The provincial government is providing $435,000 to Carbon Engineering Ltd. to support an engineering study that will assess the potential and feasibility of using carbon dioxide (CO₂) “scrubbed” out of the air at its direct-air capture demonstration plant in Squamish to produce synthetic diesel or gasoline fuel.
Direct-air capture is an industrial process that captures or “scrubs” CO₂ directly from ambient air, helping to manage global atmospheric CO₂ emissions.
Carbon Engineering has fabricated and installed all the equipment required to capture CO₂ from the air at its pre-commercial demonstration plant in Squamish. The plant is now fully commissioned and can continuously remove and purify one to two tonnes of CO₂ per day.
One of the possible uses of the captured CO₂ is the production of liquid transportation fuels. In this early demonstration, electricity would be used to capture CO₂ directly from the air, and to split water and manufacture hydrogen. The two components would then be reacted to yield diesel or gasoline. When this synthetic fuel is burned in a car, truck or bus it would simply return the CO₂ back to the atmosphere, powering transportation in a way that is fully carbon-neutral.
Carbon Engineering plans to leverage its existing direct-air capture plant in Squamish by adding fuel synthesis hardware and producing synthetic diesel or gasoline. BC Transit has expressed interest in working with Carbon Engineering to test the synthetic diesel fuel in its Squamish bus fleet.
The engineering study will assess the viability and establish the business case for using atmospheric CO₂ captured at the Squamish plant to produce synthetic diesel and gasoline at commercial scale, including an evaluation of the CO₂, electricity and water requirements, demonstration plant configurations, equipment requirements and costs, a preliminary project budget, project plan and time-frame. The study is due by March 15, 2016.
The research will provide opportunities to expand collaboration on the synthetic fuels project between Carbon Engineering and the University of British Columbia’s Clean Energy Research Centre.
Funding to support the project comes from the province’s Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund. The ICE Fund is designed to support government’s energy and environmental priorities and advance British Columbia’s clean energy sector.
Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines –
“The production of synthetic diesel fuel using carbon dioxide ‘captured’ out of thin air is a technology that has tremendous potential to address greenhouse gas emissions, and attract leading-edge engineering and investment to British Columbia. We’re happy to be supporting Carbon Engineering’s synthetic fuels project as it takes the world’s largest air capture demonstration plant in Squamish to the next level.”
Jordan Sturdy, MLA, West Vancouver-Sea to Sky, parliamentary secretary for energy literacy and the environment for the minister of environment –
“Congratulations to Carbon Engineering and your partners as you commence operation of the Squamish direct-air capture demonstration plant, and best of luck as you launch into the next phase and assess the exciting possibilities associated with the expansion of the site to produce synthetic fuels. The project is creating investment and economic opportunity in Squamish and the Sea to Sky region.”
Adrian Corless, chief executive officer, Carbon Engineering Ltd. –
“We’re very excited to have funding support from the B.C. ICE Fund for our upcoming assessment of fuel synthesis. We think the concept of carbon neutral fuels made from atmospheric CO2 and renewable electricity is a powerful concept, and one that has both environmental and economic benefits to offer B.C., and more broadly, the world. We’re a global leader in direct-air capture and we have a great team to execute this work right here in B.C.”
Carbon Engineering Ltd and Direct Air Capture: http://carbonengineering.com/air-capture/
Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund: www.gov.bc.ca/innovativecleanenergyfund