Joule, the pioneer of liquid fuels from recycled CO2, today announced the closing of $40m in private equity and venture debt financing, supporting the company’s growth towards commercialization.

The round was led by existing investors, including Flagship Ventures, and brings the company’s total to $200m raised to date.

The proceeds will be applied towards a staged industrialization of its patented, reverse-combustion process, including the near-term expansion of Joule’s production field in Hobbs, New Mexico. This will lead to the longer-term build-out of a 1,000-acre plant to begin in 2017.

In an optimal location, a plant of this size has the potential to convert 150,000 tons of waste CO2 into 25 million gallons of ethanol or 15 million gallons of diesel per year – with no reliance on arable land, crops or fresh water.

The phased build-out will demonstrate the scalability of Joule’s modular SolarConverter® system, which enables the direct, continuous production of fuel from CO2 and sunlight.

“In the past six months alone, Joule has achieved rapid progress and impressive results that position the company well for industrialization. This progress will be bolstered by the newly committed funds and the continued support from our shareholders and strategic partners, including Audi,” said Serge Tchuruk, President and CEO of Joule.

“Joule’s CO2-recycled fuel is on track to become a real answer for carbon neutrality. It provides a solution which is both practical and economical for global mobility and it can be implemented in the short term.”

“The call for global decarbonisation is increasingly making headlines, and Joule is at the forefront of a CO2 recycling movement that can both reduce industrial emissions and generate economic growth,” said Noubar Afeyan, Co-Founder and Chairman of Joule and Senior Managing Partner and CEO of Flagship Ventures.

“The company has proven the industrial viability of its approach and, with the strong new leadership team in place, is rapidly advancing towards market introduction within the next few years.”

Unlike biofuels derived indirectly from agricultural or algal biomass in a multi-step process, Joule’s fuels are derived directly from sunlight and waste CO2 in a single conversion step. The process uniquely uses engineered catalysts to directly produce ethanol or diesel-range alkanes in a continuous process for many weeks at a time.

Joule’s combination of abundant inputs, process efficiency and high productivity will ultimately result in highly competitive costs providing attractive economics in a world with increasing environmental constraints.