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BHP to invest $6 million in Direct Air Capture company

05/03/2019
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Global mining giant BHP is to invest $6 million in Carbon Engineering (CE), a pioneer in the use of an emission reduction technology known as Direct Air Capture, which has the potential to deliver large-scale ‘negative emissions’ by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Carbon Engineering's current Direct Air Capture demonstration system in Canada.
(Carbon Engineering’s current Direct Air Capture demonstration system in Canada. Image via Carbon Engineering).

We’ve previously covered Carbon Engineering here on EngineeringPro, following the company’s claims that its Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology could capture a ton of CO2 from the atmosphere for less than $1,000USD.

DAC is a technology that captures CO2 from atmospheric air, and provides it in a purified form for use or storage. Carbon Engineering’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.

BHP’s investment comes at time when mining companies are increasingly focused on reducing their environmental impact. Last week saw Glencore placing a cap on its future coal production to reduce the company’s carbon footprint.

“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 (IPCC) stated in late 2018, if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change, technologies that capture and remove CO2 will be required. Direct Air Capture 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,” says Fiona Wild, BHP’s Vice President, Sustainability and Climate Change.
Another view of Carbon Engineering's Direct Air Capture demonstration system. Shown on the right is the air contactor. To the left is the calciner.
(Another view of Carbon Engineering’s Direct Air Capture demonstration system. Shown on the right is the air contactor. To the left is the calciner. Image via Carbon Engineering).

In a statement, Dr Wild also said that ‘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 program for reducing atmospheric emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. 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,” said Dr Wild.

The investment will see BHP obtain a share of Carbon Engineering Ltd.

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BHP to invest $6 million in Direct Air Capture company - Time to read 3 min
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