SQUAMISH, B.C. — The Province of British Columbia is investing $2 million from the Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund to support the engineering and design of a plant in Merritt to capture carbon dioxide and convert it to clean fuels.
Squamish-based Huron Clean Energy is proposing to finance, design, build and operate a first-of-its-kind commercial plant, which will capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it into low-carbon synthetic fuels that can be used to replace standard diesel, marine and aviation fuels, through a process called Air-2-Fuels.
“The Merritt Electro Fuels Project advances made-in-B.C. technology to capture carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere and convert it into clean fuels. This innovative, world-leading project will support our economy’s shift away from fossil fuels while creating new jobs and opportunities for British Columbians,” provincial minister of energy, mines and low-carbon innovation Bruce Ralston said.
The Merritt plant will produce 103 million litres of low-carbon fuel per year with the required input of 250,000 tonnes of captured carbon, 315 megawatts of electricity and 35,200 tonnes of hydrogen for the fuel synthesis process, a government release said.
The Electro Fuels Project is intended to help meet the CleanBC goal of developing 650 million litres of new renewable fuel production capacity in B.C., the release said. 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 company has also entered into a partnership with Oxy Low Carbon Ventures and has an exclusive licensing arrangement for Canada with Carbon Engineering, a B.C.-based company that works with “negative emissions technology” to remove carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere through direct air capture.
“Our vision at Huron Clean Energy is to inspire a global shift toward preserving the planet, and we hope to realize this through the deployment of Carbon Engineering’s game-changing technology across Canada. This will be pure Canadian innovation. In co-operation with First Nations partners and Carbon Engineering, we will leverage our collective expertise to deliver facilities that will bring significant emissions reductions and environmental benefits. They will also lead to the development of new Canadian industries and thousands of Canadian jobs,” Huron Clean Energy CEO Michael Hutchison said in a statement.
In January 2021 the provincial government and BC Hydro announced a new, discounted clean-industry and innovation electricity rate for businesses involved in hydrogen production, synthetic fuels, carbon capture and storage, and large data centres. BC Hydro has also recently announced a five-year electrification plan includes more than $50 million to attract new industries to B.C., focusing on companies that want to use B.C.’s clean electricity to produce low-carbon products.