Our Story

Where We're From

CE was founded in 2009 with a clear mission – to develop and commercialize a technology that captures CO2 directly out of the atmosphere at megaton-scale.

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. It was from this new headquarters that our team fully demonstrated our Direct Air Capture and AIR TO FUELSTM technologies. We first captured CO2 from the air in 2015, and produced our first batch of synthetic fuel in 2017.

Where We're Going

Today, we’re engineering commercial Direct Air Capture facilities capable of capturing up to one million tons of CO2 annually, and are partnering with organizations globally to help tackle climate change.

In partnership with 1PointFive, a development company formed by Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, we are jointly engineering our first large-scale, commercial Direct Air Capture facility. Located in the Permian Basin, U.S., this facility is expected to capture up to one million tons of CO2 from the air each year, 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. It’s our goal to ignite a critical new Direct Air Capture industry that will work alongside renewable electricity, energy efficiency, and clean innovations in all sectors to fully tackle the climate challenge.

The Role of Policy

Our Direct Air Capture technology is entering leading markets today because of effective climate policies.

While policy support for Direct Air Capture, and emissions reductions overall, has been limited in the past, this is now starting to change. Leading jurisdictions like California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and the EU have implemented effective market-based policies to reduce greenhouse gases and promote clean energy.

The world will get there. The growth industries of coming decades will be dominated by those who can deliver energy, products, and services while minimizing environmental impacts. Collectively, these measures and regulations will create a market that supports and demands carbon removal technologies like Direct Air Capture.

One leading example is California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard that awards credits for ultra-low carbon transportation fuels, and for projects anywhere in the world that permanently store atmospheric CO2 underground. The availability of these types of effective market-based credit programs makes the economics of Direct Air Capture viable today. As these policies continue to spread and tighten around the globe, we see our carbon removal technology having significant potential for widespread global deployment.

Carbon Engineering Deployment Timeline
Pilot demonstration of Direct Air Capture

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.

Pilot demonstration of AIR TO FUELSTM technology

In 2017, Carbon Engineering incorporated fuel synthesis capability into the Direct Air Capture pilot plant, creating the world’s first AIR TO FUELSTM pilot 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.

Innovation Centre and first commercial plant design

Today, CE is commissioning a Direct Air Capture Innovation Centre concurrently with the design and engineering work for our first commercial plants. This centre will be CE’s permanent R&D and advanced development headquarters 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 that we aim to deploy globally.

First large-scale commercial plants

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 up to one million tons of carbon dioxide from the air every year so it can be permanently and measurably stored underground.

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.

Extensive plant rollout

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.

Global Operations

By 2050, we believe Direct Air Capture facilities will 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.

Meet the CE Team