BayernLB helps finance TUM Carbon Removal Initiative

BayernLB is financing progress – and fostering progress. It is namely one of the first sponsors to have joined forces with the student initiative TUM Carbon Removal.

The move is yet another unmistakeable sign that the streamlined, specialised Bank, in its resolute pursuit of its sustainability strategy, is embracing forward-looking, innovative and visionary projects in the fields of science, research and technology.

Climate change and its impact on humans and the environment is one of the most fundamental, pressing challenges of our time. But in order for the long-term goal adopted under the COP 21 Paris Agreement in 2015 – to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius – to have a chance of being met, not only is it necessary to expand regenerative technologies, but CO2 must be scrubbed from the Earth’s atmosphere. To address this key aspect of transitioning towards a CO2-neutral world, the “TUM Carbon Removal Initiative e.V.” was born: in the summer of 2021 thirty-five students at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) established this legally recognised organisation for developing and applying an efficient, scalable CO2 extraction technology.

The charity uses a direct air capture, or DAC, method that employs solid sorbents. This approach offers an added advantage: the captured CO2 is frozen to form dry ice, which is a safe and sustainable way of storing the gas for centuries to come – i.e. a buffer against the effects of climate change.

“We don’t see sustainability as just some big, irreversible trend; we believe it’s the right path for society”, says BayernLB CEO Stephan Winkelmeier. “Our sustainable strategy informs how we serve companies. But we also feel it is our responsibility to do all we can for initiatives like TUM Carbon, which are tackling one of the most pivotal issues for our future. And so we’re elated that we can help.”

One of the steps TUM Carbon is taking to finance the project is to participate in numerous incentive competitions such as XPRIZE Carbon Removal, which is funded by Elon Musk and comes with a USD 100 million award. If all goes according to the student-innovators’ plan, the first 50 tonne/year DAC plant, plus a storage module, will be installed by the end of 2022.

The TUM Carbon team firmly believes that this kind of technology, when scaled up, is essential for a CO2-neutral world – and therefore a step closer to a better future. BayernLB shares this belief.

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