Air-to-Fuels Development, Feasibility, and pre-FEED Study for First Commercial-Scale Demonstration Plant

Lead Proponent:   Carbon Engineering Ltd.
Location:  Squamish, BC
CEI Contribution: $ 1.5 M
Project Total: $ 4.2 M
Strategic Area:  Carbon Capture, Use and Storage

Project Objectives:

Carbon Engineering (CE) has developed a technology to scrub carbon dioxide directly from atmospheric air, and to use this carbon dioxide, as well as water and renewable electricity, to directly synthesize liquid fuels such as gasoline, diesel, or jet. This overall approach is called “Air to Fuels”. CE has now demonstrated its direct air capture system with an end-to-end pilot in Squamish, B.C. and is in the process of integrating the balance of equipment required for full air to fuels.

The objective of this project is to finalise late-stage development and feasibility work on air to fuels, including a set of commercial validation activities and pilot operations, and to conduct plant engineering for a commercial-scale demonstration plant that will capture atmospheric carbon dioxide and convert it into clean burning synthetic fuels with ultra low life-cycle carbon intensity.

Expected Results:

Building on a successfully demonstrated prototype pilot that can capture 1 tonne of atmospheric carbon dioxide per day, a hydrogen production and fuel synthesis platform will be integrated into this prototype, which will form an “air to fuels” prototype system. This system will be able to produce roughly 1 bbl/day of synthetic liquid transportation fuels, a mixture of gasoline and diesel in this case, using only captured atmospheric carbon dioxide, water, and clean electricity as inputs. This 1 bbl/day system is important for optimizing the integration of the direct air capture, hydrogen production, and fuel synthesis elements of the system. Further, real world performance data from this pilot system will then be used for design and engineering of future commercial-scale facilities.

Carbon Engineering’s air to fuels technology can play a significant role in enabling emission reductions in Canadian transportation, and can contribute to a low-carbon economy, while reusing existing fueling infrastructure and engines. By combining atmospheric carbon dioxide with renewably produced hydrogen, CE’s technology can scale-up to deliver global-scale quantities of synthetic fuels that have life-cycle carbon intensities lower than 30 g-CO2e/MJ (whereas typical fossil fuels are 95 g-CO2e/MJ), and can one day be fully carbon neutral. This represents an opportunity for significant emissions reductions in the transportation sector by enabling a new use of captured atmospheric carbon dioxide through fuel switching to synthetic fuels.

Project Partners:

Greyrock Energy Inc.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
University of British Columbia, Clean Energy Research Centre

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