05 March 2019
The global response to climate change demands that the world makes profound changes to substantially reduce carbon emissions. This will require an arsenal of solutions, including dramatically increasing the share of renewable electricity, boosting energy efficiency, decarbonising industrial processes through innovative new processes, and changing the way we manage land and agriculture.
Great progress has been made on many of these fronts, but there is much more to do.
In fact, the recent 1.5C report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that the removal of emissions already in the atmosphere will be necessary to mitigate the worst effects of climate change.
That’s why today we announced our commitment to invest US$6 million in Carbon Engineering Ltd (CE) to progress the development of a ground-breaking technology to reduce carbon emissions. Along with other shareholders such as Bill Gates and Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, our investment will accelerate the development of Direct Air Capture (DAC), which removes CO2 from the atmosphere.
DAC is a technology that captures CO2 from atmospheric air, and provides it in purified form for use or storage.
DAC is a technology that captures CO2 from atmospheric air, and provides it in purified form for use or storage. This process takes place 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 can be stored in suitable underground environments, or used to create products, such as liquid fuels.
The story of CE’s development has been fascinating. Starting as an academic study, CE has grown into the impressive demonstration facility it now occupies in British Columbia, Canada today.
Now that CE demonstration facility has been built and tested, the technology is ready to be scaled up in selected commercial markets. And as the economics of DAC become more attractive, we expect to see more plants developed over the coming years.
And as the economics of DAC become more attractive, we expect to see more plants developed over the coming years.
In parallel efforts, BHP also supports the development of natural climate solutions that seek to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. This includes mechanisms to reduce emissions from deforestation through support for REDD+, the UN program for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. In this initiative, trees remove CO2 out of the air in a similar manner to CE’s DAC technology.
DAC technology has the potential to play a significant role in the world’s response to climate change. By progressing the technology from research through to demonstration and finally to commercial deployment, BHP and others can give this technology the best chance to make that contribution.