Whether you think CO2 driven climate change is a “climate emergency” or a complete crock, the fact is that there is a lot of money looking for practical solutions to the problem of CO2. A lot of that money has gone into things like solar and wind power which, proponents say, will reduce emissions over time by generating electricity without burning fossil fuels. But what about the CO2 which has already been emitted? While climate scientists have been steadily revising temperature sensitivity estimates downward, there is a terrific political momentum behind the idea that CO2 and temperature are linked and that, despite a lack of scientific evidence, that link causes everything from sea level rise to rain “events”.
The idea of removing CO2 from the atmosphere and sequestering it is not at all new. The chemistry is well understood but the economics have never made much sense. Which is why a currently private company in Squamish British Columbia is attracting investor (Bill Gates, Chevron, BHP, and Occidental) and media attention. Early stage Venture Capital firms are participating.
Most importantly, Occidental Petroleum is putting its money to work with a facility designed to capture 500 kilotonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) directly from the atmosphere each year, which would be used in Occidental’s enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operations and subsequently stored underground permanently. The plant would be located in the Permian Basin.
Canada’s Federal Government has come on board. Today, June 25, the government announced a $25-million investment in Carbon Engineering. This funding will be directed to Carbon Engineering’s $114.6-million project will create a research and development facility and support the design and engineering of an industrial-scale commercial plant. The project will pave the way for world-class research, position Canada as a global leader in the area of clean technology and contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.
Carbon Engineering is still a private company but there is every chance that there will be a liquidity event in the future which will allow the public to invest along with Bill Gates in a promising technology for the future.