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Holocene cuts the ribbon on its Pilot direct air capture facility alongside the team and community leaders.


Wednesday, May 8th, was a glorious and monumental day for Holocene – as it marked the official ribbon cutting and public technology demonstration of our first, direct air capture (DAC) pilot.

Yep, you heard it right – we didn’t just cut the ribbon… we showed nearly 100 local community leaders what direct air capture looks like in real life. 

Real CO2 sensor data, real conditions, happening in real life. ~450 parts per million CO2 going in (we’re near a highway) → less than 90 parts per million CO2 going out. Transformative.

That equates to an ~80% capture rate through our pilot air-liquid contactor using our novel and proprietary chemistry to enable continuous, low-temperature, efficient designs.

Bummed you missed the big moment? Don’t worry, we captured it live to share with you all.


While our pilot facility won’t be setting the record for tonnes removed this year, it is monumental for three, potentially more important, reasons.

#1: SPEED TO SCALE – 100,000x IN 12 MONTHS, 100,000x TO GO

This pilot facility brought our technology scale to ~10 tonnes of CO2 per year capacity. This scale was the right level to build our first, fully integrated, automated pilot operating in environmentally relevant conditions. 

It also proved our team’s ability to turn a beaker-scale technology investigation to an industrial scale facility – spanning a 100,000x scale-up – in under 12 months. 

Our pilot facility’s process rack alongside a technology explainer banner.


Since our inception, a core value of ours has been “Do what we say we’ll do”. This pilot facility was the perfect embodiment of that value.

Countless hours, tireless work, and endless ingenuity brought an idea into reality. And we did it with full transparency – even showing live data & operations to the world.

This won’t be the last time you see us embody these values – and we hope we can serve as an example for a carbon removal and management community for years to come.


While our founders have been building, scaling, and commercializing DAC facility’s since the industry’s inception in 2011 – our specific technology approach is more recent.

And the four key factors of our approach, specifically: (1) our continuous process (2) low temperature (3) direct & efficient regeneration, and (4) largely thermochemical energy inputs — are the four attributes required to have a shot at approaching the $100/tonne-CO2 ambition the world has set.


The groups represented at the ribbon cutting – either in person or virtually – spanned the globe and our stakeholder communities (customers, investors, partners, community leaders) that all play critical roles in the DAC scaling journey. 

The group included, but was not limited to, Breakthrough Energy, Oak Ridge National Lab, the Department of Energy, Frontier Climate (Stripe, Shopify), Milkywire (Klarna, Spotify), the Direct Air Capture Coalition, the University of Tennessee, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and TN-based community leaders such as LaunchTN, the City of Knoxville, the Knoxville Entrepreneurship Center (KEC), and the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce

To memorialize the importance of our community’s support in our journey, we gave them an opportunity to “sign” a message onto the side of our air liquid contactor. 

Below, you can see Susan Hubbard (ORNL Deputy for Science and Technology)and Jim Biggs (Knoxville Entrepreneurship Center) both leaving their mark on our technology.

Susan Hubbard (left) and Jim Biggs (right) signing our air-liquid contactor.

We were also graced with messages of support and inspiration from leaders like Randy Boyd (President, University of Tennessee) and our Co-founder & CEO Anca Timofte sharing her entrepreneurial story that led to the pilot unveiling.

Randy Boyd (left) and Anca Timofte (right) sharing remarks with event attendees.

The technology demonstration was led by our Co-founder and CTO Tobias Rueesch who helped the crowd – most of which were new to direct air capture – grasp the technology and the broader mission we are tackling.


Co-founder & CTO Tobias Rueesch leads the technology demonstration portion of the event.


Part of the crowd assembled to witness Holocene’s pilot DAC facility operating live.

Lastly, Mayor Indya Kincannon of the City of Knoxville closed out the event, with our DAC pilot operating (88ppm on the TV screen) in the background – speaking to the importance of community in Knoxville and the potential for innovation to transform the region.


Mayor Indya Kincannon speaks to the crowd for the event’s “send off”, the TV on the right side shows CO2 ppm levels post-DAC.


May 8th, 2024 will go down in Holocene history – and if we’re lucky, climate history – as we set the stage for the potential of our technology to deliver world-scale benefits.

However, just as 2023 was the hottest year on record, we (sadly) know the future will hold many hotter years to come.

We are determined to make our journey the inverse of that exact climate paradigm, starting today. This pilot unveiling has been our biggest milestone to date, but it certainly will not the biggest in our history.


Holocene is a direct air capture (“DAC”) technology developer and carbon removal service provider harnessing organic chemistry, and the abundant elements therein – carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen – to remove carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere in support of restoring the climate stability and prosperity of our namesake, the Holocene Epoch. Holocene is proud to call some of the biggest names in direct air capture and climate tech commercialization as partners — including Breakthrough Energy, XPRIZE, Frontier Climate, Stripe, Shopify, Klarna, the DOE, and more.