Carbon Engineering closes US$68m round, eyes commercialization ramp-up

A B.C. company that has developed a way to capture carbon in the atmosphere is cleaning up in its own right with the close of a US$68-million equity financing round.

Squamish-based Carbon Engineering says the round’s close, announced March 21, marks the largest private investment in any direct air capture company to date.

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“We have the capability to remove very large amounts of CO2 [carbon dioxide] from the atmosphere. It’s just a question of deciding whether we as a general public want to do something about it. I think we offer real hope that climate change can be fixed,” CEO Steve Oldham told Business in Vancouver.

Investors in the company include Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates, Chevron Technology Ventures and Murray Edwards, executive chairman of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., among others.

“The investment by all of these very credible partners demonstrates that this is a technology that works, is proven, is scalable, available and that makes economic sense,” Oldham said.

He added that the money raised will help the company enhance its test plant in Squamish, boost its headcount to about 80 workers (it had 50 workers at the beginning of 2019) and ramp up plans for commercial deployment of industrial plants.

Oldham said the company is in the midst of the design stages for “several” of the first commercial plants, adding he expects Carbon Engineering to announce where the first plants will be built sometime later this year.

Oldham said the company is focused on three market segments: jurisdictions that wish to capture carbon to battle climate change; enhanced oil recovery to deliver carbon-neutral or carbon-negative crude; and the creation of synthetic liquid fuel products by combining hydrogen with Carbon Engineering’s captured carbon.

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