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Capturing Carbon with Carbonvert CEO Alex Tiller

Good Morning. This is Sunya Stories. The podcast series covering conversations with leaders in energy.

This episode features Carbonvert CEO Alex Tiller.

He’s a serial entrepreneur who has spent time in finance, tax equity, solar development, carbon capture, and believe it or not - 3D animation.

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AI-generated show notes:


Alex Tiller discusses his diverse background and entrepreneurial journey, from animation to farmland investment to the solar industry in Hawaii. He highlights the importance of identifying niche markets and market inflection points. Alex also explores the potential for full-service solutions in carbon capture and storage (CCS) and the challenges of aligning incentives in the engineering industry. The conversation covers challenges in adopting new technology, the fear of looking dumb, lessons learned from timing, the origin story of CCS, the transition to an energy practice, building a sales funnel, the discovery of carbon capture and storage, the carbon capture community, the perception of expensive technology, exploring carbon capture opportunities, the focus on ethanol and its limitations, being compelled to start a CCS company, connecting with Jan Sherman and Talos Energy, responding to the RFP for Bayou Bend, unique expertise in the team, merging RFPs to prepare for Bayou Bend, partnering with Talos Energy, the short response window for the RFP, the debate on venture-backed vs private equity-backed, understanding project finance, and the stage of Gulf Coast origination. In this conversation, Alex Tiller discusses the offshore carbon capture and storage (CCS) industry, emphasizing the importance of poor space acquisition and the challenges of building mega architectures. He also explores the opportunities in transportation projects and the potential for clustering carbon-related facilities. Tiller introduces the concept of Carbon Plex, a plug-and-play industrial park for carbon-related projects. He highlights the need for carbon accounting and monitoring, as well as the disconnect within the environmental community. Tiller concludes by discussing the growth potential in the carbon industry and the importance of overcoming misconceptions.


  • Identify niche markets and market inflection points to find unique business opportunities.

  • Consider the financial and regulatory landscape when entering a new industry or market.

  • Specialize in providing full-service solutions to meet the needs of customers and simplify complex processes.

  • Align incentives and expertise to ensure successful project execution and overcome challenges. Adopting new technology can be challenging due to complexity and the fear of looking dumb.

  • Timing is crucial in business opportunities, and being early can sometimes be the same as being wrong.

  • The origin story of Carbonvert involved exploring the carbon capture and storage (CCS) space and identifying a business opportunity.

  • Building a sales funnel and marketing plan are essential for raising funds and investing in projects.

  • The Gulf Coast origination of carbon capture projects is still in the early stages, with opportunities for small companies to participate. Offshore CCS projects require significant poor space acquisition and are still in the early stages.

  • The carbon industry involves two land grabs: poor space acquisition and emissions contracts.

  • Transportation projects face challenges, and clustering facilities may be a more practical solution than building mega architectures.

  • The Carbon Plex concept aims to co-locate carbon-related projects and provide shared services.

  • There is a disconnect within the environmental community, and overcoming misconceptions is a challenge.

  • The carbon industry offers numerous opportunities, including carbon accounting, monitoring, and services.


00:00 Introduction and Conference Season

01:02 Project Financing and Investor Meetings

03:12 Alex's Diverse Background

05:08 From Animation to Farmland

10:08 Moving to Hawaii and Solar Opportunity

13:07 Identifying Niche Markets

15:21 Identifying Market Inflection Points

23:31 Full-Service Solutions in CCS

27:05 Aligning Incentives in CCS

31:33 Engineers' Mindset and Specialization

35:23 AutoWatts and F&I Challenges

37:25 Challenges in Adopting New Technology

38:13 Fear of Looking Dumb

38:31 Lessons Learned from Timing

39:13 Origin Story of CCS

40:00 Transition to Energy Practice

41:08 Building a Sales Funnel

42:03 Discovery of Carbon Capture and Storage

43:00 Carbon Capture and Storage Community

43:39 Perception of Expensive Technology

44:00 Exploring Carbon Capture Opportunities

45:09 Ethanol Focus and Limitations

45:41 Ethanol as a Low-Returning Business

46:40 Compelled to Start a CCS Company

47:38 Connecting with Jan Sherman

48:23 Introduction to Talos Energy

49:20 Connecting with Talos Energy

52:03 Responding to the RFP for Bayou Bend

53:53 Unique Expertise in the Team

55:17 Merging RFPs to Prepare for Bayou Bend

56:15 Partnering with Talos Energy

59:35 Short Response Window for RFP

01:03:02 Debate on Venture-backed vs Private Equity-backed

01:04:25 Understanding Project Finance

01:06:48 Control Equity vs Venture-backed

01:09:28 Capital Intensity and Risk Tolerance

01:10:20 Stage of Gulf Coast Origination

01:10:34 Offshore CCS and Poor Space Acquisition

01:11:08 Different Land Grabs: Poor Space and Emissions

01:11:59 The Importance of Land Acquisition

01:13:24 Mass and Scale of Poor Space Acquisition

01:13:50 Building the Whole CCS Project

01:14:21 The Speed of Offshore Projects

01:15:17 Timeline and Speed of CCS Projects

01:16:18 Transportation Challenges and Opportunities

01:17:58 Transportation Projects and Startups

01:18:26 Building Mega Architectures vs. Clusters

01:19:24 Opportunities in Appalachia and Rockies

01:20:22 Carbon Plex: Co-locating Carbon Projects

01:22:05 Expanding the Carbon Value Chain

01:23:25 The Need for Carbon Accounting and Monitoring

01:24:21 The Growth Potential of the Carbon Industry

01:25:24 The Disconnect in the Environmental Community

01:26:21 The Credibility Issue in the Oil and Gas Industry

01:27:23 The Challenges of Midwest Transportation Project

01:28:20 The Need for Carbon Accounting and Services

01:30:17 The Carbon Plex Opportunity

01:32:30 The Future of Carbon and Decarbonization

01:34:20 The Disconnect in the Environmental Community

01:36:09 The Challenges of Overcoming Misconceptions

01:38:36 The Multivariate Nature of the Energy Transition

01:41:41 The Growth Potential in Carbon Accounting and Services

01:44:15 The Opportunities in the Carbon Industry

01:45:04 Contact Information

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