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Kairos Aerospace secures $26 million in Series C funding

19 Aug 2021

US-based aerial methane leak detection company invested in by Silicon Valley “deep tech” investor DCVC.

Kairos Aerospace, a company that identifies of oilfield methane leaks and emissions from the air with a combination of optical sensors and data processing, has announced the closing of its $26 million Series C-1 funding round.

The investment is led by DCVC. Returning investors OGCI Climate Investments, John Crane, a Smith Group company, and Energy Innovation Capital (EIC) also participated.

Kairos (the name references the Ancient Greek word for “the critical moment”) will use the funds to expand globally, expand its workforce and instrument fleet to support its rapidly growing operations and sales, and develop the next generation of instruments that will increase sensitivity and improve the utility of Kairos data for its customers.

Using proprietary sensor hardware and algorithms, Kairos conducts aerial surveys to spot methane leaks of all sizes, which it pinpoints on the map with its patented fusion of infrared data, GPS and aerial photography. The company then provides discreet and actionable insights to its clients in the oil and gas industry enabling them to swiftly fix the leaks.

LeakSurveyor – how it works

Kairos’s patented LeakSurveyor methane spectrometer measures the absorption of reflected sunlight by methane molecules. Using the system, an operator can survey up to 100 square miles per plane per day, which, the company says, can “drastically reducing inspection and compliance costs and time.”

An explanation on the Kairos website says, “We fly our instrument at 3,000 ft (1000m) to rapidly spot the locations with the largest sources of methane emissions, while simultaneously collecting optical images and GPS location data to help ground crews identify emissions sources. These locations and images are provided to operators’ leak detection and repair teams for on-site inspection and repair.”

In 2020, Kairos flew over 288,000 miles in two countries across eight oilfield basins, surveying 12,000 square miles of oilfields, including 96,000 active wells and 48,000 miles of pipelines. While this is a material and growing dataset, it represents only a first step in establishing a global dataset that can reduce emissions and improve the efficiency of the energy supply chain.

Reducing environmental impact

In tandem with other operational and sustainability efforts, Kairos says its data has enabled its clients to successfully eliminate 14.4 billion cubic feet of methane emissions, equivalent to removing 1.6 million vehicles from the road or reducing 7.3 million tons of CO2 emissions.

“We are pleased with the positive impact we have had on the oil and gas industry’s emissions management strategies and outcomes thus far and look forward to further growth,” said Steve Deiker, co-founder and CEO.

“We’re addressing a critical issue in the industry, and this investment allows us to continue our period of rapid growth, scaling in geography, capacity and utility for our clients.”

Zachary Bogue, DCVC managing partner, said, “We cannot meet global climate goals without reducing methane emissions across our trillions of dollars’ worth of existing energy infrastructure.

“Kairos provides an immediate pathway for the industry to materially reduce methane emissions and begin to meet Net Zero by 2050 targets. More progress today means more time to develop the sustainable energy infrastructure of tomorrow.”

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