Billionaires back Canadian company to build first ‘negative emissions’ plant


The company has also added Melbourne-based mining, metals and petroleum giant BHP Group Plc. to its list of shareholders, which already boasts the venture capital arms of U.S.-based oil majors Chevron Corp. and Occidental Petroleum Corp.

Oldham wouldn’t say whether Carbon Engineering’s industrial investors are looking to deploy the technology at their own operations, just that industrial emitters could use its system to offset their carbon at a price under US$100 per tonne.

“It’s a reasonable deduction for anybody to say those companies that have invested in Carbon Engineering would also be interested in becoming the first customers,” he said, adding the company would announce the locations for its first commercial projects in the coming months.

We were able to bring some pretty big Silicon Valley venture capital to us

A commercial negative-emissions plant by Carbon Engineering would occupy 30 acres of land and scrub one megaton of CO2 from the atmosphere per year, which Oldham said is equivalent to planting 40 million trees.

Carbon Engineering has also developed another process it calls “air to fuels” which uses the carbon it captures and turns it into fuels that can power existing cars and trucks.

If the two technologies are used together, the company believes it can create a “closed loop” of carbon emissions, where the carbon that is emitted from the “air to fuels” process is the same carbon that had already been collected.

This process is specifically targeted at reducing emissions in the transportation sector, one of five industries Gates identified as areas where he’s investing.

In October, Gates, the richest person in the world, announced he would be investing in “breakthrough” technologies targeted at the electricity, agriculture, manufacturing, transportation and building sector to reduce emissions.

He also announced his involvement in a group called Breakthrough Energy Ventures to fund companies and technologies that would reduce carbon in each of those five industries, alongside billionaires like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Alibaba founder Jack Ma, Bloomberg founder Michael Bloomberg, Virgin founder Richard Branson and Saudi billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal.

The BEV fund is not listed as an investor in Carbon Engineering.

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