillaume Charpy, CEO of CarbonWorks: “This funding round marks a key stage in our growth, allowing us to team up with funds that are leaders in the industrial and ecological transition. Their trust in us, and the renewed support from our founders Fermentalg and SUEZ, confirms the importance of what we are developing and our ability to provide concrete responses to two major environmental challenges of our time: reducing carbon emissions and producing natural raw materials.”

Philippe Lavielle, Chairman of the CarbonWorks Board of Directors and CEO of Fermentalg: “We are delighted to continue supporting the growth of CarbonWorks, a start-up driven by an experienced and committed team with a clear vision and strong values, and are happy to be working with new French institutional investors who are renowned experts in innovation funding. CarbonWorks has proven its impressive maturity through its ability to maintain the ambitious pace of growth that we established together at the outset. CarbonWorks has the potential to play a significant role in promoting the ecological transition and combating climate change – we are convinced of it.”

Charles Chami, Director of SUEZ – Smart & Environmental Solutions: “This funding round achieves two things for CarbonWorks: It confirms the market’s interest in this disruptive innovation, and it brings the company closer to new ecosystems that are necessary for its development, such as future agriculture. CarbonWorks’s operations are in line with SUEZ’s ambition to build innovative technological and financial partnerships offering fast, large-scale solutions to help combat global warming. We are proud to be a partner of choice to help overcome this vital challenge for our planet and future generations.”

Sébastien Renaud, Investment Director at BNP Paribas Principal Investments: “On behalf of the investors Bpifrance, Demeter, Naco and BNP Paribas, we believe in the potential of microalgae, whose market growth and impact on reducing carbon emissions are nevertheless currently limited by mass-production constraints. We think that the solution developed by CarbonWorks is disruptive and that it therefore opens up new perspectives for the entire sector. We were particularly impressed by the synergies generated by the founders’ expertise and their desire to include investment funds: The flexibility and drive of a start-up must be sustained in this phase of the technology’s development. We are delighted to be able to provide long-term support to such an innovative project. We are committed to offering our diverse range of technological and financial experience, at regional or national level, to help this French start-up rise to the top.”
1 Projected capital allocation following the different phases of this funding round, on a non-diluted basis


Press: Elodie Vandevoorde
[email protected] +33 1 58 81 54 46