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Expanding carbon tax brings opportunity for B.C.-based CO2 capture business

Last Updated Oct 24, 2018 at 5:41 am PDT

(Source: Maclean's)

A B.C.-based company stands to benefit from the federal government's carbon pricing policies

B.C. company that can remove CO2 from atmosphere, convert it into synthetic fuels stands to benefit from carbon policies

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As conservative politicians blast the Trudeau government’s carbon tax plan as a job killer, at least one B.C. company stands to benefit from broader carbon pricing policies.

Carbon Engineering‘s Direct Air Capture pilot project near Squamish can remove CO2 from the atmosphere and convert it into synthetic fuels.

Such carbon capture projects are a key feature of the most recent report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which warns of dire consequences if the Earth’s warming is not kept under 1.5 degrees.

“This report is, in a way, a giant endorsement of the work that we’re doing and highlights the need for it and the importance for it,” says Geoff Holmes, the company’s head of business development.

Carbon Engineering is now seeking investors with an eye towards entering the commercial marketplace. But those plans require markets wherein carbon is directly tied to dollars and cents.

Related video: Trudeau announces carbon tax rebate

“Of course doing CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) is more expensive than using the atmosphere as a waste dump, so that means it’s cost prohibitive. The big caveat to that is that we do have market leaders… we have early markets that do have pricing that supports our business model,” Holmes says.

Carbon Engineering does has a leg up on other CCS projects in that it can sell a low-emissions fuel with the CO2 it captures, but even that requires market incentives for such fuel.

Holmes laments how politicized the issue of carbon pricing has become, saying economic authorities on both sides of the political spectrum have found it can be an effective tool.

“It internalizes the cost of emitting carbon into the atmosphere to business, and businesses are excellent at managing costs and optimizing the way they conduct themselves to maximize earnings and profits.”

Despite the potential scalability of Direct Air Capture technology, Holmes says it’s best used as part of a broader climate change strategy rather than a sole solution to the climate problem.