Carbon Engineering in regional carbon capture talks

11 April 2023

 

Canada-based clean energy company Carbon Engineering is in talks for carbon capture projects in the Middle East, according to its vice-president for Europe and the Middle East, Amy Ruddock.

“The Middle East makes a lot of sense for us,” she told MEED in an interview. “There’s a lot of storage and a lot of skill sets. The overlap with the oil and gas industry is immense.”

Carbon Engineering is focused on the commercialisation of so-called direct air capture technology that captures carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere.

The Canadian company is yet to partner with any companies in the Middle East, but Ruddock says the region is a promising location to deploy the direct air capture technologies that it has been developing.

Ruddock says the company is in talks with several potential partners in the region.

“We have a lot of conversations on the go,” she said. “I’m optimistic about our opportunities. We’re having big conversations.”

She added: “The people who will develop the storage will likely be oil and gas companies who have decades of experience.”

She added: “Our existing partners … have been storing carbon underground for decades in enhanced oil recovery and now they are using that expertise to look at whether it can be stored in saline aquifers.”

The Middle East makes sense for us. There’s a lot of storage and a lot of skill sets. The overlap with the oil and gas industry is immense

Amy Ruddock, Carbon Engineering

Carbon Engineering has a global agreement with 1PointFive, a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum focused on carbon capture, utilisation and sequestration (CCUS).

“When we go to market, we are effectively looking for partners for 1PointFive to deploy the technology,” said Ruddock.

“In the Middle East, these companies are likely to be a national oil company or maybe renewable company. Masdar, for example, would be a good partner for us, but so would Adnoc. Both have the complementary skill sets that we are looking for.

“We are expecting that Cop28 will be momentum driving [for carbon capture technology adoption], not just for the UAE, but across the region.”

Texas plant

In 2022, construction began for the first large-scale commercial facility to use Carbon Engineering’s technology in the US.

Located in Texas and being deployed by 1PointFive, the plant is expected to capture up to 500,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, with the capability to scale up to one million tonnes a year.

Once fully operational, it will be the largest in the world – expected to surpass existing direct air capture facilities by a factor of a hundred.

Unlike capturing emissions from industrial flue stacks, the direct air capture technology licensed by Carbon Engineering removes carbon dioxide directly out of the atmosphere.

Aviation emissions

It is hoped that this technology will go some way to counteracting carbon dioxide emissions that are hard to capture at the source, such as emissions from aviation.

In November last year, Carbon Engineering received investments from Airbus and Air Canada to help fund the development of its carbon capture technologies.

In a statement, Carbon Engineering said the investment was worth “millions”, but the exact value was not disclosed.

Adnoc initiatives

On 28 March, Adnoc announced that it would deploy a direct air capture unit to extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and install solar panels to power the operation.

Adnoc has already started drilling work in the UAE emirate of Fujairah as part of its pilot project to convert atmospheric carbon dioxide into rock formations.

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Wil Crisp
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