Making it Work

Making it Work: Start-up Wind Capture Technologies plans funding round to drive growth

The start-up company is developing a novel technology which captures carbon from the air processed by utility-scale wind farms

Aaron Boylan (left) and Ronan Hearne, co-founders of WindCapture Technologies: ‘Our core purpose is to be a carbon removal company.’ Picture: Fergal Phillips

Wind Capture Technologies, an Irish company that specialises in carbon capture, is planning to launch a new fundraising round later this year as it seeks to conduct a large-scale pilot project for its technology.

Co-founded in 2022 by Aaron Boylan and Ronan Hearne, Wind Capture Technologies is developing a proprietary wind turbine blade that harvests carbon directly from the air filtered by a wind farm. The captured C02 can then be mineralised, allowing the carbon to be permanently stored or sequestered underground.

“There’s typically very low concentrates of C02 particles in the air, so we’ve opted to combine our technology with a wind farm as turbines process the very large volumes of air we needed to make this work,” Boylan, who trained as a mechanical engineer, said.

The Westmeath native started out in his career working in a business where they used carbon capture technology to filter C02 from the flu vents of a gas burner, which typically has very high concentrates of carbon.

Hearne said the idea behind Wind Capture Technologies was to take that technology and apply it on a much larger scale.

“Fundamentally, our core purpose is to be a carbon removal company. Our priority is to mineralise the C02 we filter from the air, using either magnesium oxide or calcium oxide. That means the C02 can be locked away or stored from the atmosphere,” he added.

Fact File

Founded: 2022, by Aaron Boylan and Ronan Hearne

Sector: renewable energy and carbon capture

Headcount: 2 full-time, with plans to hire 3 new staff in the coming months

Boylan said Wind Capture Technologies is still in the “heavy development phase” as it seeks to perfect its technology. He added that the technology is showing promising results and the company hopes to commence its first small-scale trial later this year where its technology is applied to small, four metre turbine blades.

“This business was only founded two years ago but it’s been a capital-intensive process so far. We’re still working on getting the tech to a stage where we’re ready to start a pilot. But we’re moving in the right direction and we’re already having conversations with some potential partners,” he added.

“We’re hoping to have a large-scale pilot up and running in the next 12 months, where we move up to a 20 metre blade. That will prove the technology,” Boylan added.

Once it has perfected its technology, Wind Capture Technologies plans to target older wind farms as a route to market. Boylan said many of the older wind farm systems using 20 metre turbine blades are now coming to the end of their lives and are ready to be retrofitted with new technology.

“Some of the older, smaller turbines are no longer competitive. If operators are retrofitting their turbines, we think our technology can compliment that and breathe new life into their assets,” he said.,

When Boylan and Hearne first started out, they initially relied on the backing of a number of angel investors to bootstrap the early product development. And then in May 2023, Enterprise Ireland came on board as an investor as part of its pre-seed start fund.

Boylan said the state agency for business development has been a huge supporter of Wind Capture Technologies, particularly as it falls into its growing mandate to support sustainability-focused Irish companies.

“Enterprise Ireland have been really great in how they’ve supported us. They’re great partners for start-ups. Just like with a lot of things, you’ll get out of any partnership what you put into it. So, if you’re willing to really engage with Enterprise Ireland, you will be able to take advantage to their huge number of supports,” he added.

As part of the phase of its growth strategy, Boylan and Hearne said they will launch a seed funding round later this year. The company said it plans to use any new funding to continue its technology development, and to bring three new staff into the business.

This Making it Work article is produced in partnership with Enterprise Ireland