Former U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has joined the board of CO2-capture developer Inventys Thermal Technologies Inc., based near Vancouver, the company said on Dec. 19.

Inventys, founded in 2007 and funded by private venture capital as well as some Canadian- and U.K.-government grants, has developed a method of scrubbing CO2 from industrial-plant flues at less than 20 percent of the cost of current methods.

Inventys's  VeloxoTherm system uses a self-recycling adsorption unit to remove CO2 from flue gas, the company said. The company's aim is to initially place the VeloxoTherm scrubbing system in flues of plants near CO2 pipelines. 

CO2 is currently used in producing additional crude from old oil wells, such as in the Permian Basin of West Texas, as one of several enhanced oil-recovery (EOR) methods. It is also used in chemicals manufacturing, the company said.


“Carbon capture is a critical technology to move us to a clean energy future and Inventys has developed a practical, compact and low-cost system that allows existing fossil-fuel power plants to dramatically lower their carbon emissions," Chu said of VeloxoTherm.

 “I look forward to…helping guide the company forward,” Chu added. He has been a longtime supporter of global reduction of CO2 emission. 

Chu is a physicist, and he and colleagues won a Nobel Prize in 1997 for their work in trapping atoms. Since serving as Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary during President Obama’s first term, Chu is currently a professor of physics and of molecular and cellular physiology at Stanford. 

Prior to his DOE post, he was the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

“Dr. Chu brings an incredibly broad expertise to Inventys—from molecular interactions to the macro-economics of energy systems and everything between,” Andre Boulet, Inventys CEO and co-founder, said. 

The venture-capital investor The Roda Group, based in Berkeley, Calif., is the lead investor in Inventys.