…Turns out, when you make fuel from thin air, it’s global news
Global warming is one of the greatest challenges of our time, so it’s imperative that we (society, the media, industry, and Yulu) champion innovative climate change breakthroughs by pushing them out on the front pages of media outlets everywhere, including, by popular vote, the frontpage of Reddit (65k votes to be exact). When Carbon Engineering (CE) reached out to Yulu to develop and execute a strategic communications plan that would amplify its scalable solution for removing CO₂ from the atmosphere, we saw the groundbreaking impact that sharing its story could have.
It may take years to track the environmental impact of CE’s PR launch, but the role Yulu has and continues to play in building CE’s name and influence within the clean energy, climate change and investor space is notable and quantifiable. Within the first month of official launch, CE’s story and technology was covered in more than 400 media outlets, reaching more than 1.9 billion people in 25 countries worldwide while yielding strong investor interest.
CE’s scalable and cost-effective solution for removing CO₂ from the air and converting it into fuel can easily go down as one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs in climate change in the last decade, yet the company was largely unknown, particularly in the energy sector. This eight year old company, backed by Bill Gates and Murray Edwards, was predominantly seen as an R&D company, despite removing CO₂ from the air and converting it into fuel at its pilot plant every day. CE engaged Yulu to raise the company’s profile internationally, communicate its position as the global leader in carbon capture at scale, and support the company in reaching its aggressive funding goals.
Yulu recognized the communications potential for Carbon Engineering, an eight-year-old company backed by Bill Gates, and the compelling narrative that could be developed around the company’s exponential growth and innovation to support investment. The timely hook for the launch was the publication of new research, which proved CO₂ can be removed from the atmosphere for less than $100USD per ton using CE’s Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology. With $100USD per ton considered the threshold for making carbon capture cost-effective, this landmark research put CE’s DAC technology on the map as a feasible solution to climate change for the first time.
Yulu took a strategic approach to the launch, recognizing the opportunity to make international headlines, both online and offline. One consideration was how we could bring this success story to life and demonstrate the work, thinking, technology and tangible impact behind the narrative. Through the creation of drone footage and prioritizing TV interviews, we effectively illustrated CE’s unique plant and forward-thinking team in BC.
Yulu embargo-pitched top tier media including Reuters, Bloomberg, Canadian Press, BBC, and The Atlantic to ensure there was a host of quality coverage on launch day. Once the embargo lifted, the story was pitched across multiple markets and went far and wide from academic and trade outlets to international business and environmental pages.
RESULTS & IMPACT
CE’s story was featured in 150 media outlets by the end of the first day of launch. This included stories in top tier publications such as The Economist, The Atlantic, Globe and Mail, National Geographic, BBC World, New York Times, Nature and Boston Globe.
Within five hours, the story was the most read news piece on BBC World, and listed as the top story of the day. It also made page one on Reddit, demonstrating huge engagement with 65,000 votes and 2,700 comments at the last count. Four wire services featured the story, including Canadian Press, Bloomberg, Reuters and E&E News, and these syndicated widely, landing the story in Financial Post and the New York Times, among others.
This widespread coverage, coupled with further proactive pitching, fuelled the story further – with the topic dominating headlines for nearly a week post launch. Broadcast interviews were lined up in real time, featuring on TV stations including Global TV, CTV and BNN. Radio and podcast interviews also took place in multiple markets including the UK (Talk Radio, Naked Scientist, Future Intelligence), US (NPR, Freakonomics, KCBS Radio), Russia (Sputnik radio) and Austria.
Within two weeks, the story was featured in more than 30 markets, 400 media outlets, and led to cold calls from potential partners and investors to CE directly. Since the launch of the new research, Yulu has secured more than 1,500 pieces of earned media coverage, and hosted on-site media visits from NPR, BBC, and VICE HBO, to CE’s site in British Columbia, allowing us to share CE’s growth story further.
This publicity led to valuable opportunities, including a presentation at Tedx, and a testimonial in front of the US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. CE also met its investment goal of raising $68mUSD by Q1 2019, and was awarded the ‘Game Changer’ award at the BC Clean Tech Awards in 2020. Yulu is proud to continue to work with CE today.
“Bringing Yulu into the CE team was one of the best decisions I have made in my time as CEO. We needed to bring our story to the world’s attention as the public needs to see some hope that climate change can be fixed. The results have far exceeded my expectations, with global interest from investors, customers and the general public. The key to successful PR is to make the message understandable, and then to have the energy and commitment to get that message out there. Yulu delivered both.”
Steve Oldham, CEO, Carbon Engineering