One step closer to “air to fuels”… Arrival of Fuel Synthesis Platform

Today marked an important milestone on our journey towards commercializing renewable transportation fuels made from air, water, and clean electricity. On a humid West Coast fall morning, two tractor-trailers arrived at our site here in Squamish, B.C. and CE and Greyrock teams unloaded a Greyrock M5 fuel synthesis platform. Once integrated with our direct air capture pilot plant, and a water electrolyzer supplied by Hydrogenics, this equipment will give us the ability to produce gasoline and diesel fuel, using only air, water, and renewable electricity as inputs.

We call this concept “air to fuels” (or A2F). It allows us to use clean renewable electricity – which is quickly becoming the lowest cost source of energy in the world – to remove CO2 from the air, split water into hydrogen and oxygen, and then combine the CO2 and hydrogen to produce liquid hydrocarbon fuels like gasoline, diesel, or jet fuel.

Interest in A2F is growing rapidly, as countries and markets search for means to cut GHG emissions and reduce the use of crude oil and other fossil fuels. At CE, we have been developing direct air capture (DAC) technology since 2009, and now we are building on our successful DAC pilot by demonstrating it can be integrated with fuel synthesis to make clean renewable fuels that can displace crude oil and help reduce GHG emissions from the global transportation sector.

Our efforts moved out of engineering and simulation today, and into the world of hardware demonstration and testing with the arrival of the Greyrock Energy fuel synthesis platform. This system will be connected and integrated with our existing direct air capture (DAC) pilot facility which removes 1-tonne CO2 per day from the atmosphere. Once connected and commissioned, the A2F plant will produce approximately 1 bbl/d of ultra low-carbon liquid transportation fuels using captured CO2, and hydrogen produced renewably on-site by electrolysis.

Our A2F facility will be the first of its kind at this scale, and marks a major step towards commercialization of an innovative A2F approach to reducing world-wide transportation emissions. Our direct air capture pilot, Greyrock’s M5 fuel synthesis platform, and Hydrogenics’ water electrolyzer are all technologies that can be scaled up to produce clean renewable fuels at industrial volumes for use in transportation markets.

Once commissioned, we will operate this A2F pilot throughout the rest of 2017, and into 2018, testing and optimizing the system, and collecting data that will be used to develop engineering packages for larger commercial-scale systems. Keep checking CE’s website in the upcoming months for updates on the commissioning and fuels production progress.

-DJK & GH.