What is carbon engineering

Carbon Engineering: $ 68 million for negative emissions

Canadian cleantech company wants to filter CO2 from the air and store it underground or convert it into fuel

Negative emissions is a terrible term in German. This means the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere with subsequent underground storage. With Global Thermostat, Climeworks or Carbon Engineering, a handful of companies are working to make these negative emissions possible. The Canadians have now completed the largest round of funding in the sector to date.

Direct Air Capture is a technology that separates CO2 from the air and makes it available in a purified form for use or storage. Carbon Engineering's DAC technology does this in a closed circuit that uses water and energy. The output is a stream of pure, compressed CO2. This CO2 can then be used, for example, to produce fuels. Or negative emissions, in which the CO2 is safely stored underground.

Carbon Engineering's funding round includes $ 68 million in funding. It is the largest investment in technology called Direct Air Capture, which is intended to filter CO2 directly from the ambient air. According to media reports, Canadian billionaire Peter Thomson is one of the investors with Thomvest Asset Management. Others apparently come from Silicon Valley. Microsoft founder Bill Gates had also invested in Carbon Engineering in previous financing rounds.

In the recent past, Carbon Engineering has built a large-scale demonstration plant, with which it was also possible to provide evidence that the filtered CO2 can be converted directly into electricity-based fuels. The company claims that its direct air capture technology can capture CO2 for US $ 100 per ton and make it available to the markets. A price that seemed completely unthinkable a few years ago.

With the demo system, the cleantech company is now ready for the market and wants to use the fresh capital to build its first commercial direct air capture system. The financing specifically enables the expansion of the CE pilot plant in Squamish, British Columbia, and the planning of the first commercial plants. These large-scale DAC systems can capture up to one million tons of CO2 from the air every year.

Carbon Engineering Investors:

  • Bill Gates
  • Murray Edwards
  • BHP
  • Chevron Technology Ventures
  • Oxy Low Carbon Ventures
  • LLC, Bethel Lands Corporation Ltd
  • Carbon Order
  • First Round Capital
  • Lowercase Capital
  • Rusheen Capital Management
  • LLC,
  • Starlight Ventures,
  • Thomvest Asset Management (a subsidiary of Peter J. Thomson) who
  • Benjamin Family, the
  • Hodgkinson Family and the
  • Hutchison Family.
  • In addition, the entire board, management and many employees of CE personally invested in the company during this round.

Plant trees or negative emissions?

One often reads that instead of technologies like these for generating negative emissions, it would be better to plant trees. Of course, it is never wrong to plant trees, but to achieve the necessary effects to remove millions and millions of CO2 from the atmosphere, there is simply not enough space or there would be great competition with food production. Therefore, technologies like that of Carbon Engineering are a suitable way:

A commercial facility that requires 30 hectares of land can remove one megaton of CO2 from the atmosphere per year. This is equivalent to planting 40 million trees - which, however, release most of the CO2 again through fire or their normal life cycle.

The aim of these technologies from Carbon Engineering, Global Thermostat or Climeworks should be to remove one gigatonne of CO2 from the atmosphere by 2050 and store it underground. With the CarbFix project, a promising test is running in Iceland in which CO2 extracted from the air is liquefied and pumped into mineral-rich basalt rock. The advantage: there it solidifies sustainably due to a chemical reaction.