With the recent publication of our Direct Air Capture (DAC) cost analysis paper behind us, we wanted to provide an update on some of the work that takes place behind the scenes at our pilot plant in Squamish, B.C. Although our DAC and AIR TO FUELS™ technologies have been successfully proven and demonstrated, our pilot plant continues to operate to allow us to conduct extended testing and optimization efforts, and work is continuing on the next phase of CE’s growth.
A key aspect of this continued work involves collaboration with our partners and suppliers. At CE, we work with several key vendors and partners to utilize or adapt their equipment for use in our own processes. We’ve designed our technology to incorporate existing industrial equipment and practices with our own propriety innovations to deliver a DAC technology that is both cost effective and scalable. These partnerships continue to be crucial to the development of CE’s DAC and AIR TO FUELS™ technologies.
A number of partners and vendors are important to our work at CE, and here we call out several that supply the main unit operations in our DAC and AIR TO FUELS™ technologies:
The first step in CE’s DAC process involves a “wet scrubbing” air contactor which captures CO2 and converts it into carbonate. CE’s air contactor structure is modelled on commercial cooling tower technology, and the design has benefited from close collaboration with SPX Cooling Technologies, a leading vendor in the industry. While the geometry and fluid chemistry differ from conventional cooling towers, CE’s design relies on many of the same components.
The second step in CE’s DAC process is called a “pellet reactor” which converts the carbonate solution from the air contactor into small pellets of calcium carbonate. The design for CE’s pellet reactor was adapted from Royal HaskoningDHV’s Crystalactor® water treatment technology, which was developed for water treatment plants. Working with Royal HaskoningDHV, CE implemented the Crystalactor technology in the DAC pellet reactor process. Following numerous stages of testing and design with Royal HaskoningDHV, CE successfully built the pilot plant system, as well as a smaller system used for rapid navigational testing. Work with Royal HaskoningDHV continues in our efforts to deploy an industrial-scale system for our first commercial plant.
The third step in CE’s DAC process involves a circulating fluid bed calciner which acts like a kiln to heat up the calcium carbonate pellets so they break apart, releasing the CO2 as a gas and leaving behind calcium oxide. Our calciner design has been developed in collaboration with TechnipFMC, a leading provider of fluid bed systems. Through all stages of calciner development we worked closely with TechnipFMC’s DorrOliver Fluosolids® Systems Division, from initial design through laboratory testing, development of CE’s pilot plant calciner, as well as design of our commercial-scale calciner.
Our AIR TO FUELS™ technology enables synthesis of clean transportation fuels, including gasoline, diesel, and Jet-A, using atmospheric CO2 and hydrogen split from water, and powered by clean electricity. Our successful demonstration of this technology at our pilot plant was enabled through a partnership with Greyrock Energy, whose gas-to-liquids platform has been integrated into our process to provide the fuel synthesis step.