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Catalyzing Carbon Dioxide Removal at Scale

Updated: 14 hours ago

Study analyzes the technology and economic readiness of carbon dioxide removal opportunities to achieve 2050 net-zero objectives

Vancouver, B.C. - February 14, 2024 - The B.C. Centre for Innovation and Clean Energy (CICE) has released a techno-economic analysis of pathways to remove carbon dioxide from our atmosphere at a multi-gigatonne scale. The “Catalyzing Carbon Dioxide Removal at Scale” report confirms that alongside decarbonization and emissions reduction efforts, big impact strategies for carbon removal are needed to meet 2050 net-zero targets and remain in line with a 1.5°C future.

Produced in collaboration with Innovative Breakthrough Energy Technologies (IBET Climate), Catalyzing Carbon Dioxide Removal at Scale uncovers promising economic opportunities and new areas for carbon removal innovation, spanning forest management and wildfire prevention, direct ocean capture and alkalinity enhancement, and direct air capture and carbon mineralization.

“The need for large scale carbon removal is undeniable worldwide,” said Ron Dizy, Chief Executive Officer at IBET Climate. “For Canada, this is exacerbated by our devastating 2023 wildfires, which emitted an estimated 2.3 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide last year - over three times our entire economy’s emissions. We are pleased to produce a timely report that evaluates viable pathways to scaling CDR. This work supports IBET Climate’s mission to find and develop the technologies, products, and teams to build world class companies that will address at least 1% of the world’s carbon emissions at scale.”

Catalyzing Carbon Dioxide Removal at Scale serves as a foundational document for innovators, industry leaders, investors, academia, policy makers, and Indigenous rights holders seeking to understand:

  • Why carbon dioxide removal (CDR) is essential, and what volume of removal is needed to achieve net-zero targets.

  • The requirements, challenges, and technology gaps associated with leading natural and engineered CDR approaches.

  • The most efficient and effective innovation pathways to achieve gigatonne-scale CDR, considering variables such as cost, resources, land, and energy considerations.

“For CICE, research such as the Catalyzing Carbon Dioxide Removal at Scale report underpins our investment thesis and shapes our future calls for innovation,” said Todd Sayers, Chief Operating Officer at CICE. “By leveraging the knowledge gathered through a combination of deep-dive reports, community engagement, and world-class subject matter experts, CICE uniquely validates future pathways to net-negative emissions, helping us to confidently lead investment and catalyze adoption of disruptive, carbon removal innovation where lack of traditional revenue metrics can be a barrier.”

Carbon dioxide removal is the process of removing carbon dioxide from our atmosphere and depositing that carbon into different environmental reservoirs: our biosphere (all plants, trees, and living things), our hydrosphere (oceans, lakes, and rivers), or returning it back to our lithosphere (soil and rock).

Key findings of the Catalyzing Carbon Dioxide Removal at Scale report include:

  • There is no pathway to reaching net-zero emissions or limited global warming targets without the ability to scale carbon removal to multi-gigatonne levels.

  • A minimum of 10 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide removal per year is needed by 2025. Much more will be required if the world exceeds the 1.5 degree warming target for limiting the effects of climate change.

  • CDR approaches will require massive and rapid scaling to remove 10 gigatonnes of CO2 per year. Putting this amount into perspective, it is greater than all the coal mined each year (8 gigatonnes), or more than the global production of oil (4 gigatonnes) and gas (3 gigatonnes) combined.

  • Land-based approaches are the most mature CDR options and show the nearest potential for near-term scaling - mainly through forests. These approaches involve sequestering CO2 in living biomass, converting it to bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, or converting the carbon in biomass to biochar and bioliquids through pyrolysis.

  • Of all the approaches studied, Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement (OAE) was estimated to have the highest potential for a multi-gigatonne scale of carbon removal. This stands out as a primary method for achieving multi-gigatonne CO2 removal in British Columbia, leveraging the province’s vast coastline, ocean science expertise and research capacity.

  • A 40% reduction in wildfires emissions in B.C. would prevent over 140 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in a year like 2023, and at least 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year based on the average emissions from wildfires over the past 10 years.

  • Nature-based approaches show the lowest cost, with estimate ranges below $100 per tonne of CO2, with lower bounds of $10-$20 per tonne in some cases. For engineered CDR approaches at the gigatonne scale, several were estimated to have cost projections at, or approaching, $100.

For more information, attend the upcoming “Catalyzing Carbon Removal at Scale: Key Findings Unveiled” webinar on Wednesday March 6th, 2024, at 10am PDT. >> REGISTER HERE




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