CarbonScape is an award winning cleantech company with technology capable of converting waste biomass into Green Coke and other valuable products. This is a rare opportunity to invest in a company that will soon take its technology to the world.

Minimum investment: $1,000 NZD

Min target: $400,000 (4.32% equity) Max target: $1,500,000 (14.48% equity)
Ended 2014-12-07 21:00:00
207 Number of investments
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$764,302 Funded
207 No. of investments
$400,000 Min. target (4.32% equity)
$1,500,000 Max. target (14.48% equity)
Offer closed 9:00 pm, 7 Dec 2014

Executive Summary

CarbonScape is a carbon-refining company that uses forestry waste to make Green Coke and other substitutes for fossil fuel products. Green Coke replaces traditional coke, which is a form of high-quality carbon made from mineral coal used to fuel furnaces during the steel making process.

The cleantech industry is booming right now and is the fastest growing industry group in a number of countries. Two-thirds of the world’s power is still produced from coal. With China recently committing to a coal-free future and the Rockefeller Family announcing its intention to divest itself of $60 billion worth of investments in fossil fuels, we believe renewable coal is an industry about to explode. In response, CarbonScape has produced the equivalent of a time machine; making in 18 minutes what nature forms over sixty million years.

CarbonScape is a Marlborough-based New Zealand company passionate about applying smart, profitable technologies to help heal the Earth’s ecosystem. The company was born from a misread recipe for cooking a potato in a domestic microwave oven. The microwave oven came off second best but the potato was transformed into high-quality Green Coke.

Twenty years later the company has tamed the microwave oven and discovered a range of powerful benefits that are set to transform sectors of global heavy industry with cost-competitive, renewable “green chemicals” and high-value carbon products that leave coal in the ground. These benefits have won the company international attention. CarbonScape was one of only five companies out of 216 to make the shortlist and won the Judge's Choice in the 2009 (UK) Financial Times Climate Change Challenge. In 2012 CarbonScape was shortlisted out of 509 of the world’s best cleantech technologies for the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge, and after judging in Amsterdam and New York was named runner up, winning $178,000.

CarbonScape has a world-leading, patented technology, which we believe puts us years ahead of the pack.

Commercialisation has started with a Supply Agreement with New Zealand Steel for 9,000 tonnes of Green Coke. After significant testing we believe that the production of Green Coke is a more cost-efficient way of producing coke and associated by-products than existing industry methods. Commercialisation gives us the opportunity to prove this at scale. The company’s vision is to deploy its technology globally to create a virtuous circle of benefits to heavy industry, investors, and the environment.

Kiwis are an ecologically conscious lot and this is a unique opportunity to raise awareness of the current issues affecting the environment while allowing the public to invest in their own international award winning company that’s about to change the world. It is also the first time the New Zealand public have been able to invest in a local cleantech company at such an early stage, providing the exciting opportunity for Kiwis to invest right before our company commercialises and enters the massive international market.

We are targeting a raise of $400,000 with a funding cap of $1.5m at a company valuation of NZ$8.86m and maximum equity share of 14.48%. The capital raised will be used for construction of an 80 tonne capacity pilot plant, lodging a new patent, the appointment of two new non-executive directors, and further R&D. This will enable our technologies to be rolled out into the commercial environment – the next step in the development of CarbonScape. The capital being raised through Snowball Effect is part of a wider financing plan to secure $3.5m over the next 12 months. This will fund upscaling of the pilot plant to 400 tonne capacity. CarbonScape has raised $2.9m from previous investment rounds, attracting a number of offshore investors.

The best business: making money by doing good.

Product Overview

CarbonScape’s Green Coke is renewable, sustainable, inherently stable, chemically-superior, and price competitive compared with coking coal.

Substituting fossilised carbon with renewable carbon has an immediate commercial benefit: generating high-quality steel. Around the world, coking coal is most widely used to provide the carbon needed for steel production because the technology has not existed to make renewable carbon at a competitive price. However, in nations with a surfeit of biomass and limited access to fossil fuels – such as Brazil – charcoal is routinely used, though this tends to be of a lower grade and is itself produced with inefficient, “dirty” technology.

As an alternative, CarbonScape’s process can produce Green Coke at a competitive price, making it of extreme interest to the steel industry, as evidenced by the supply contract signed with NZ Steel and their on-going technical support to CarbonScape. Alongside this exciting engagement with the industry, the World Steel Association has named the mitigation of climate change the most urgent and pressing issue for its global members.

CarbonScape’s carbon products are cost-competitive compared to fossil fuels because of the valuable chemical by-products and energy that can be recycled during the conversion process.

CarbonScape’s technology offers a low-cost method for producing a high specific fuel for the manufacture of steel products on-demand. The CarbonScape process transforms woody material (sawdust or wood chips) into renewable high-grade solid fuel for steel making, using microwave energy to rapidly and efficiently convert the biomass into highly pure carbon. The resulting fuel has a highly desirable high carbon content, low sulphur and low nitrogen while the process offers a significant cost reduction, a fuel highly tailored for steel production, and environmental advantages compared with traditional methods.

By effectively harnessing the nature of industrial microwave heating technology, the overall energy required to transform biomass into carbon products is low compared to traditional routes. A major reason for this is the ability to directly target feedstocks and products rather than heating large oven spaces and surfaces. In combination with high-quality heat recovery systems and transformation of energy-rich gas co-products into electricity, it is possible to engineer the overall process to be energy self-sufficient.

Product Development Schedule

CarbonScape has:

  • proved it can manufacture Green Coke (and a host of other products including activated carbon and graphitic carbon) using its proprietary process,
  • signed a Supply Agreement with NZ Steel conditional on CarbonScape raising sufficient capital to build the plant and NZ Steel successfully trialling the test samples,
  • signed an Memorandum of Understanding with NZ Steel for further co-operation,
  • developed elegant solutions to technological challenges, notably the adoption of the two-stage process,
  • sourced low-cost waste wood in both Auckland and Marlborough working with established timber and logistics partners,
  • identified production site options in both areas,
  • obtained an indicative offer of bank finance for its first plant,
  • developed sophisticated production and financial models showing excellent returns.

Within its available resources, CarbonScape continues to:

  • optimise the design and operating conditions,
  • prepare highly detailed design specifications and cost estimates for the pilot plant,
  • identify key hires for the scale-up,
  • develop and protect its intellectual property.

After six years of development, five iterations of its equipment suite, the perfecting of several proprietary technologies and the production and testing of hundreds of product samples, the time is ripe for CarbonScape to scale-up to pilot production, deliver trial batches and capture exciting market opportunities.

Benefits for Steel Industry Customers

The first formally engaged customer for CarbonScape’s steelmaking fuel is New Zealand Steel Ltd, owned by BlueScope Steel of Australia. The potential benefits for NZ Steel are simplicity, highly tailored fuels, and economic competitiveness. To CarbonScape, the NZ Steel alignment means the potential simplicity of huge market volume through a single customer channel. Furthermore, the cultural fit is good as NZ Steel are supportive of substituting alternative feedstocks for coking material having built their own traditional processes around the ingenious use of low-grade Huntly coals normally unsuitable for steelmaking. They have excellent in-house technical services for development and process engineers to support the challenges for future scale-up.

Meet the team

Photo of Greg Conner

Greg Conner Chief Technology Officer

Greg Conner is the driving talent behind the research, development, design, and commissioning of CarbonScape’s technology. Greg has over 13 years of radio-frequency and microwave engineering project experience, 5 years of chemical engineering experience and has successfully filed four patents during that time, two of which have been granted. Greg has been with CarbonScape for six years and has considerably up-skilled across additional engineering disciplines. Those skills are now being applied to the development of several new technologies.
Photo of Mireia Marques

Mireia Marques Industrial Engineer

With a major in Chemistry and MEng in Engineering and Environmental Management, Mireia has more than six years of experience in industrial engineering, managing small- to large-scale projects involving processes and operations improvement. She is skilled at performing complex scientific tests using laboratory apparatus including data analysis. Since first joining CarbonScape a year ago, Mireia has been researching and contributing to CarbonScape’s pre-treatment technology development.
Photo of Gary Hook

Gary Hook CEO of Metals New Zealand, Advisor to CarbonScape

Gary Hook has 36 years’ experience in operations and general management roles in the steel industry, minerals mining, and building and construction sectors. A career manager with NZ Steel, BHP Steel, and BlueScope Steel, he has specific experience in business leadership and governance in multinational settings, with numerous business, senior management and leadership roles while located in New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Pacific Islands, and Australia.
Photo of Professor Chris Turney

Professor Chris Turney Co-Founder, Inventor, Director of CarbonScape Holdings, and Advisor to CarbonScape

Chris Turney is an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow and Professor of Earth Sciences and Climate Change at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. In 2007 Chris was awarded the Sir Nicholas Shackleton Medal for outstanding young Quaternary scientists, and in 2009 he received the Geological Society of London’s Bigsby Medal for services to geology. In 2014, the Australian Academy of Science announced Chris was the recipient of the Frederick White Prize for research of intrinsic scientific merit for the understanding of natural phenomena. Previously Professor at Exeter University, UK, Chris is an international specialist in elemental carbon and a founding director of the CarbonScape Group. For more information, see his website
Photo of Timothy Langley

Timothy Langley Co-founder, Executive Director of CarbonScape Ltd and Chairman of CarbonScape Holdings Ltd

Tim Langley is a human services professional and cleantech investor with considerable experience in senior management, strategic leadership and corporate governance in New Zealand and Australia. A founding director of the CarbonScape Group, Tim is responsible for the overall strategic direction of CarbonScape and focuses on working closely with the company’s clients, staff, and stakeholders.
Photo of Benjamin Chen, PhD

Benjamin Chen, PhD Independent Director of CarbonScape Ltd

Dr Ben Chen of Ignatius Capital in San Francisco has made a distinguished career in the global biotech industry with two biotech start-ups, an IPO and acquisitions. Ben was previously Managing Director, Merchant Banking at Burrill & Company, a global life sciences investment firm; a director of Burrill Malaysia Life Sciences Fund, which has made significant multi-million dollar investments in the New Zealand cleantech industry; and a founding member of the Burrill Greater China Group.

Warning statement

It's crucial for you to understand the characteristics and risks of this investment opportunity. New Zealand law normally requires people who offer financial products to provide in-depth information to investors before they invest. The usual rules do not apply to offers by companies through Snowball Effect. As a result, you may not be given all the information you need to make an informed decision. Investing is risky. Some of the key risks include loss of capital, illiquidity, lack of returns, dilution, loss of key people and customers, and lack of control. You should only invest money that you can afford to lose.