Carbon Engineering secures $25 million from government to capture, reuse CO₂

Carbon Engineering (CE), a cleantech company based in Squamish, BC, has received a $25 million investment from the federal government to scale two innovations that capture and reuse carbon dioxide contained in the atmosphere.

“Air treatment technologies have the potential to realize significant greenhouse gas reductions.”

This funding follows the company’s private investment round in March, totalling to $90 million CAD. Carbon Engineering raised the capital from a variety of prominent investors, including Bill Gates, Chevron Technology Ventures, First Round Capital, and Canadian oil sands investor, Murray Edwards, among others.

CE has produced two clean technologies, one to pull CO₂ from the atmosphere, and another to convert it to more environmentally sustainable fuel. A statement from the federal government said this new funding will help advance the commercialization of these two clean energy technologies, both developed and demonstrated at the company’s headquarters in Squamish.

“With an increasing focus worldwide on the need to transition to a low carbon economy, companies that provide cost-effective and scalable solutions for lowering carbon levels will be leaders in an emerging global economy,” said Steve Oldham, CEO of CE.

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“CE’s air treatment technologies have the potential to realize significant greenhouse gas reductions, create jobs and investment in Canadian projects, and deliver clean fuels to consumers. We are grateful for this support as we work to commercialize our technology and cement our position as a world leader in this field,” he stated.

The company’s ‘Direct Air Capture’ technology was designed to remove CO₂ directly from the atmosphere to either store or find other uses for, while its ‘Air To Fuels’ technology produces low carbon intensity fuels out of collected atmospheric CO₂, water, and clean electricity. Carbon Engineering stated that these fuels are cleaner than fossil fuels and can power cars, trucks, ships, and airplanes.

With the federal government’s funding, CE will construct and operate the Newport Innovation Centre in Squamish, which will contain an advanced development facility and a fully-integrated plant for the Direct Air Capture and Air To Fuels technologies. The government said this plant will be capable of capturing 4.5 tonnes of CO₂ from the atmosphere and producing at least 320 litres of ultra-low carbon fuel each day.

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Founded in 2009, CE has been capturing CO₂ from the atmosphere since 2015, the same year Sustainable Development Technology Canada invested $3 million into the company. It began converting carbon dioxide into fuels in 2017.

“Our government’s investment in Carbon Engineering is a commitment to an innovative economy and to a sector that offers tremendous promise,” said Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. “Canadian ingenuity is at work to find solutions to one of the world’s most pressing challenges, climate change.”

CE will continue with its core R&D, and begin the design and engineering of the company’s commercial plants. It claimed each Direct Air Capture plant will be capable of capturing one megatonne, (1 million tonnes) of CO₂ per year, and that each Air To Fuels plant will be able to produce more than 100 million litres of clean fuel each year.

CE’s investment is being made through the Strategic Innovation Fund, which opened its fifth stream this month. The company has also received support from Natural Resources Canada, the BC Innovative Clean Energy Fund, Emissions Reduction Alberta, the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program, and the Western Innovation Initiative.

Image courtesy Carbon Engineering

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Writer, globetrotter, drone pilot & David Attenborough enthusiast