Last month, Carbon Engineering, a Canadian clean energy company announced the completion of an equity financing round of $68m, marking the largest private investment made into a Direct Air Capture (DAC) company to date.
gasworld spoke to Steve Oldham, Carbon Engineering’s CEO to discuss what the new capital means for the Canadian company and the future of Carbon Engineering’s DAC technology.
“We recently announced the completion of an equity financing round of $68m, marking the largest private investment made into a DAC company to date. This financing will allow us to commercialise and enter mainstream markets with our technologies and progress the engineering of our first commercial facilities,” Steve Oldham, Carbon Engineering CEO told gasworld.
DAC is a technology that processes atmospheric air, removes the CO2 from it, and delivers it in compressed, purified form ready for use of storage.
“Carbon Engineering’s DAC technology does this in a closed loop where the only major inputs are water and energy, and the output is a stream of pure, compressed CO2. This captured, compressed CO2 then offers a range of opportunities and environmental benefits,” Oldham explained.
“It can be permanently stored underground, which will create negative emissions, used for enhanced oil recovery, or utilised in the production of products and materials, including synthesis of clean-burning liquid fuels.”
Carbon Engineering currently has a pilot plant in Squamish, British Columbia, where it fully demonstrates two of its technologies, one being DAC and the other being AIR TO FUELS™. The company has been removing CO2 from the atmosphere since 2015 and converting it into fuels since 2017. The new capital for Carbon Engineering will further help the company to develop this.
“This financing round shows the growing recognition of both the benefits and commercial readiness of our DAC technology. As the world assesses how to address climate change, while keeping economies running with the energy they need, our technology can provide a key part of the solution,” Oldham told gasworld.
“The funding enables expansion of our facilities in Squamish, British Columbia, continue advanced development and IP generation, and the engineering of our first commercial facilities which we expect to capture 100,000’s of tonnes of CO2 per year.”
“These will then pave the way for facilities that will capture one million tonnes of CO2 from the air each year,” Oldham continued.
In order for DAC technology to take off globally, the pricing has to be right. gasworld asked Oldham what cost per tonne he thinks the captures CO2 needs to be in order for DAC technology to scale up/become more widely adopted.
“Our research paper, published in 2018, shows that Carbon Engineering’s technology could capture CO2 from atmospheric air for roughly $100/tonne. At this price point Carbon Engineering’s technology has viable markets today, such as California and British Columbia, where Low Carbon Fuel Standards regulations incentivise ultra-low carbon intensity fuels and sequestration of atmospheric CO₂.”
The large amount of funding will allow the company to constantly grow within the DAC market. With the concept of DAC technology becoming increasingly popular, gasworld wanted to find out what Carbon Engineering’s future steps within the market may be.
“With our technologies fully demonstrated, and market-based regulations like the California or British Columbia Low Carbon Fuel Standards (LCFS) creating viable markets for this industry, we are ready to start building commercial plants and are investigating a number of potential locations across North America for our first sites,” said Oldham.
“We are pursuing projects to build DAC plants that will permanently sequester the CO2 underground, or utilise iIt for enhanced oil recovery, as well as AIR TO FUELS™ plants that will utilise the captured CO2 for fuel synthesis.”
“Carbon Engineering’s DAC technology has been fully demonstrated and is ready for commercialisation. Facilities can be built to capture one million tonnes of CO2 per year each, which is equivalent to the annual emissions of 250,000 average cars,” Oldham concluded.
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