BHP invests in innovative carbon capture, use and storage company

BHP has made a $6 million equity investment into Carbon Engineering Ltd (CE), a Canada-based company leading the development of Direct Air Capture (DAC), a technology with the potential to deliver large-scale negative emissions by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The investment will see BHP obtain a share of the company.

BHP’s Vice President, Sustainability and Climate Change, Fiona Wild, said: “BHP is committed to accelerating the global response to climate change by investing in emerging technologies that have the potential to lead to material reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

“As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated in late 2018, if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change, technologies that capture and remove CO2 will be required. DAC offers flexibility and potential, and could play a vital role in reducing future global emissions. We hope that this investment can accelerate the development and adoption of this technology.”

DAC is a technology that captures CO2 from atmospheric air and provides it in a purified form for use or storage, according to CE. The company’s DAC technology does this in a closed loop where the only major inputs are water and energy, and the output is a stream of pure, compressed CO2.

This captured, compressed CO2 then offers a range of opportunities to create products and environmental benefits, including production of clean-burning liquid fuels with ultra-low carbon intensity, CE said.

CE’s CEO, Steve Oldham, said: “At CE we’re focused on commercialising technologies that can play a critical role in addressing climate change. As we work to deploy our technologies at large scale around the world, we’re thrilled to welcome investment from industry-leading companies like BHP.”

He said the company’s global reach and experience in executing complex projects, as well as its strategic commitment to reducing emissions, made them an ideal partner to help accelerate the commercialisation and use of CE’s technologies.

“We’re looking forward to working with BHP and our other partners as we progress the development of DAC and AIR TO FUELS™ facilities, and ultimately achieve our goal of delivering affordable, carbon-neutral fuels and significant emissions reductions around the globe,” he said.

Wild said the investment in CE complements BHP’s existing efforts to accelerate the development of carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) at point sources of CO2 emissions, such as in steel making and power generation. “We have achieved progress in CCUS through partnerships, including with the International CCS Knowledge Centre in Canada and with Peking University. We also support REDD+, the UN programme for reducing atmospheric emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.”

She concluded: “Government support for technologies that capture carbon has been important. However mobilising private capital and supporting market mechanisms to finance technologies that address global emissions will be critical if we are to build a net-zero emissions economy. This investment is a good example of the role that the private sector can play in bringing such technologies to market.”

CE is privately owned and funded by investment or commitments from private investors – including Bill Gates, Murray Edwards, Oxy Low Carbon Ventures LLC, Chevron Technology Ventures, and BHP – and government agencies. To date, CE has led projects funded by Sustainable Development Technologies Canada, British Columbia Innovative Clean Energy Fund, Climate Change and Emissions Management Corp, Industrial Research Assistantship Program, and the US Department of Energy.