Carbon Engineering (CE) was founded in Calgary, Canada, by Harvard Professor David Keith. An avid mountaineer, passionate Arctic explorer, and son of a wildlife biologist; with a cross-disciplinary background in experimental physics, hardware engineering, and public policy, David’s views on climate change came from a vast range of experiences and perspectives.
David and others started to investigate Direct Air Capture, as an additional tool to emissions reductions, due to the growing awareness that the world would not only need to bring emissions to zero, but would also need to remove carbon back from the atmosphere. With support from a team of academic scientists, business leaders, and strategic investors, David founded CE to take a promising concept into real-world, hardware-driven engineering and design.
Following years of prototyping and technology research and development, in 2015 CE moved to Squamish, British Columbia, to build an operational pilot plant. We first captured CO2 from the air in 2015, and produced our first batch of synthetic fuel in 2017.
In partnership with 1PointFive, a development company formed by Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, we are jointly engineering the first large-scale, commercial Direct Air Capture facility to utilize CE’s technology. Located in the Permian Basin, U.S., this facility is expected to capture one million tons of CO2 from the air annually when complete, so it can be permanently and safely stored deep underground in geological formations.
In the UK, in partnership with Storegga, engineering has begun on a DAC facility that is targeted for North-East Scotland and is being designed to permanently remove between 500,000 and one million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere annually.
In parallel, CE is progressing opportunities for further Direct Air Capture and AIR TO FUELSTM plants in several markets around the world. We are ready to partner with companies, countries, and organizations worldwide to provide a variety of solutions to help drive down emissions and achieve vitally important climate targets.
Effective and supportive policies play a key role in enabling climate-relevant volumes of DAC globally. The past several years has seen major progress in the number of countries and markets implementing climate policy, and in the types of support for DAC and low carbon fuels. DAC is viable in leading jurisdictions today, and policy makers globally are seeking to replicate and expand successful policy frameworks, further strengthening the overall market.
California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard has established a strong precedent in its approach to DAC-to-sequestration projects. In California, DAC projects anywhere in the world that permanently store atmospheric CO2 underground can generate credits for the decarbonization of California’s transportation sector. This policy, in combination with the U.S.’s Section 45Q, which awards a tax credit for each metric ton of CO2 removed and sequestered, has in part supported CE’s commercialization in the US.
We are now seeing additional jurisdictions designing similar policy mechanisms and evaluating others, including sustainable aviation fuels mandates and carbon removal contracts. The trend is clear: leading markets have recognized the value that DAC and clean fuels can play in our efforts to get to net zero and are working to incorporate them as fast as possible. As these leading policies, and more to follow, spread and tighten around the world, there is increasing potential for widespread global deployment of DAC.
In 2015, Carbon Engineering constructed an end-to-end Direct Air Capture pilot plant. Pilot scale equipment for all of the four core modules within our carbon removal technology – the air contactor, pellet reactor, slaker, and oxy-fired calciner – was designed with our vendors and partners to accurately replicate the performance of commercial-scale modules.
In 2017, Carbon Engineering incorporated fuel synthesis capability into the Direct Air Capture pilot plant, creating an AIR TO FUELSTM pilot plant based entirely on industrially-scalable technologies. This allowed us to produce liquid fuels on site from CO2 captured from the air, and enabled continued testing and refining of the fuel synthesis process.
In 2021, CE built a Direct Air Capture Innovation Centre concurrently with the design and engineering work for the first commercial plants to utilize our technology. This facility will be CE’s permanent R&D and advanced development platform where the team will continue to optimize and innovate our technologies. Using data from our pilot plant and Innovation Centre, and in partnership with 1PointFive, CE is currently completing the engineering design for full-scale commercial facilities.
The CE business model is to license our technology to local plant development partners around the world to enable rapid and widespread deployment of DAC technology. In 2022, we expect construction to begin on the first large-scale commercial plant to utilize our technology. It is being developed in partnership with 1PointFive and will be located in the Permian Basin, U.S. It is expected to capture one million tons of carbon dioxide from the air annually when complete.
CE is also progressing commercial facilities in other key markets, and we envision delivering further Direct Air Capture and AIR TO FUELSTM plants in several locations in Canada, the UK, US, and Europe.
We envision deploying Direct Air Capture and AIR TO FUELSTM facilities in leading markets with the highest corporate and government targets, and the strongest policies that favour permanent sequestration of atmospheric CO2 and clean fuels such as CE’s. As global markets move to cut emissions and reduce dependence on fossil fuels, we see an immense opportunity to deploy Direct Air Capture and AIR TO FUELSTM facilities around the world to deliver clean fuels for transportation, and help drive emissions to zero through permanent carbon removal.
By 2050, we believe Direct Air Capture facilities have the potential to be playing a mainstream and significant role in the global effort to achieve net zero emissions and restore safe levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.