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Chevron and Occidental invest to accelerate Carbon Engineering CO2-capture commercialization

By Mary Page Bailey |

Carbon Engineering Ltd. (CE; Squamish, B.C., Canada; http://carbonengineering.com/) has received equity investment from two global energy companies: Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, LLC (OLCV), a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum Corp.(Houston; www.oxy.com); and Chevron Technology Ventures (CTV), the venture capital arm of Chevron Corp. (San Ramon, Calif; www.chevron.com). These investments will accelerate the commercialization of CE’s Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology that removes carbon dioxide (CO2) directly from the air.

This announcement highlights the first significant collaboration between a DAC developer and the energy industry, with two global energy leaders investing in DAC as a mechanism to reduce emissions from transportation and enable permanent capture of existing atmospheric CO2 that can be utilized both in oil production and in direct synthesis of fuels.

“CE’s relationships with Occidental and Chevron, and these new investments, will allow us to accelerate the deployment of our DAC and AIR TO FUELS™ technologies,” said Steve Oldham, CEO of CE. “With an increasing focus worldwide on the need for aggressive emissions reductions, CE’s technology can play a major role, and energy industry leaders like Occidental and Chevron will greatly accelerate commercialization of CE’s technology.”

CE has been developing DAC technology since 2009 and capturing CO2 from the atmosphere at a pilot plant in Squamish, B.C. since 2015. The DAC plants are location-independent and can be co-located with an oilfield operation for enhanced oil recovery (EOR). Occidental Petroleum is the industry leader in using CO2 to enable low-cost EOR, which can increase oil recovery by 10 to 20 per cent in the fields where it is employed, while at the same time permanently sequestering the CO2 in the reservoir. Using atmospheric CO2 for oil recovery in this way greatly reduces the net addition of CO2 to the atmosphere from oil production and fuel use. It opens a pathway to producing fully carbon-neutral or even net-negative fuels.

“OLCV is dedicated to advancing innovative low-carbon technology solutions that enhance Occidental’s business both for today and tomorrow,” said Occidental Petroleum’s Senior Vice President, Operations Support, Richard Jackson. “Carbon Engineering’s direct air capture technology has the unique capability to capture and provide large volumes of atmospheric CO2. This capability complements Occidental’s enhanced oil recovery business and provides further synergies by enabling large-scale CO2 utilization and sequestration.”

CE’s complementary AIR TO FUELS process – which combines CO2 from DAC with clean hydrogen from water electrolysis – provides a second pathway for reducing transportation emissions by synthesizing ultra-low carbon intensity liquid fuels. CE’s AIR TO FUELS products are fully compatible with existing cars, trucks, ships and planes, allowing existing vehicles to dramatically reduce their carbon emissions without modification.

“At the core of what we do is develop the energy that powers the world forward, which means providing affordable and reliable energy while reducing carbon emissions,” said Barbara J. Burger, President of Chevron Technology Ventures. “Novel pathways such as through CE’s AIR TO FUELS technology represent a prime target area for our investment efforts that look to cut greenhouse gases through new low carbon value chains.” 

This announcement coincides with the arrival of market conditions that enable the widespread commercialization of DAC and AIR TO FUELS technologies.

“It is a very important time for the air capture field right now,” said Steve Oldham, CEO of CE. “We’re seeing leading jurisdictions, like California and British Columbia, creating markets for low carbon fuels and technologies like DAC, through effective climate policy. These efficient market-based regulations, and action from energy industry leaders like Occidental and Chevron, show the power of policy in driving innovation and achieving emissions reductions while delivering reliable and affordable energy.”

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