Fuel from Air? – capture CO₂

In this post:
Carbon Engineering
Direct Air Capture of CO₂  (DAC),
How can DAC units be used?
more about Direct Air Capture of CO₂ 

capture CO₂
Squamish, B.C., Canada

In 2015, Carbon Engineering (CE) constructed an end-to-end DAC pilot plant in Squamish, B.C., Canada. We continue to design the Pilot scale equipment – including our air contactor, pellet reactor, slaker, and oxy-fired calciner – with our vendors and partners to copy the performance of commercial-scale modules. We still operate this capture CO₂ pilot for more testing. When running, the plant captures and purifies roughly 1 ton of CO₂ per day. We are beginning to scale-up ……….


Intellectual property (IP) is crucial to CE’s growth strategy. All IP is owned by CE and is managed by Fish and Richardson, a leading global IP firm.

Carbon Engineering (CE) technologies capture CO₂ direct from the atmosphere. Then we use that CO₂ to blend clean transportation fuels to replace crude oil. CE’s business goal is to provide the technology and equipment to manufacture global-scale quantities of clean fuel from air.

Direct Air Capture of CO₂  (DAC)

Carbon Engineering (CE)’s technology, now proven, can scale up to capture 1,000,000 tonnes of CO₂ per year at each commercial-scale facility.  That quantity of CO₂ is the same as the annual emissions of 250,000 average cars.

CE’s direct air capture (DAC) removes CO₂ from air, much the same as trees and vegetation do.  This is biomimicry in action.   How do plants do it?

The DAC equipment will remove hundreds of times more CO₂ from the air than trees; from the same area of land.  It can provide the CO₂ in a pure form ready for permanent storage or use in the manufacture of fuel.

How can DAC units be used?

We can build individual DAC plants in any country and in different climates. We can build them to capture one million tons of CO2 per year. At this large scale, our technology will be able to achieve costs of $100-150 USD per ton of CO₂ captured, purified, and compressed to 150 bar.

New investors have scrutinized Carbon Engineering’s calculations to an exhaustive degree and they agree with the economics of the venture. It is worth putting as much as $60 million in this venture.

Calcium Carbonate Pellets

CE uses a “pellet reactor” to convert the extracted carbonate solution into small pellets of calcium carbonate. This calcium carbonate, once dried, is then processed into fuel in further steps.

CE’s DAC plants, and the resulting captured CO2, offer a range of opportunities.  Among them:

  • The CO2 captured from DAC plants can be stored underground to reduce CO2 emissions and the effects of global climate change. This would make the company eligible for credits including California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) credits.
  • The CO2 produced by a DAC plant can produce ultra-low carbon intensity transportation fuels. These fuels can be at affordable prices using CE’s AIR TO FUELS™ technology. They are “drop-in compatible” with today’s engines. They reduce emissions for the transportation sector by displacing fossil fuels.

The world currently burns about 100 million barrels of oil a day. Even with the changes caused by the transition to electric vehicles, there should still be something like 50 million barrels of fuel/day in 2050. Steve Oldham, Carbon Engineering’s chief executive, added that direct-air-capture synthetic fuels have an advantage over traditional fossil fuels: They won’t have to spend a dime on exploration.

2:30 min A clear description of the processes