It already has the funding. Now it needs to lock down the tech.
A Silicon Valley entrepreneur thinks there's still a place for gasoline in the future — we just need to source it from the air instead of the ground.
Rob McGinnis is the founder and CEO of Prometheus, a startup developing a machine that pulls carbon out of the atmosphere and transforms it into usable gasoline. The idea is that the device would trap and convert more carbon than McGinnis' car would produce — essentially making fossil fuel-powered vehicles a carbon-neutral form of transportation.
Prometheus is now receiving funding from the prestigious accelerator Y Combinator, which announced plans in October to begin focusing its attention — and money — on the development of carbon capture technologies.
"We have conviction that it’s a worthwhile endeavor to remove CO2 from the air and transform it into something else useful or figure out how to store it safely, long-term," Y Combinator CEO Sam Altman in a blog post at the time. "They may seem like moonshots now, but our goal is to try to come up with technically feasible solutions at realistic costs."
For now, Prometheus is still in the moonshot phase — when McGinnis showed his prototype device to a Bloomberg reporter in March, it still hadn't produced enough gas to power his Volkswagen Golf hatchback for even a mile.
Still, that hasn't discouraged the entrepreneur, who told Bloomberg he believes he'll be selling gasoline for roughly $3 per gallon before the end of 2020.
READ MORE: In Silicon Valley, the Quest to Make Gasoline Out of Thin Air [Bloomberg]
More on carbon capture: Y Combinator Is Turning Its Attention to Carbon Removal