9 Best Technology-Based Carbon Offsets (Complete 2024 List)

9 Best Technology-Based Carbon Offsets (Complete 2024 List)

By
Grace Smoot

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Technology-based carbon offsets remove carbon dioxide (CO2) or methane (CH4) directly from the atmosphere to be repurposed or stored permanently. They are an effective method of carbon removal that could play a crucial role in mitigating climate change. So, we had to ask: what are the best technology-based carbon offsets?

The best technology-based carbon offsets are offered by Climeworks, Neustark, DelAgua, CoreZero, and Terrapass, which offer direct carbon/air capture, carbon mineralization, energy-efficiency, waste management, and agricultural offset projects. 

Keep reading to learn more about the best technology-based carbon offsets, how these carbon offset projects work, what their respective offsetting costs are, and what your best way would be to offset your carbon emissions. At the end of the article, we’ll also share with you what the biggest carbon offsetting limitations are and why reducing your carbon footprint is more effective than offsetting it.

Here’s What All the Best Technology-Based Carbon Offsets Have in Common

Carbon offsets are reductions in carbon emissions that are used to compensate for carbon emissions occurring elsewhere. They are measured in tons of CO2 equivalents and are bought and sold through international brokers, online retailers, and trading platforms on what is known as the global carbon offset market.

Carbon offset: a way for a company or person to reduce the level of carbon dioxide for which they are responsible by paying money to a company that works to reduce the total amount produced in the world, for example by planting trees”

Oxford Dictionary

Carbon removal is the process of eliminating carbon from the atmosphere. It is also referred to as negative emissions or carbon drawdown.

Carbon Removal: the process of removing CO2 from the atmosphere”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Carbon removal can be split into 2 categories, technological and natural carbon removal

  • Technological removal: This involves specialized technology which extracts carbon from the atmosphere. 
  • Natural removal: Also known as carbon sequestration. Carbon is stored naturally in vegetation (forests), soils, and oceans, also referred to as our carbon sinks. 

Technology-based carbon offsets are those that use specialized technology to extract carbon from the atmosphere so that it can then be repurposed or stored permanently in various reservoirs. 

Carbon offsets that are commonly classified as technology-based carbon offsets include:

Related: Are you interested in learning more about the big picture of technology-based carbon offsets? Check it out in this article here: “What Are Technology-Based Carbon Offsets and How Do They Work? The Big Picture

These Are the Best Technology-Based Carbon Offsets in 2024

Below are our favorite technology-based carbon offsets (you can click on their link to directly jump to their section in this article):

Technology-Based Carbon OffsetsQuick Facts
ClimeworksAbout: Carbon offset purchases support the practice of direct CO2 removal, where specialized machines remove CO2 directly from the air and store it in rock formations underground.
Costs: $1,200 per 1,000kg of CO2
NeustarkAbout: Neustark removes CO2 from the atmosphere and stores it in recycled concrete, and they cut new CO2 emissions by reducing the use of traditional cement.
Costs: Costs are determined after initial contact.
DelAguaAbout: Purchases support the Rwandan clean cookstoves energy-efficiency carbon offset project.
Costs: Costs are determined after initial contact
CoreZeroAbout: Purchases support waste management projects including food rescue, upcycling, waste-to-energy, and composting.
Costs: Costs are determined after initial contact
TerrapassAbout: Purchases support waste management and agricultural projects including landfill gas combustion, hydrofluorocarbon recovery/repurposing, capturing CH4, and generating electricity from livestock manure.
Costs: $16.51-$17.63 per 1,000kg of CO2 for individuals and $16.99 per 1,000kg of CO2 for businesses.
Native EnergyAbout: Purchases support waste management and agricultural projects including landfill gas to energy, CH4 digesters, CH4 conversion into energy, and farm methane power. 
Costs: $15.50 per 1,000 kg of CO2
CarbonfundAbout: Purchases support waste management and energy-efficiency projects including landfill gas to renewable energy, landfill gas capture, clean cooking, water filtration, and reducing tailpipe emissions.
Costs: $16.25-$17.16 per 1,000kg of CO2 for individuals, $390-$1,560 per year for small businesses, determined after initial contact for large businesses
greenSandAbout: greenSand uses Olivine rocks, which trap CO2 when they come into contact with water. For every ton of CO2 purchased, greenSand spreads 1 ton of Olivine, which can in turn absorb and permanently store 1 ton of CO2.
Costs: $82 per 1,000kg of CO2
GreenTechAbout: They take plastic (e.g., plastic bottles) and sort, grind, wash, and process it into sustainable recycled flakes to make products (e.g., PET flakes, PET straps, and r-PET granules).
Costs: $40 per 1,000kg of CO2
1

Climeworks: The Leader in Direct CO2 Removal

Screenshot of the climeworks front page

Climeworks is a Swiss direct air capture (DAC) company founded in 2009 by engineering university students Jan and Christoph, who were both shocked at the melting glaciers in the Swiss Alps. Today, their mission is to inspire one billion people to remove CO2 from the air and reverse climate change.

“Let’s reverse climate change”

Climeworks

Project overview: Climeworks’ process can be divided into two parts: carbon capture and carbon storage. Climeworks has specialized machines that first capture CO2 from the air. They then partnered with Icelandic company Carbfix to turn the captured CO2 into stone in less than two years. Carbfix dissolves the captured CO2 in water and injects it underground where it reacts with basalt rock to form solid minerals via natural processes. To date, they have injected over 70,000 tons of CO2 at their Icelandic site.

Carbon offset effectiveness: Climeworks offsets are permanent, measurable, and effective. Carbfix’s process is based on scientific research and has been proven successful at an industrial scale.

Carbon offset costs: Climeworks offers monthly, one-off, or gift carbon purchase options at a cost of $1.20 per 1kg of CO2 removed

How to get your carbon offsets: You can get your carbon offsets directly from Climework’s webshop, where you can also select how much CO2 you want to remove along with your preferred frequency (monthly, one-off, or gift).

2

Neustark: Locking Away CO2 in Concrete

Screenshot of the neustark front page

Neustark was founded in 2019 by Johannes Tiefenthaler and Valentin Gutknecht on the shared vision of a solution for the utilization and storage of CO2. Today they have developed technology that produces one of the most climate-friendly concrete. Their mission is to reduce the global construction industry’s carbon footprint by 1 billion tons of CO2 per year by 2050.

“Co₂ncrete Solutions. Today.”

Neustark

Project overview: Neustark removes CO2 from the atmosphere and permanently stores it in recycled concrete via the process of mineralization, what they call their ‘Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) service’. Approximately 10kg of CO2 are stored per cubic meter of concrete, and up to 20kg of CO2 emissions are avoided in the concrete production process. This results in a carbon removal efficiency of 95%.

Carbon offset effectiveness: Neustark’s carbon credits are permanent, safe, and only issued for net carbon removal. Their process is also credited by the Gold Standard.

Carbon offset costs: Costs are determined after initial contact.

How to get your carbon offsets: You can contact a Neustark representative to get your carbon offsets.

3

DelAgua: Experts in Carbon Development Projects

Screenshot of the DelAgua front page

DelAgua was founded in 1985 as a water testing company aimed at providing clean water to rural African communities. Today, their water testing kit is used in 150+ countries and they offer carbon credits from a pioneer Rwandan clean cookstoves project. 

“Transforming lives and nature through enterprise”

DelAgua

Carbon offset overview: DelAgua launched the Rwandan clean cookstoves project in partnership with the Government of Rwanda in 2013 to transform the lives and environment of rural African communities. To date, the project has provided over 6 million Rwandans with 1.3 million stoves, free of charge. The stoves use small twigs and branches, which people can collect without cutting down trees, thereby reducing deforestation and using 71% less wood than a traditional fire. It is one of the largest programs of its kind which has helped pull families from poverty and avoid CO2 emissions.

Carbon offset effectiveness: Del Agua’s carbon offset projects are certified by the Verified Carbon Standard. They are also aligned with the Paris Agreement and adhere to multiple UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Carbon offset costs: Costs are determined after initial contact.

How to get your carbon offsets: You can visit DelAgua’s website and contact a representative to get your energy-efficiency carbon offsets.

4

CoreZero: Food Rescue and Upcycling

Screenshot of the CoreZero front page

CoreZero was founded in 2020 by Jean Pierre Azañedo and Ignacio Bordigoni as a way to reduce global waste and methane (CH4) emissions. Today, they monetize food rescue, upcycling, waste-to-energy, and composting projects through carbon credits.

“Unleash the monetary potential of zer0-waste.”

CoreZero

Carbon offset overview: CoreZero generates carbon credits in a few different ways, including via food banks, upcycling, composting, and wastewater treatment plants. They work directly with food banks to rescue food before it can become waste. They also create carbon credits based on the environmental impact of wastewater treatment plants, which can encourage organizations to invest more in the technology. 

Carbon offset effectiveness: CoreZero’s offsets are verified by an independent third party and, depending on the specific offset, are certified by either the Verified Carbon Standard, Gold Standard, American Carbon Registry, or the Global Carbon Council.

Carbon offset costs: Costs are determined after initial contact.

How to get your carbon offsets: You can visit CoreZero’s website and contact a representative to get your carbon offsets.

5

Terrapass: A Variety of Carbon Offsets for Individuals and Businesses

Screenshot of the terrapass front page

Terrapass was founded in 2004 by Dr. Karl Ulrich to reduce as many carbon emissions as possible via the use of education, online tools, carbon offsets, and renewable energy. Today, they provide verified landfill gas capture, farm power, renewable energy, and forestry carbon offsets for individuals and businesses.

“Restore the balance.”

Terrapass

Project overview: Terrapass rotates through its projects, but they have offered a variety of carbon avoidance offsets including:

Carbon offset effectiveness: Terrapass uses the Verified Carbon Standard, Gold Standard, American Carbon Registry, and the Climate Action Reserve to help ensure transparency and quality in the creation, quantification, and verification of their projects.

Carbon offset costs: Individual carbon offsets range from $16.51-$17.63 per 1,000kg of CO2, and business carbon offsets cost approximately $16.99 per 1,000kg of CO2.

How to get your carbon offsets: You can visit their website to learn more about their carbon avoidance offset projects and then purchase your offsets either as an individual or a business

6

Native Energy: Changing the World Through Climate Projects

Screenshot of the Native Energy front page

Native Energy was founded in 2000 by Jeff Bernicke as a platform for organizations to implement projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. 

Today, they offer carbon offsets and renewable energy solutions that provide clients the opportunity to invest and enable the development of new climate projects with direct business benefits.

“Envision your ideal climate solution. Let us build it.”

Native

Carbon offset credit overview: Native Energy supports a range of carbon avoidance projects including

Carbon offset credit effectiveness: Native Energy’s offsets are certified by one of the following leading standards: Gold Standard, Verified Carbon Standard, Climate Action Reserve, American Carbon Registry, Plan Vivo, Climate, or the Community & Biodiversity Alliance.

Carbon offset costs: Carbon offsets cost approximately $18 per ton of CO2.

How to get your Carbon offsets: You can visit their website to learn more and purchase your carbon avoidance offsets.

7

Carbonfund: Energy Efficiency, Forestry, and Renewable Energy Offsets

Screenshot of the Carbonfund front page

Carbonfund was founded in 2003 by Eric Carlson to make it easy for any individual, business, or organization to reduce and offset their climate impact. Today, they have been incorporated into ClimeCo and provide verified energy efficiency, renewable energy, and forestry carbon offsets for individuals and businesses.

“Reduce what you can, offset what you can’t.”

Carbonfund

Carbon offset overview: Carbonfund supports a variety of carbon avoidance offset projects including:

Carbon offset effectiveness: Carbonfund uses the Verified Carbon Standard, Gold Standard, American Carbon Registry, and Climate Action Reserve to help ensure transparency and quality in the creation, quantification, and verification of offset projects.

Carbon offset costs: Individual carbon offsets range from $16.25-$17.16 per 1,000kg of CO2, small business carbon offsets range from $390-$1,560 per year (dependent on the number of employees), and large business carbon offset costs are evaluated after personal contact.

How to get your carbon offsets: You can visit their website to purchase your individual or business carbon avoidance offsets.

8

greenSand: Olivine – The Great CO2 Cleaner

Screenshot of the greenSand front page

greenSand was founded in 2009 by Eddy Wijnker after he realized that Olivine, a mineral, had the potential to clean up CO2. Today, they offer carbon offsets for individuals and businesses and have developed products of olivine-rich rocks that can replace current sand and stone applications. Their mission is to permanently clean up extra CO2 to bring balance back into the Earth’s CO2 cycle.

“We save the earth with stones and sand, will you help?”

greenSand

Project overview: greenSand uses Olivine rocks, which trap CO2 when they come into contact with water. The carbon stored in Olivine rocks is stored permanently, and it is only released if the temperature exceeds 1,600 degrees. For every ton of CO2 purchased, greenSand spreads 1 ton of Olivine, which can in turn absorb 1 ton of CO2.

Carbon offset effectiveness: greenSand is Open Natural Carbon Removal Accounting (ONCRA) certified. ONCRA is a framework for measuring the removal and storage of CO2 via nature-based solutions.

Carbon offset costs: greenSand’s offsets cost $82 per 1,000kg of CO2 offset.

How to get your carbon offsets: You can visit greenSand’s website to get your carbon offsets.

9

GreenTech: Plastic Waste Conversion

Screenshot of the GreenTech front page

GreenTech was founded in 2002 as an offshoot of GreenGroup, Europe’s largest integrated recycling park. Today, they recycle over 100,000 tons of plastic per year, helping to reduce CO2 emissions and improve the lives of the communities they serve.

“Responsibility for nature is everyone’s duty”

GreenTech

Carbon offset overview: GreenTech is the first European recycling company to be endorsed by the Gold Standard for their issuance of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycling carbon credits. They take plastic (e.g., plastic bottles) and sort, grind, wash, and process it into sustainable recycled flakes to make products (e.g., PET flakes, PET straps, and r-PET granules). This results in up to 60% less CO2 emissions compared to manufacturing products from virgin inputs.

Carbon offset effectiveness: GreenTech’s offsets are certified by the Gold Standard and adhere to multiple UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Carbon offset costs: It costs approximately $40 per 1,000kg of CO2 offset.

How to get your carbon offsets: You can visit their website to purchase your waste management carbon offsets.

How Effective and Efficient Are Technology-Based Carbon Offsets

In terms of effectiveness, technology-based carbon offsets can permanently and quickly reduce CO2 emissions, bolster energy security, help transition away from fossil fuels, and reduce CH4 emissions. However, they can also lack additionality and do not reduce your own carbon emissions, which can lead to greenwashing.

In terms of efficiency, technology-based carbon offsets can have low rates of carbon re-emission; however, they also come with varying levels of cost, can be difficult to monitor and verify, and are not yet scaled to compensate for our global emissions.

Technology-based carbon offsets are effective at mitigating climate change because:

However, technology-based carbon offsets involving energy-efficiency and waste management can also lack additionality due to increasing demands for projects.

Technology-based carbon offsets are efficient at reducing CO2 emissions because DCC/DAC offsets can have low rates of carbon re-emission when plants are operated by low-carbon electricity. And carbon mineralization offsets store carbon permanently, even if rocks are broken.

However, technology-based carbon offsets can also lack efficiency because:

  • The decentralized nature and many different types of energy-efficiency, waste management, and agricultural carbon offsets can make standardization and monitoring difficult. 
  • DCC/DAC, carbon mineralization, energy efficiency, waste management, and agricultural offsets are not scaled enough to keep pace with our global carbon emissions due to a lack of technology and few companies engaged in the practices

Also, costs can vary greatly depending on the type of offset. Technology-based carbon offsets such as DCC/DAC and carbon mineralization are some of the more expensive methods. But carbon offsets involving energy efficiency, waste management, and agriculture are relatively cost-effective.

Lastly, technology-based carbon offsets do not reduce your own carbon emissions, which can lead to greenwashing. This occurs when emissions are only offset and not reduced from the source, and the consumer is deceived into thinking they are offsetting their emissions but in reality, they are not. This is why we should first reduce our emissions before relying on offsets.

Related: Are you interested in learning more about how effective and efficient technology-based carbon offsets are? Check out the full article here: “How Effective and Efficient Are Technology-Based Carbon Offsets? Here Are the Facts

What Are The 6 Pros and 5 Cons of Technology-Based Carbon Offsets

Technology-based carbon offsets can cost-effectively reduce CO2 and CH4 emissions quickly while storing carbon for long periods of time. They also promote energy decentralization, bolster energy security, help transition away from fossil fuels, and allow us to reduce carbon emissions in ways we wouldn’t be able to accomplish individually.

Technology-based carbon offsets can lack additionality, are not yet scaled to compensate for our global emissions, can be expensive, and can be difficult to monitor and verify. They also do not reduce your own carbon emissions, which could lead to greenwashing.

Related: Are you interested in learning more about the pros and cons of technology-based carbon offsets? Check out the full article here: “Technology-Based Carbon Offsets: All 6 Pros and 5 Cons Explained

What Are the 6 Pros of Technology-Based Carbon Offsets

Technology-based carbon offsets have various pros that make them effective at reducing carbon emissions.

6 Pros of Technology-Based Carbon OffsetsQuick Facts
#1: Technology-based carbon offsets can store carbon for long periods of timeTechnology-based carbon offsets involving direct carbon/air capture (DCC/DAC), carbon mineralization, waste management, and agriculture can permanently remove carbon from the atmosphere with low rates of carbon re-emission. 
#2: Technology-based carbon offsets can reduce CO2 emissions quicklyTechnology-based carbon offsets involving DCC/DAC, carbon mineralization, energy efficiency, and some waste management and agricultural practices can reduce emissions immediately.
#3: Technology-based carbon offsets can reduce methane (CH4) emissionsTechnology-based carbon offsets involving waste management and agriculture can reduce methane (CH4) emissions. 
#4: Technology-based carbon offsets can be cost-effectiveTechnology-based carbon offsets involving energy efficiency, waste management, and agriculture are some of the most cost-effective methods of carbon emission reduction. 
#5: Technology-based carbon offsets can promote energy decentralization, bolster energy security, and help transition away from fossil fuelsTechnology-based carbon offsets involving energy efficiency can help reduce reliance on fossil fuels, leading to increased energy security and energy independence. 
#6: Technology-based carbon offsets allow us to reduce carbon emissions in ways we wouldn’t be able to accomplish individuallyTechnology-based carbon offsets allow us to reduce carbon emissions in ways we wouldn’t be able to accomplish individually.

What Are the 5 Cons of Technology-Based Carbon Offsets

Understanding the drawbacks of technology-based carbon offsets is important in order to effectively mitigate climate change.

5 Cons of Technology-Based Carbon OffsetsQuick Facts
#1: Technology-based carbon offsets can lack additionalityTechnology-based offsets involving energy efficiency often lack additionality because many projects receiving revenue now would have been built regardless.
#2: Technology-based carbon offsets can be expensiveTechnology-based offsets involving DCC/DAC and carbon mineralization offsets are some of the most expensive methods of carbon removal. 
#3: Technology-based carbon offsets are not yet at a scale where they can compensate for our global carbon emissionsDCC/DAC, carbon mineralization, energy efficiency, waste management, and agricultural carbon offsets are not yet scaled to keep pace with our global carbon emissions due to various barriers. 
#4: Technology-based carbon offsets can be difficult to monitor and verifyTechnology-based carbon offsets involving energy efficiency, waste management, and agriculture can be difficult to monitor and verify.
#5: Technology-based carbon offsets do not reduce your own carbon emissions, which can lead to greenwashingIf emissions are only offset and not reduced from the source, this could lead to greenwashing, when the consumer is deceived into thinking they are offsetting their emissions but in reality, they are not. 

How Can Technology-Based Carbon Offsets Help Mitigate Climate Change

Climate change is a severe and long-term consequence of fossil fuel combustion. Technology-based offsets can help mitigate climate change because they eliminate fossil-fuel-derived carbon from our atmosphere which, if left untreated, can remain there for tens of thousands of years and exacerbate the negative effects of climate change.

How is Climate Change Defined

Climate change is arguably the most severe, long-term global impact of fossil fuel combustion. Every year, approximately 33 billion tons (bt) of CO2 are emitted from burning fossil fuels. The carbon found in fossil fuels reacts with oxygen in the air to produce CO2

Climate change: changes in the earth’s weather, including changes in temperature, wind patterns and rainfall, especially the increase in the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere that is caused by the increase of particular gasses, especially carbon dioxide.

Oxford Dictionary

Atmospheric CO2 fuels climate change, which results in global warming. When CO2 and other air pollutants absorb sunlight and solar radiation in the atmosphere, it traps the heat and acts as an insulator for the planet. Since the Industrial Revolution, Earth’s temperature has risen a little more than 1 degree Celsius (C), or 2 degrees Fahrenheit (F). Between 1880-1980 the global temperature rose by 0.07C every 10 years. This rate has more than doubled since 1981, with a current global annual temperature rise of 0.18C, or 0.32F, for every 10 years. 

How Do Carbon Offsets Generally Help Mitigate Climate Change

Levels of carbon in our atmosphere that cause climate change have increased due to human emissions since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in 1750. The global average concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere today registers at over 400 parts per million. Carbon offsets can help prevent these levels from increasing even more.

When you hear the words “carbon offset”, think about the term “compensation”. Essentially, carbon offsets are reductions in GHG emissions that are used to compensate for emissions occurring elsewhere

Carbon offsets that meet key criteria and verified project standards, are additional and permanent, and are part of projects that are carried out until the end of their lifespan have the best chance of reducing carbon emissions and therefore reducing climate change. 

As outlined in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, we must cut current greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. Technology-based offsets are important to meet these targets because it eliminates carbon, which when emitted, can remain in our atmosphere for tens of thousands of years.

How Do Technology-Based Carbon Offsets Specifically Help Mitigate Climate Change

Direct carbon/air capture and carbon mineralization offsets specifically help mitigate climate change because these methods permanently lock away CO2 for thousands of years with little to no carbon re-emission.

Waste management offsets involving landfill gas capture/combustion, landfill gas to renewable energy, biodigesters, biogas, and composting specifically help mitigate climate change because they capture emissions from waste, turning it into renewable energy and reducing the total amount of waste. 

Energy-efficiency offsets involving clean cookstoves, water filtration programs, and co-generation facilities specifically help mitigate climate change by reducing CO2 emissions from direct fossil fuel combustion and from indirect electricity generation. By using energy-efficient appliances and methodologies, we reduce the amount of CO2 entering our atmosphere. 

Agricultural offsets including CH4 capture can specifically help mitigate climate change because they reduce CO2 and CH4 emissions in one of the biggest industries worldwide.

Final Thoughts

Climeworks, Neustark, DelAgua, CoreZero, and Terrapass are the best technology-based carbon offsets. Native Energy, Carbonfund, greenSand, and Greentech also offer projects involving direct carbon/air capture (DCC/DAC), carbon mineralization, energy-efficiency, waste management, and agricultural offset projects. 

Technology-based carbon offsets remove CO2 and CH4 from the atmosphere and either repurpose it or store it in various reservoirs. But for all of the good carbon offsets can instigate, they should not be seen as the only solution to climate change. They are effective at reducing CO2 in the short term, but in the long term, they fail to reduce CO2 enough. 

When used in conjunction with direct CO2 reduction measures, carbon offsetting can be much more effective. We should reduce our own carbon footprint as much as possible first, and only then choose the most effective technology-based carbon offsets.

Stay impactful,

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