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B.C. government puts $2M toward carbon capture fuel plant at Merritt

Upper Nicola Band partners in hydrogen fuel conversion plant
Carbon Engineering’s pilot project at Squamish B.C. began in 2018, extracting carbon dioxide from air to convert to liquid fuel. Huron Clean Energy is building a similar facility with the Upper Nicola Band at Merritt B.C. (Carbon Engineering photo)

B.C.’s second atmospheric carbon dioxide capture facility intends to use the greenhouse gas to produce hydrogen fuels at a plant near Merritt.

Energy Minister Bruce Ralston and Upper Nicola Band Chief Harvey McLeod announced the project Thursday, with $2 million from the province’s clean energy fund for engineering and design. Carbon Engineering, which operates a CO2 capture pilot project at Squamish, is a partner in the venture with Huron Clean Energy, a new company established in 2019 to develop “air to fuels” plants.

Ralston said if the project begins construction in 2022, it could be pulling carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and using it with clean electricity to produce liquid fuel by 2025.

“That fuel can then be used as diesel, marine and aviation fuels,” Ralston said. “This project proves that the low-carbon economy doesn’t have to be based just in the Lower Mainland.”

McLeod said the project is a significant economic opportunity for the community. If financed and built, it would provide 5,000 construction jobs and more than 300 operating jobs, Ralston said. The project qualifies for a new low-carbon innovation rate for B.C. Hydro electricity, which is available industries that advance B.C.’s hydrogen strategy.

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Huron has an equity partnership and land-lease arrangement with the Upper Nicola Band, which will receive a substantial part of the equity interest in the project as consideration for the land lease and other services, the energy ministry said in a statement. “Huron has entered into a partnership with Oxy Low Carbon Ventures and also has an exclusive licensing arrangement for Canada with Carbon Engineering, a B.C.-based company leading the world in ‘negative emissions technology’ that removes carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere through direct air capture.”


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