Mars Materials shows Carbon isn’t always the enemy
For starters, Aaron is that founder I would love to work for, cause there is so much I learn from him every time we talk. I still remember calling him one morning, random and he sounded a bit down due to the fund raise environment, and by afternoon we doubled down on our initial investment, cause he’s that founder I’d always support. He is a third time founder, Prime Coalition Entrepreneur in Residence and former Carbon180 Entrepreneur in Residence with interests ranging from politics to product management. And I love Mars :)
Mars Materials is developing an innovative approach to produce acrylonitrile (ACN) that uses carbon dioxide as an input ingredient to offset ACN production, in a highly cost effective manner. ACN is a great product to store atmospheric CO2. So here, Carbon isn’t the enemy because Aaron is converting atmospheric carbon into something valuable:) “Their thesis is to Sequester captured CO2 into long-lived products for permanence” that means a roadmap for cumulative gigaton scale emission reduction is possible, with Mars Materials, Net Zero goal.
For some context, the acrylonitrile industry produces approximately 3.8 tons of carbon dioxide for every ton of ACN produced. Current SOHIO, industry-standard, processes in the industry utilize petrochemicals and complex, energy-intensive processes which result in high-yield methane and carbon dioxide byproducts. There are some who use the same SOHIO process but utilize various bio-based feedstocks to offset carbon production. However, their feedstock is very expensive and has yet to be adopted in the carbon fiber market. I also expect Mars Materials to find new sources of bio-based feedstock in order to lower costs and become further competitive in the market.
The market size for acrylonitrile currently sits at $12 billion and has an estimated CAGR of 5% over the next 7–10 years. For end markets, acrylamide (AMD), which is directly produced from ACN, currently has a market size of $6.5 billion and a CAGR of 5%. Carbon fiber, which is a product made from ACN, has a market size of about $4 billion right now and is expected to grow to almost $9 billion by the end of the decade, which is a CAGR of almost 9%.
No doubt there are risks involved here like breaking into the ACN market, scaling up the feedstock synthesis, to name a few, and we believe Aaron & team are perfectly positioned to decarbonize the Chemical giants.