Sucking up CO2

Founded: 2016

HQ: Berkeley, CA

Upcycling carbon into fuels and chemicals.

Big Picture

Even in a future of 100% clean electricity, many industries, from international air travel to chemical manufacturing, will very likely continue emitting vast amounts of carbon dioxide for decades to come. Government incentives will help capture some CO2, but we believe scale lies in the incredible commercial value of CO2 for industrial processes and the markets that will result.

How it Works

Twelve builds devices that bolt onto any source of CO₂, and with only water and electricity as inputs, transforms it into some of the world’s most critical chemical products. It’s like industrial photosynthesis. Today their focus is on the production of carbon monoxide (CO), a $4 billion market. Their CO is indistinguishable from what the chemical industry makes with fossil fuels. 

Unfair Advantage

Their innovation is in the architecture of the membrane electrode assembly. It enables a drop-in technology that converts commercially produced hardware into a CO2-splitting machine capable of making at least 16 chemicals that form the building blocks of countless consumer goods, building materials, and jet fuel. So at once, Twelve can decarbonize industries while making high-margin products.


Different chemicals

converted from captured CO2


Nicholas worked in McKinsey’s Cleantech practice and was CFO/COO at Levo. He has a MS/MBA from Stanford.


Etosha received her PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. Prior to Stanford, she worked at the McMurdo Research Station in Antarctica.


Kendra received her PhD in chemical engineering from Stanford University, where she focused on developing catalysts for electrochemical conversion of carbon dioxide into fuels and chemicals.

Watt It Takes: The Founder-Engineer Turning CO2 Into Fuels and Materials

Greentech Media

Opus 12: A Profitable Solution to Carbon Emissions


CO₂ as a commodity, not waste: turning emissions into cost-competitive chemicals

The Chemical Engineer

Putting CO₂ Emissions to Work: The Digest’s Multi-Slide Guide to Opus 12

Biofuels Digest

Opus 12 is one startup on a mission to convert CO2 into useful products